People across Greater Manchester are fed up with bad customer service being blamed on Covid, new research has suggested.
According to the UK Institute of Customer Service, the number of complaints about poor service in the last six months has reached the highest levels since 2009.
Companies are being accused of using the Covid pandemic as an excuse for shoddy customer service, long waits on the telephone and late deliveries, the study found.
The sectors with the biggest issues are transport, and local public services, such as GP surgeries, councils and police services and telecommunications.
The survey, which quizzed 10,000 participants, also detailed how at the start of the pandemic, consumers were tolerant of delays and other issues as businesses fought to cope with the effects of the crisis.
But now that several months have passed, the excuse is no longer deemed as sufficient.
Jo Causon, the CEO of the Institute of Customer Service, said: “Saying ‘because of Covid’ is not a good phrase. Organisations must not hide behind this blanket statement.”
As for a solution?
Well, Causon said that retailers simply need to be honest with their customers about any potential delays so they are aware of how long they might have to wait to inform their decision about what to buy.
She did admit, however, that many businesses had responded admirably to the difficulties created by the pandemic, and that managed queuing systems – such as inviting people to call at quieter times – was one major area of success.
Causon also pointed out that other companies had actually gone out of their way to assist people during the crisis, and that delays in deliveries can be blamed on the Suez Canal crisis in March, not bad customer service.
Greggs launches new school breakfast clubs where pupils can eat a nutritious meal for free
The bakery aims to serve 70,000 breakfasts each school day by 2025
Greggs has unveiled two new school breakfast clubs that allows pupils to enjoy a nutritious morning meal for free.
The bakery giant’s new clubs at East Ward Primary School in Bury and Castleton Primary School in Rochdale come as part of eighteen now running across the region.
They offer children a selection of breakfast options to enjoy before the school day, including toast, cereal, fruit, yoghurt, juice, and milk.
And as well as giving pupils a healthy start to the day, the clubs encourage the children to chat and engage with school staff before their classes begin.
The clubs were launched amid fears that children across the country are missing out on vital meals as families struggle to cope with the cost of living crisis.
Lynne Hindmarch, breakfast club manager for the Greggs Foundation, said: “No child should ever start their day without breakfast, which is why we’re delighted to be opening the new breakfast clubs at East Ward Primary School and Castleton Primary.
“Through breakfast clubs such as this, we’re able to support over 46,500 children each day nationally, and new openings like these are helping us to continue heading towards reaching our target of serving 70,000 breakfasts each school day by 2025.”
Greggs’ Breakfast Club programme was launched in 1999 after it was found that hungry children find it harder to concentrate and learn and, ultimately, suffer academically.
Today, there are over 680 Greggs Breakfast Clubs across the UK, all of which serve wholesome and free breakfasts to around 44,000 children every school day – that’s 8.5 million meals a year.
The programme has an ambition to support 1,000 breakfast clubs serving 70,000 free meals every school day by 2025.
Half of these clubs are directly funded through the Greggs Foundation, and have welcomed onboard more than 120 local and national partners who provide grants to cover the costs of the other clubs.
Schools can apply to become part of the scheme by submitting an application on the Greggs Foundation website here.
Shocking moment thieves steal nine computers from Manchester gaming bar
‘We’re devastated, financially and emotionally this has really hit us and I don’t know what to say’
CCTV footage has shown the moment thieves broke in and stole nine computers from a gaming cocktail bar in Manchester over the weekend.
Craig Ryan, the co-owner of Pixel Bar on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter, spoke of his devastation following the burglary, which he says has hit the business hard both ‘financially and emotionally’.
The CCTV footage shows what appears to be three men – all dressed in black and wearing face coverings – walking into the PC Gaming Arena in the bar and taking several computers from the desks.
One man was even seen looking directly at the camera as he unsuccessfully attempted to move it to block himself and his accomplices from view.
Sharing the incriminating footage, Ryan wrote on social media: “This weekend our Manchester bar was burgled. The thieves got away with 9 of our PCs from our PC Gaming Arena.
“We’re devastated, financially and emotionally this has really hit us and I don’t know what to say.
“Needless to say, until we find a way to replace the hardware there will be no PC gaming or tournaments happening at the bar. We’ve no idea how long this will take.
“Personally this hurts so much. We’d just hosted a great university esports event and had a lot of events lined up.”
Ryan went on to explain that, while the rest of the bar will be open as normal, there will be a dramatic increase in the level of security throughout the venue to prevent any future burglaries.
The police are now investigating the incident, and anyone with any information has been urged to get in contact, citing the crime number CRI/06A2/0013652/22.
Ryan has listed the stolen items for people to keep an eye out for on online marketplaces. They are as follows:
- Processor (CPU) AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Eight Core CPU
- Motherboard ASUS® TUF X570-PLUS GAMING WIFI (USB 3.2 Gen 2, PCIe 4.0, CrossFireX)
- Memory (RAM) 16GB Corsair VENGEANCE RGB PRO DDR4 3200MHz (2 x 8GB)
- Graphics Card 8GB ASUS ROG STRIX GEFORCE RTX 3070 – HDMI, DP, LHR
- 1st M.2 SSD Drive 2TB CORSAIR MP400 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD (up to 3480 MB/R, 3000 MB/W
Government minister says people should work more hours or ‘move to better job’ amid cost of living crisis
‘That’s why the job centres exist… to work with individuals on their own individual situation’
A government minister has suggested that people struggling with the cost of living crisis should increase their work hours or ‘move to a better paid job’.
Safeguarding Minister Rachel Maclean appeared on Sky News this morning, where she outlined some of the ways households could best protect themselves as prices across the board continue to soar.
The Redditch MP said that every minister was looking at the issue as consumers face ‘short term pressures’ such as high energy and food bills, before adding that there was ‘more help coming’.
Maclean said: “Over the long term we need to have a plan to grow the economy and make sure that people are able to protect themselves better – whether that is by taking on more hours or moving to a better paid job.
“These are long term actions but that’s what we’re focused on as a government.”
And when presenter Kay Burley pointed out that some people are currently working three jobs but still having to visit food banks, she added: “We have often heard in the past when people are facing problems with their budgets that one of the obstacles – and it may not be for everybody – is about being able to take on more hours or even move to a better-paid job.
“Of course, it’s an individual situation, depending on that particular family’s situation but that’s why the job centres exist, that’s why the work coaches exist, that’s why we’ve put the support into those job centres – to work with individuals on their own individual situation.
“So it may be right for some people – they may be able to access additional hours… but of course it’s not going to work for people who are already working in three jobs.”
She also said help being given to schools and through local authorities would target assistance ‘where it’s most needed’.
Maclean’s comments have been met with a wave of backlash this morning, with many slamming the Tory MP as ‘tone deaf’ and ‘out of touch’, with deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner commenting: “Could the Tories be any more out of touch if they tried?”
The government has faced intense scrutiny for its response to the cost of living crisis, which saw the energy cap recently increase by a record-breaking 54%, plunging millions of households into debt and poverty.
As part of its response to the crisis, the government offered a £150 council tax rebate and a £200 energy bill discount, which will eventually have to be paid back over five annual £40 payments.