I’d like to make a complaint … Why are you good at making a fuss | Life and Style

THis biscuits were barely covered. If I had to guess, I would have said that 30% of the surface was covered with chocolate, but that’s a charity. It’s certainly more charitable than the Jaffa Cake maker in question, which I portrayed as God’s perfect stingy. It looks like a scrooge struggling in a factory illuminated by candlelight. I look into my bifocals and smear homeopathic chocolate in one corner of my favorite tea treat. I was 10 years old and didn’t feel particularly strong about myself as a consumer champion, but this biscuit, this shame, caused something in me.

“Dear McVitie’s,” I wrote. “I was shocked and shocked to find this Jaffa Cake (enclosed) in this situation.” When I think about it later, I have enough knowledge to soften my speech so that it sounds like an adult. But it wouldn’t have been as mundane as considering wrapping the food itself in plastic before writing the letter. By the time I posted the next day, I remember noticing that soft, greasy things had soaked into the envelopes, but I wondered if this was the way it was. Apparently, two weeks later, I received a letter apologizing for my second best experience, an invitation to a factory tour, and two boxes of Jaffa cakes. These were completely chocolates, which I’m happy to report.

That victory won and I retired from professional dissatisfaction and kept my 100% record always amber. But others have kept their faith. Samuel Johnson, the greatest polymath of the 18th century, once said, “Only people are born crying, complaining, disappointed and dying.” The British people seem to see this as a recommendation rather than a rebuke. While visiting people for this article, I received over 150 replies in 24 hours and was surprised to read each tweet as a public article with gratitude for consumer activity.

2019, mirror Thirty-three percent of UK residents who polled reported that they left negative reviews online, and 70% of them left negative reviews within the past year. 2 weeks later, Daily mail Lamented the results of a completely different study claiming that the British complained 10,000 minutes of the year (the article containing a link to their own columnist complaining about the millennials they woke up to. Had it not been embedded, it would have been easy to maintain). Perhaps “mentor 7” best summarizes the mood of the room in the comments left below the article. There are a lot of moans every day, and it keeps increasing. I love moans. I am very happy. “

This outlook can now be a rule, not an exception. Ofcom’s recent report for fiscal year 2020-21 revealed that it received more than 145,000 complaints about broadcasting. This is a 400% increase from last year’s 34,545 figure. (In addition to these numbers, the BBC received 110,000 complaints about Prince Phillip’s death-only wall coverage.) So what caused this abdominal pain boom?

“Numbers can be explained by some expensive items,” says Adam Baxter, director of Ofcom’s broadcast standards. “In March of this year, just before the end of the reporting period, there was a problem around me. His comments on Piers Morgan and the Duchess of Sussex.. That alone received over 50,000 complaints. Last September, there was also a performance by a diversity dance group. Britain’s Got Talent [which included imagery and messaging in support of the Black Lives Matter movement] As a result, there were more than 24,000 complaints. These two cases alone accounted for more than half of the complaints. However, even with those discounts, there are more than 70,000 complaints. This is a significant increase in itself. “

Baxter has a friendly and expressive conversation and is very pleased to complain about the flaws in Jaffa Cakes. At some point during the video interview, the connection goes down. Cursed by a comedy genius, ask if you can complain about my broadband service through him. He politely told me that it would fall under unbroadcast telecommunications, but in a tone suggesting that he would probably give me to the right person if I wanted to. He certainly does not see the recent increase in complaints and complaints as a sign of a nationwide boring grudge trend, but rather as a natural expression of the public interest.

“I love my job,” he says. “When people find out that I work for Ofcom, they always have an opinion about what they see, watch, and listen to on the radio. Often, they are very strong. If they know that something has a lot of complaints, they always ask me what I think. Of course, without saying whether it’s right or wrong, be careful and very You have to politely say, “Oh, how funny.” “

The breadth of Ofcom’s mission is quite staggering. Baxter oversees a team of 40 people within Ofcom’s 1,000 strong staff and is responsible for the thankful task of assessing all complaints related to broadcast code violations. In reality, this is as big a job as you might think, and involves capturing and analyzing huge amounts of data.

