• Big and not so big cats …

    jessops75_logoI’ve talked about Jessops before here and the excellent customer service they provide and how helpful they are at the stores, I put them in the same league as John Lewis. They not only sell hardware but also photography courses and it is clear they are looking to expand this area. Earlier this year I was looking through them and thought long and hard and then took the plunge and booked on the Big Cats Experience. So last Sunday the time came around to head over to Hertfordshire for the day and I am glad, turned out to be a fantastic day, even with a short thunder storm. Now I am no photography expert and I was using the day to enhance my skills and take photos of something very different.

    CSTLogoHT_h80The day is hosted at The Cat Survival Trust over in Hertfordshire. It is not open to the public just members and specially arranged trips such as the Jessops experience day. When you look at the website before you go you do start to wonder what sort of setup it is. The trust is on a twelve acre site with a small farm shop at the front and is run by Dr Terry Moore. Setup in 1976 (although he was doing work before this date) it is a place which houses various wild car species for education and conservation, they house unwanted or surplus wild cats from zoos and collections. Last week they received three leopards on a temporary basis from a zoo in the north while their enclosure is being rebuilt. As art of the cost of the experience you get a years free members to the trust and can go back whenever you like and I certainly will be doing that.

    DSC_1884

    Snow Leopard

    The day consisted of about 15 of use, two people from Jessops (Phil Gould and Lizzie James) and Terry Moore and another college from the trust. A brief introduction is given of some of the key areas to focus on during the day and it became clear very early on that there is a very wide range of experience in the group. It is not a day to teach you photography, Jessops have other courses for that, it is about the experience and the team are there to help guide you and ensure you make the most of the day. There are two key areas of the site the small and big cats and we split into two groups to cover them. At first you may think that it is not very large but the time very quickly disappears. What makes this different from a zoo? Simple just how close you can get to the cats very very close and you certainly have to respect them, they may look cute but their teeth say something different.

    Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard

    Throughout the day I managed to take a massive amount of photos and after discarding the poor quality ones I was very pleased with a small group of them, just a few shown here and more on Facebook. There are many pictures which I like but probably my favourite on is this one, take just a couple of feet away from the lens.DSC_1392

    Overall the day was fantastic and 4.30pm came around far too quickly. The cat trust does a lot of great work with the cats and they are very dedicated to what they do and incredibly helpful when you are there. The same goes for both Phil and Lizzie who were both extremely knowledgeable, helpful and patient throughout the day. It is money well spent.

     

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  • Jessops and Customer Service

    jessops75_logoFor many years Jessops camera shop was on most of our high streets and I for one rarely entered them. Clearly most other people did the same and they eventually hit financial problems and in January 2013 all 187 stores had to close. In stepped Peter Jones, of Dragons Den fame, and he started on the transformation of the company first opening 6 of the stores and today there are 37 across the country.  The one in Bury St Edmunds is in a good location and is far more inviting to enter than many of the others in the past. At the time Peter took over you did have to wonder how he would ensure the success of the business in the future. Two key areas of success of any business are the people that work for you and the engagement with your customers and he has certainly cracked it.

    The store is Bury is always busy and the staff are very approachable and helpful. Recently I purchased a new camera from Jessops online. They price match so cost was not an issue, sure I could have got it cheaper abroad but I wanted somewhere nearby. I went into the store for some additional bits and pieces and the staff member was very helpful and in the end improved on the order I had placed online, why was that? Simple the staff member who was extremely helpful and trustworthy.

    Today I needed a couple of other bits so went online to jessops.com, found what I wanted and placed my order to collect from the local store. That was at 15:15 and the confirmation email said it would be ready to collect at 16:14. At 15:25 I received a phone call from the store to say it was ready for collection and soon after an email confirming the same. Headed of to the store, again staff helpful and had the order there ready and all sorted in less than half an hour.

    I will definitely go back to Jessops in future rather than ordering from somewhere else online even if I can get it cheaper all because they understand who the customer is and how to treat them. There are so many other businesses out there that could learn from Peter Jones and Jessops, if only they would. It is the same message Richard Branson often covers about looking after your staff who will in turn look after your customers.

    Now time to look at the purchases :)

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  • Thick or Thin

    Before the Internet became as popular as it is today create software for users who had PC’s was pretty straight forward, you created a thick (sometimes referred to as a fat) client. This meant the user had to install the software on their PC just like Word. Today however things are not so clear.

    The past few years has seen a wealth of technologies come along that have changed the scene and give the developer more choices as to how an application can be built. However whilst there are many choices around what type of application can be summarised into a couple of options;
    – Thick client

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