Bad australian customer service - some examples

23. Januar 2010 von Markus Giesen

Customer Service in australia? - Ha! I thought during the last 12 months that the Germans are super special über-spoiled when it comes to customer service. Australia is a customer service desert - I had to learn it the hard way.

On the list of uncool, mean, evil and bad to worst customer service ever:

Silver Top Taxis in Melbourne

Basically every second cab driver tries to screw you over. When you jump on the cab which you just hailed they push the button to quickly add the $2.00 which you have to pay when you would have called a cab via phone. I tried to lodge a official complaint but none of their email addresses on their website is working. The cab number was 0076 with the drivers license number 542647, expiry date 09/04/2012. Karma will get you my friend… :)

“Let’s Cook” kitchenware store, Little Bourke St Melbourne

They have the most unfriendly staff you can imagine. Solving customer service inquiries by telling you that basically everything is your fault and there is no return policy on their goods. Don’t buy anything there.

OzSail - Whitsunday Islands

They sent you on a dive trip with the worst gear ever, bad regulators and stinger suits (1mm thick) instead of proper dive suits (3-7mm) to protect you from hypothermia. And if you let them know that the regulator doesn’t seem to work properly they pat your back with a nice “Don’t worry mate”. I had to worry at 12meter depth because the gear failed and I was freezing so bad that I almost fainted - emergency ascend included. Back on the boat there wasn’t even an apology. Please don’t ever even consider planning a trip with those guys, it might be your last.

Three Mobile stores

You ask the staff for a wireless 3G device top up and they sell you a whole package including a new device convincing you that the device is bound to the top up. This happened to a friend of mine and she paid $100.00 more. When trying to return the device she was told that it was her fault for not reading the contract details. Dear Three, if every customer would spend the 2 hours in your store for reading your contracts every time they sign one you wouldn’t make any money.

Threadless T-Shirts

Ok, they are not australian but I assume they got the attitude from australia.. They sent me a damaged T-Shirt, I wrote them what happened and even send images, what a hassle.. They promised to send me a new T-Shirt - Which never ever arrived. That is worse than bad customer service. This is making sure I will never ever again order anything from your shop. You are banned. Apparently the first delivery came after one week and the second was stuck for about 2 months with customs. Bad customs, bad!

Genesis Fitness, Melbourne

I signed up for a membership with this gym. I ticked the box to not receive any offers for goods or services. Still, they kept sending me ‘invites’ to come over and bring some new members… I just had a chat with the nice lady from Genesis Camberwell and she told me, that this is not advertisement this is just to keep in touch. I don’t want to be in touch when I constantly get asked to bring new members. She said they need the number for emergencies. Well then use it for emergencies, don’t use it to keep me updated about ‘what happens at the Genesis Club’ and don’t tell me to ‘bring in new members’ that is NOT an emergency THIS is advertisement. Next complaint here: I signed up for a club with working machines and enough space to not suffer claustrophobia, the gym on Londsdale Street has been renovated, they have closed a whole room and now people are crammed into a tiny little room where you can’t even walk properly between the treadmills or bikes. I said that this is not what I signed up for and that I want to cancel my membership immediately. Unfortunately I can not leave because it would be ‘unfair’ to treat me any different than any other client. Good to know that we are all stuck in this fair system of yours Genesis. And thanks for disregarding my privacy and for charging me another 30 days for something that I didn’t sign up for until I can leave your fine club. So you can decrease your gym space and basically and change your part of the contract but I have to live with it? And then you tell me that there is nothing YOU can do? Right. Do not join this gym!

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The most social agency I’ve worked for in Germany

22. Januar 2010 von Markus Giesen

Social media - it’s the hype, new market, unknown grey field and hottest hottie since slicedBread0.9 or Web 2.0. This new bullshit bingo buzzword just outgrew all the newest shiny marketing fuzz during the last years just when the marketing people began to realize that Web2.0 is a vague and gormless attempt to sell you another useful asset for to complete your pretentious “interwebs” shopping basket.

Banner Kingdom of Württemberg: Furchtlos und Treu
An old German banner I got for Christmas with some of my personal social media buzzwords for this year: “Fearless and Loyal” :)

What is social media? It is collaboration. Working, communicating, interacting and handling the requirement to bring people closer together and give them shortcuts. Every serious social media guru was probably a collaboration manager in the past. And no, hence social media is not new, it’s Collaboration2.0 with a new name and some better coded website applications around it.