“We have great software that grabs all the most prominent channels for complaints, so if you have a complaint you can go to that bit of software and pull the recording If you do not record the channel in-house, we will send you a letter to the broadcaster. The broadcaster will record and return within 5 business days. ”This is in English by a dedicated staff trained for this very purpose. It extends to the process of evaluating non-programming. “We have in-house translators in some languages ​​who have repeatedly complained about religious hatred and incitement to hate speech. I am fluent in Urdu, Punjab, Pashtu and Arabic. We have teams and they often do recordings. “

For a view from the ground floor, I spoke to former complaints desk operator “Paul,” who had worked on the phone for years, and answered questions from the general public throughout Ofcom’s mission.

“When I was there, the types of people who complained about broadband and telcos were ordinary people who had a bad experience, complaining because something was spending money on them or being a big inconvenience. But when I was receiving calls via the broadcast queue, he paused. I was already vigilant. “

He recalls an example more than a decade ago, like yesterday. “I remember talking to someone for 20 minutes because he got angry with the repetition. Trisha It had phone functionality. Because it was repetitive, the text on the screen displayed: “The line was closed. This is repeated.” The man was furious. I said: “Did you not call?” And he said, “No, but isn’t that so good?” I told him the only other option was to perform a repeat. I told you not to … “

Paul’s attempt to reconcile was deaf. He then realized that his caller wasn’t upset by the false ad, but it was inconsistent with his favorite TV host. “They’re trying to make Trisha the right mug. She says she’s calling. When she does, the screen says” Don’t worry. ” They make her look stupid. “

Paul previously worked for the Advertising Standards Authority, which gave him more insight into the Great British Complainer’s tactics. “When I was there, the most dissatisfied ads had nothing to do with racism, sexism, misleading or fraudulent content,” he recalls, but KFC’s. The ad infuriated viewers because it featured scammers singing in their mouths. Chicken salad. He pauses for emphasis. “Not only did he cross the line and broke the record, but he broke the record altogether. People got angry with the ad.”

To some extent, complaining about the need to get something out of the chest, or to fight back against corporate and media giants who appear to be inaccessible to the fewer mortals who use their services. It may be tied. Software designer Bernie Carroll intuitions a deeper, sociological reasoning about what we need to complain about. “A cheerful and resentful story about complaining about customer service until you get a lot of cool stuff,” he says. “It seemed like an essential element of my grandparents’ post-war social contract experience.”

It snowed … You will regret fouling the Great British masses. Illustration: Phil Hackett / Observer

Or maybe we’re all pretending to be adults and children to get free chocolate. Musician Emma Langford was one of the many people I talked to and assured me that my Jaffa Cakes activities were never unique.

“When I was a kid, I got a box of milk trays, and the Turkish pastry was solid chocolate,” she told me. “I wrote a distraught complaint letter, but posed as an adult, assuming I couldn’t take it seriously as a child. man Who bought them for him wife“. It was clear that her story was checked by providing me with a photo of a letter that had fallen apart from its position as a worn-out family heirloom.

“It may be involved” It begins in the old-fashioned way of all children who want to sound like adults. “I’m complaining about one of your chocolate boxes.” But the noisy tone of the letter peaks in the next paragraph. “On February 10, I bought your confectionery selection box, Cadbury’s Milk Tray, for Valentine’s Day as a romantic gesture to my wife.”

The mechanism is The central impulse may be the same as usual, as we have changed where we complain, but now about the immediate satisfaction of social media and the fear of broadcasting, flawed biscuits, and the people who sing with them. Their mouth is full, made possible by a dedicated team of people who are digging through our concerns. Also, spending a year indoors frees us from the distractions that hurt the careers of previous generation complainers, allowing us to sharpen our frustration while reducing our ability to complain freely as we do now. There is also sex. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Covid’s coverage itself was cited in 14,000 complaints against Ofcom over the past year.

“We haven’t elaborated on why people complain,” concludes Baxter, who is determined and thoughtful and sympathetic when discussing complainers. “Clearly,” he says. “It’s a lot. It captures the full range of human emotions. Some people are very excited and angry, especially for some problems, while others just want to vent rather than address the problem itself. There are also some case feedbacks of people who are unsupported, not many, but cruelly frankly, replying to us. “I disagree with your decision, but do it. Thanks to me for taking the time to explain. “Perhaps, after all, he’s not a very thankful job.

Follow Séamas on Twitter @shockproofbeats

I’d like to make a complaint … Why are you good at making a fuss | Life and Style

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