IN A recent column for this website I suggested GRV should surely have access to the literally hundreds of hours of undercover footage of the Tooradin trial track.
I suggested stewards and other officials should be able to trawl through this footage to not only find offenders, but equally, find those who were innocent of any wrongdoing. I would have thought the evidence obtained would provide a useful snapshot for just how endemic, or otherwise, the live baiting scene really was.
For example, let’s just say the footage showed 100 individuals trialling or using Tooradin during the period in question. Of these, 85-90 (fingers crossed) are shown to be operating within industry guidelines. To me this would bolster the argument that the live baiters among the industry, at least in Victoria, number no more than 10 percent.
I sent an email via the GRV website asking whether or not any action was being taken regarding this footage and the answer I received was…deathly silence. No reply. No acknowledgement of the receipt of my email, other than a ‘your message has been sent’ on the website.
A couple of days ago I had an issue regarding trying to place a bet on the Sportsbet website. I contacted their live chat division and all was resolved. Within minutes of the live chat being completed I had a copy of the text of that conversation in my email inbox. That’s how easy it is in this modern technological age to maintain an efficient dialogue with your customer.
When somebody puts money in my bank account in Thailand (yes, Thailand…a place many think of as being Third World, or at best Third World Developing) I receive an SMS to my phone.
Yet GRV do not have any kind of system in place to acknowledge receipt of an email message. A few bits of code and they could have a standard form email sent to an inquirer’s email address saying something along the lines of, ‘We value your feedback (bullshit, but it sounds sufficiently smarmy), your email is important to us (ditto previous comment) and we will endeavour to reply to you within xyz business days (but really, we hope you’ll just forget all about us and go and bother someone else who has more time on their hands).’
By not having this email/reply system in place GRV, and others, are basically saying to their customer base, and those who may not be direct customers but have taken the time and effort to make contact, that they really couldn’t give a rats backside about customer service.
I recently mentioned how the Racing Queensland website had not updated any of its ‘Latest News’ stories for greyhound racing for 30 days. That’s not only inefficient and unacceptable, it’s a situation arguably worse now than 25 years ago when people relied on things like weekly or monthly magazines.
I have also previously written about the failure of The Dogs website in NSW to correct glaring errors within its Tracks Statistics data, which showed record times at some distances that would have meant the greyhounds in question had run while attached to a jet. Those errors, I am happy to say, have been fixed, but only after an extremely long period of time.
While some of my complaints could arguably be called fairly trivial in the overall context of the racing behemoth, what it all suggested to my mind was a serious lack of concern about getting the finer details right. When organisations start letting the little things go wrong, then very often the ‘cancer’ spreads further up the chain and the bigger and more important aspects start to suffer as well.
Sadly, we’ve borne witness to what happens when those at the top of the tree fail to keep a close watch on what’s happening underneath them. Important emails go missing (as in the one from Hayley Cotton to Darren Condon, the CEO of Racing Queensland), latest news stories just don’t appear (Racing Queensland, again; and, as I write this on April 9, the most recent of the latest news stories is dated March 31. Pathetic in the extreme), messages and inquiries to the major operators are ignored, stewards don’t bother travelling too far to conduct random and unannounced checks on licensed premises, and on it goes.
If you need extra money to fund these operations there’s a really easy pool of cash available right now in the almost ridiculous levels of money paid out in a few Group 1 races. I’ve argued previously there should be a cap placed on the prize money paid in respect of races like the Melbourne Cup and Golden Easter Egg. I couldn’t care less which State happens to host the richest race in Australia, and I’m pretty sure most others don’t either. It’s a pissing contest which I doubt lures a single extra person to the track.
Carve off $150,000-200,000 or more from some of these races and use it to set up a 21st century business model. Go and ask people not involved in racing what needs to be done to bring the industry out of the dark ages. No more committees, sub-committees, working groups and all the usual navel gazing and talkfest blather usually associated with these things. Start with the basics and work your way up from there. The long-term future of greyhound racing depends on the actions that are taken now and over the next couple of years.