Where does social media start? It starts with you. You have to find a way to get people to take the shortcuts you want them wanting to take (and they need to want to take them). You have to lead and create a intriguing new social media autobahn to ensure they can speed with 4000miles/hr 200tetabits/sec to reach their goal. OR at least you have to find the right agency which knows what social means.

How do you find a social media agency?

  • You have to monitor your targeted agencies behaviour.
  • Do they have a blog?
  • Do they have a twitter account?
  • Do their employees have twitter accounts and how do they use it?
  • Is there a facebook fanpage?
  • How do they integrate all this into their own social strategy e.g. website?

I just received a box around Christmas from one of the first agencies I was entitled to work for a couple of years ago. Stoll & Fischbach started with Heinz Stoll and Gerhard Fischbach (and I believe Roman Pohl) years ago in a Garage (this proves, that this is not always a bad sign..). First they were a communication & design agency, later Heinz Stoll decided to challenge himself (and his awesome team) by producing web based solutions such as RedDot CMS sites.

Why are these guys the best social agency that I’ve worked with so far?
Beside making amazing projects and craving technical know how to probably be able to build a Space Shuttle (I picture Commander Ralf, General Bertram and Navigator Martin in the cockpit and Simon hitting the big bulky launch RedDot.. ) they are just a bunch of good guys who know to communicate with each other and with their clients.

They understood at early stages how important it is to build a knowledge base based on modern collaboration technology like a wiki. They got the idea of Twitter and Facebook integration and were quite fast able to realize client projects with ‘maximum German efficiency’ (I totally stole that sentence from The Simpsons).
But most of all, they just ARE social and fun to work with and that is what social media should be - easy to work with and making things better :)

What was in the Christmas box? The StoFi-Team sent me this:

Furchtlos und Treu Flagge - Small
“Furchtlos und Treu”
EN: “Fearless and Loyal”
Furchtlos und Treu Flagge Wand - Small
“Furchtlos und Treu”
Goes well with the guitar!
A banner of the old German kingdom “Württemberg“. Thanks a lot guys, you are the most amazing crazy Germans I’ve ever worked with and I totally would enjoy working with you again!

Social means thinking beyond KPIs like Return On Invest and more about relations to flatten out daily workflow dents. Some things even a guru can’t teach you, things some people just have and others don’t.

Thanks to all you guys at SFeBusiness, keep up the great work and thanks for reminding me why working with you was so much fun!

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“Social Medialise” & Commercialize - Twitter, Facebook & The Melbourne Marathon

27. November 2009 von Markus Giesen

I don’t know how I made it or why I even decided to get up at 7am this morning but I did and went to the @socialmelb breakfast at Mr. Tulk in the State Library, Melbourne, Victoria, Austalia, Planet Earth.
I ordered a coffee from the also half asleep staff and went to the big table to meet & greet nice people and get my day started. One of these guys was Angie Hanke who asked me (before I had my first coffee) how I would use twitter for an event like a marathon. I probably seemed to be quite German unfriendly (sorry, I was just not on my awake coffeine level) and needed 5 minutes to wake up, think, waking up again and then I and came up with the idea which I quickly had to write down below:

Ingredients to “Social Medialise” a Marathon

Melbourne Marathon, running crazyness
Picture of this years Melbourne Marathon

To “socialize” a marathon / sports event (not that these have ever been social before..) with public social media participation we need:

  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. RFID chips
  4. Digital cameras
  5. RFID checkpoints
  6. (bonus) GoogleMaps
  7. People.(!sic)

Assuming we are creating this for the Melbourne Marathon and we have the above ingredients we would do this with each item:

  1. Twitter
    When registering for the event you can either enter your twittername or you will get automatically one.
    Features of Twitter we will use

    • Update the current status of a user
    • ReTweet (like forwarding a text message) the status to friends
    • Status update connector to Facebook
  2. Facebook
    The event needs to have a Fanpage and people can become fan of it and participate in the announced event. We assume here that the runner or at least people who are related to them already are using Facebook.
    Features of Facebook we will use

    • Invitation to participate in the event (online or offline)
    • An image gallery
    • The tagging functionality to tag people on images in the gallery
  3. RFID chips
    Those chips are already in use at current marathons and send back the race number and time of participants at each checkpoint.
    Features of RFID chips we will use

