BBC isn't just for London

New BBC production studios and offices in Manchester will remind the broadcaster that there's more to the UK than just the south-east. Other letters topics: customer service, gold's price, Netanyahu's arrogance, and writers named Trollope.

This new BBC building in Manchester symbolises the broadcaster's decentralisation of production. A reader objects to a column criticising this, saying there's more to the UK than London. Eamonn and James Clarke / Press Association
Powered by automated translation

The idea of putting a lot more emphasis on customer service is a very sound one (Hands-on response to bad service, October 3).

In my experience customer service in the UAE is often quite a lot better than in western countries where I have lived. Where I have the biggest problem is not with waiters or sales clerks, but with bureaucrats in big institutions such as banks and utility companies, where personal responsibility is diluted.

For smaller companies the solution, I think, lies with managers, who must provide good training, set out clear expectations and follow-up to show employees that they mean it when they say "the customer comes first."

For big outfits the decisions about customer service are made at a very high level and that sets the corporate culture, and there's not much consumers can do about it.

Mike Rourke, Abu Dhabi

Thank you for that article. What my wife and I have found is that after just a few visits, store clerks and restaurant staff become quite welcoming in this country, sometimes too much so.

I found it odd when a good and friendly waiter in one well-known restaurant asked to exchange cellphone numbers with me.

I thought it a little odd but, not wanting to give offence, did give him my number. He hasn't used it yet so I now think this was just a gesture of courtesy. Nothing like that would happen in the West.

David Nelson, Dubai

Article, like BBC, London-centric

Your opinion article The BBC jumps on the bandwagon headed out of London (October 2) was too London-centric, and shows why the Beeb is moving to other locations around Britain.

For too long the rest of Britain has had to suffer with a news service that doesn't reflect what's going on in their communities. Your south-east born and bred writer may get nostalgic about the deterioration of buildings in London but he should try visiting other areas of Britain that have suffered far more over the years and particularly now during the global downturn.

The decentralisation of the Beeb to make it truly British is the correct thing to do and that column shows why it must happen. Londoners may not understand but the rest of Britain does.

Stephen MacComber, Dubai

Israel's Netanyahu takes us for fools

I am in absolute agreement with James Zogby's comments (Netanyahu barely bothers to pretend to care about peace, October 2).

Just by saying he has dealt with the peace process doesn't make it happen, unless action speaks louder than words and not the other way around.

It is high time that Mr Netanyahu understands that the world out there is not full of fools.

Name withheld by request.

Glad to learn DSG will continue

It was very good to read that the Dubai School of Government will continue to operate (School of government relicensed, October 3).

The DSG has had its problems lately but is an invaluable resource. Every society needs clear-eyed analysis of itself and its system, and the DSG is fully capable of providing that.

I hope the institution can function with as much vigour as previously, and go on to even greater things in the future.

Lawrence Parrish, Dubai

Trollope should focus on Trollope

Your writer was correct that there has been a lot written over the years about the work of Jane Austen (Jane Austen the ultimate undead writer?, October 2).

Even Rudyard Kipling wrote a story, The Janeites, about how what we would now call Austen "fandom" unites people of all classes.

But it's strange that Joanna Trollope, a fine writer, is on this bandwagon. Shouldn't she be obsessed with Anthony Trollope instead?

Caroline MacCurdy, UK

Strange to see gold price falling

I find it confusing that at a time of great financial-market turmoil, the price of gold has been falling sharply (Gold tumble leaves analysts unruffled, October 3).

I have always understood that when every other kind of investment was shaky and the world was full of turmoil, that gold could be counted on to gain value.

The explanation in your article was unconvincing. The risk of inflation is as great as ever, not immediately but over the next few years governments will be temped to inflate their way out of debt. And anyone who thinks the US dollar is really "strong" just hasn't been paying attention.

If we can't rely on gold as a store of value, what else is there?

Adam Aloisio, Dubai