the Blue AegeanSo the holiday in Greece is but a warm memory. My tan isn’t yet fading as the beach here in Swanage is in perfect working order but I have had to come down to earth with a huge bump, yes I’m back at work.

The bathroom renovation is coming along nicely, thanks for asking, but having to stay awake and alert all day long, with no siestas, no floating lazily in an emerald blue sea, no local red wine with luncheon and no waiter service, life is just a bit demanding for me at the moment.

I was so impressed with Greece that I booked next year’s holiday almost as soon as I got home and found out how e-commerce should really work. When all is said and done, at the end of any system, whether it be IT based or simply counting beads on a wire, there are people. No matter how good your software, site design or knowledge base, it is people who make things work.

Let me explain.

We found a villa in Crete for next year’s holiday, the brochure was produced to a superb standard, the deal was great, it included flights and a hire car, the villa looks amazing and I have always wanted to go to the home of King Minos, to visit the scene of the ancient myths that I read as a schoolboy.

The brochure was the 2007 version and we wanted to book for 2008. We emailed their customer service centre to advise what we wanted to do at about 10pm. The next morning, before leaving for work, we checked our mail and we had all the information we had asked for.

How many times have you emailed a company and received a reply that was picked from a list of standard responses, or where it was obvious that the person replying had not read and understood the whole message?

We got the name of the person who responded, she answered each question in the order in which it was asked, gave her contact information and finished by supplying all her contact information, in case we needed to ask anything else. When we checked the website, we saw that the weeks in September 2008 had been reserved, in a day we had a booking conformation and all the flight information for the trip.

Their systems are good and very easy to use but what made the difference was dealing with good people.

So, when your bosses start to look for improvements and walk past the people who run your operation, stop them, turn them round and introduce them to their most precious asset.