    • Retrieving the race number
    • Retrieving the time
  4. Digital cameras
    They take pictures of the participants. (surprising, I know!)
    Features of Digital cameras we will use

    • Taking pictures of the runners in high resolution
  5. RFID checkpoints
    They save the current time at each checkpoint for a runner based on the RFID chip who sends back the runners race numer and stores it in the server.
    Features of RFID checkpointswe will use

    • Saving the data as time & runner ID to a server
    • Sending back status (location, time) for further usage
  6. Google Maps
    Google Maps will be used to show the current Marathon race track.
    Features of Google Maps we will use

    • Showing the race track
    • Showing the current position of a runner
    • Using the image feature to assign images to this place
  7. People - And what do they do & get out of it?
    Of course we will have
    • runners AND
    • friends & family of runners AND
    • people interested in doing the same marathon next time OR
    • people interested in following the event allover the world

How do we bring this together?

First of all every participant will have a twittername and have it connected to their race number or they get an automatically assigned twittername which could be @MelbMa_12345. This stands for “Melbourne Marathon” and the runners number so they can still sign in later and connect with their friends using twitter after signing up or doing the race. (Plus they always can change their twittername in their options to get a personal name so this is a re-usable account).
Every runner will have a RFID chip to submit time & ID when they pass a checkpoint. The checkpoints are where the magic happens. They are connected to the cameras. By the time a runner passes an checkpoint the following actions will take place:

  • The camera takes a picture and the picture gets a watermark (event logo and event website URL)
  • The picture get send to Facebook
  • The twitter account will automatically update it’s status, this contains
    • Time
    • Name
    • A link to the Facebook fanpage gallery of the current image
    • A link to the current location on Google Maps
    • Call to action - “Tag me on Facebook!”
  • Friends, family and people allover the world can now either
    • click the link in the tweet OR
    • look at the pictures on Facebook OR
    • see the current location on Google Maps with integrated live images

On Facebook by “tagging” people on the pictures these will show up on their profiles and drive attention & traffic to the event by connecting people on an individually and hence social level. Maybe Of course they need some motivation and so everybody who tags a friend (or later on tags themselves after completing the race) will enter a draw and can win a trip for two to beautiful Greece (the original birthplace of Marathon and such crazy stuff).
Dan The Man on Facebook
Example of Dan The Man on Facebook

On Twitter people can actually send images around and ReTweet (forward) those messages of their friends as in “Look what our crazy friend is doing RIGHT NOW!”)

On Google Maps people can send this link around and have the current position and the integrated image on the map.

Let’s talk shop!

Awesome! We bring a lot of people together and allow them to collaborate almost in real time. We make a lot of people happy. What is in for the event organizer?

What’s the outcome - short term?

  • The whole event becomes more personal and hence more concious and people actually connect and talk about your event and connect to your advertised brands / sponsors
  • Live tracking for runner data will cause more attention off track at time
  • A massive wave of data which will be send out and create “crowd sourced publicity”(wow!) not only nationwide but worldwide (double wow!)

What’s the outcome - long term?

  • The photos will remain on facebook and people will always be able to re-connect with the event - they don’t get outdated!
  • Data can be used and compared in next years marathon to have a pace for the own race (and to see if you were huffing and puffing at kilometer 26 or fine at kilometer 39).

Gadgets - A dashboard created to play some number games & more

  • Average runner speed
  • Time until finish line will be reached with the current average pace
  • Next 5 people before and after this person
  • Compare pictures of people at kilometer 5,10,15,20,25,..
  • Number of people supporting/following a specific runner

And of course you can use this for a triathlon too…
And of course you can use this for a triathlon too…

Using existing functionalities and combining them with real live data a local Marathon event can become a worldwide event with incredibly close public interest and big buzz around each individual. People will forward your event pictures for you and make your brand more public by personally giving a recommendation.

What would you use twitter for in real life? And what do you think about the above?

About me today

Most of the time I develop websites and consult our clients ar Areeba and I run a CMS developer and ECM customer CommunityBlog with others. This makes me use and think about social media. I like reading, snowboarding, talking and especially thinking with others. Thanks to @Angie_hanke who made me think about the above this morning. A great start for a Friday or any day :)

Image Credits:
- Thanks to @alborns and @dcsign for the triathlon images (which I used for a marathon example…)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
“Social Medialise” & Commercialize - Twitter, Facebook & The Melbourne Marathon by Markus Giesen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at

In short: You are not allowed to use my ideas here commercially, unless you have my permission.

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When should you delete a tweet? #career #reputation

1. Oktober 2009 von Markus Giesen

I just found this flowchart today on some German websites and I thought it might be nice to translate it into English for you.*
When should I delete my tweet?
A tweet is sent in seconds but seems to
be a quite long process where you
have to reconsider a lot of questions.

The questions shown in this flowchart are:

Did you tweet about private stuff?
Did you tweet about job related stuff?

What the heck are you twittering about?
Did you tweet abour an ex-partner? A friend? A colleague?
Was the content about your boss, a client or a current project?

Where you drunk at this time?
Of course you were! Again…

Did you tweet in a negative, criticising way?
Did you praise your boss or advertise your company?
Ask for a pay raise!

Did you upload a twitpic?
Does it show someone whos drunk and/or naked?

Are there confidential company information to see on this?
Are you using an anonymous account?

And there are always two options, once a tweet is sent:
Well done, let the tweet stand!

*So I did this only to find out later that this was inspired by wired

Did you ever delete a tweet?

I’m sure everyone did delete a tweet every now and then.
Why did you do it?
And do you dare to say it here?

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Clear the bloody cache in Open Text WSMS

3. August 2009 von Markus Giesen


Wie lösche ich den verdammten Cache im Web Solutions Management Server (Open Text) nicht mehr RedDot CMS..

Dear english friends - please go this way to get this article in English.

Werter Web Solutions Management Server from Open Text! Erneut (ich habe dies bereits früher getan) wurdest du und deine Bande passiv-aggressiver und manchmal nicht geradeaus laufender Freunde (Nennen wir sie: PageGUID, Pagebuilder, RedDotTemp, PreExecute, ...) geschlagen!

Ich habe einen Weg gefunden den Seitencache für einzelne Seiten zu löschen. Und ich teile dieses Wissen. Oh ja! Vor allem, weil Fred, RedDot-Jedi-Kollege und Mitleider der ersten Stunde danach gefragt hat neulich.

Die Lösung, die oben verlinkt ist schien zu funktionieren, aber irgendwo dann doch nicht mehr. Lag es an Updates, mir oder der Version 10 des Open Text Content Managemens Server? Wer weiss das schon? In jedem Fall, wertes CMS - NIMM DAS:

  1. string strXmlData =  "<IODATA loginguid=\"" + strLoginGuid + "\" sessionkey=\"" + strSessionKey + "\">";
  2. strXmlData +=   "<PAGEBUILDER languagevariantid=\"" + strLanguageVar + "\">";
  3. strXmlData +=     "<PAGES action=\"pagevaluesetdirty\">";
  4. strXmlData +=       "<PAGE guid=\"" + strPageGuid + "\"/>";
  5. strXmlData +=     "</PAGES>";
  6. strXmlData +=   "</PAGEBUILDER>";
  7. strXmlData += "</IODATA>";

RQL (RedDot Query Language) Code um den Seitencache einzelner Seiten zu löschen.

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Should I blog English or not?

21. Juli 2009 von Markus Giesen

When starting this blog, the idea was to just keep some notes and if possible share useful information about the Open Text Web Solutions Management Server (which I perhaps never will stop calling "RedDot CMS").
Since I have decided to live in Melbourne and most of the day I think, speak, write English.
I sometimes miss writing in my own language. Mostly because we have some nicer words which "zee Germans" just create by combining two shorter ones to a long new one.
English is a short word language.
An interesting article on how to improve your English writing and language skills can be found here. I used and still use some of the described techniques here, and for everyone who wants to write not only in his native tongue (unless it is English) I recommend this article.

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RedDot CMS Plugin: Copy/Paste multiple template elements

6. Juli 2009 von Markus Giesen

Kim Dezen hat ein neues Plugin geschrieben. In den RedDot Version 7.5 bis 9 kann man leider Elemente von einem Template einer Content-Class in eine andere nur einzeln kopieren. Das macht einen erfahrungsgemäß (so nach dem 324ten Element) wahnsinnig!

Die Lösung von Kim kann nahtlos in bestehende Open Text Web Content Management Server eingebunden und genutzt werden.

Es erscheint die zusaetzliche Funktion "Connect multiple elements in clipboard" oder "Mehre Elemente aus Zwischenablage einfügen" im Action Menu der jeweiligen Content Klasse.


Zum Open Text Management Server Plugin.

Und jetzt ihr! Welche Funktion fehlt euch beim CMS? Was würdet ihr gerne zusätzlich zu den vorhandenen RedDot CMS Funktionen haben? Oder was hat euch schon immer genervt?

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New job board for RedDot CMS developers / Open Text specialists

9. Juni 2009 von Markus Giesen - new jobboardjump to german translation /
zur deutschen version

Finally I found some spare time to stuff it with even more RedDot CMS related work. This time I set up a new job board for the
Please feel free to enter your search request for a freelancer, new Open Text certified employee or your Management Server project which you want to have done by someone and you need more than one quote because you are smart and you like to compare. ;)
And even if you are a freelancer, this is your stage! Go and advertise yourself, this is the right place to do it. (And - yes - it is free)

Enter your project description, enquiry, search request, whatever...

Look up latest job postings:

And for the Germans:

Neue Jobbörse für RedDot Entwickler und Projekte RedDot CMS bzw Open Text Management Server Projekte

Ich hatte heute abend ein wenig Freizeit und die beste Art Freizeit zu verbringen ist natürlich etwas für RedDot respesktive die RedDot Community zu tun (ehrlich gesagt regnet es einfach draussen wie bescheuert).
Also gibt es ab heute eine Jobbörse unter folgender Adresse:

Freelancer können sich hier gerne selbst bewerben, Agenturen, Recruiter und Projektleiter sind herzlich eingeladen entweder ihr Projekt zur Umsetzung zu posten, Verstärkung zu suchen oder aber Vergleiche einzuholen wenn es um die Umsetzung eines neuen Projektes geht.

Verbesserungsvorschläge werden gerne angenommen und je nach Wetterlage hier unten in Melbourne (bei schlechtem Wetter etwas schneller) auch umgesetzt.

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Melbourne - Open Text Web Solutions User Group Meeting June 2009

19. Mai 2009 von Markus Giesen

When & Where

Tuesday, 2nd June 2009 - 8:30am
Park Hyatt Hotel Melbourne
1 Parliament Place, East Melbourne, VIC 3002

View Larger Map


  • Preview of the new Web Solutions Version 10
    (I will stop calling it RedDot CMS or RedDot LiveServer if you stop searching for these keywords)
  • Plans about the Web Solutions product roadmap and release plans
    (They seem to be a bit shifted as far as I can tell)
  • A preview of a new digital asset management solution
    (Sounds like the former company called Artesia now "Open Text Digital Solutions")
  • Collaboration and Web 2.0 stuff Open Text has to offer
    (I am intrigued)

Furthermore the event description talks about "peer to peer knowledge sharing, networking and fun", really! Sounds interesting, so I will have a look at Version 10, hopefully some nice features for RedDot CMS developers / Web Solutions Management Server developers are available.


I would expect from Open Text, that they finally start publishing knowledge and better support for their developers. There are rumors about an internal knowledge base which is reviewed for release at the moment and I heard rumors, that this perhaps will be published as a base for us RedDot CMS developers. And please not another try of a RedDot wiki. There at least are 4 wikis out there. The purpose seems to be fetching other peoples knowledge and tipps out of the Google Groups, my blog, the Unofficial RedDot CMS blog and some other sources and then make some money out if google ads of what ever. No own content is provided in these places as far as I can tell. Stop duplicating content* and publish your own stuff. Or contribute in any other way. Microsoft is a good example, their MSDN works and some of the MS developers even share..

I had a chat with Fred and we agreed that the german developer community working with Open Text solutions seems to be a bunch of "just taking - no giving" minded people (not all of you guys). He didn't say that. Your opportunity to shine australia.

* This post will also be published on the Unofficial RedDot CMS blog.

Catch up?

The Areeba gang of RedDot CMS developers (Markus Giesen and his fellow nerd Kim Dezen) will be there. Are you a australian based RedDot Partner / developer / freelancer (Hey Gavin, your chance!)? Or an australian based Open Text partner? Will you be there? I am looking forward to catch up with you!

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Swine Flu - Unstoppable

1. Mai 2009 von Markus Giesen

Swine Flu - It doesn’t even stop for fairy tales..
Is that also such a big topic over there at home?

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