Meet our Ambassador, Keith!
Keith has been an ambassador for Respond for the past two years now, so we thought we’d sit down with him and ask him a few questions about why he joined our service, and how it feels like one big family.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Keith Thomas and I am a sixty-year-old Granddad. I have had an ileostomy for ten years now as I was diagnosed in 2008 with Ulcerative Colitis. After four years on medication, my bowel failed, and I had to have an ileostomy for life. I’m from Swansea, but I live in Llanelli and I’m a Swansea bus driver!
What do you think makes a great service?
I would say a great service means that the products you order are delivered on time and in good condition. Customer service is also very important.
Respond call me every month. Now, I’m a busy bus driver, and I find sometimes that my phone will ring and I’m unable to answer. It’s only when I stop I can call them back, but it doesn’t matter who answers the phone – they are so polite, so helpful. And they don’t just ask “What do you need?”, they ask me “How are you doing?” and that is what’s important – customer service is everything.
How long have you been using the Respond service?
I’ve been using Respond service for about two or three years now. Before that, for me, it was just going back and forth to the chemist. What I found after a long time of using different chemists was that I was turning up to collect my order and they were saying “This is missing” or “That’s missing”. So I thought to myself, you’ve heard about Respond for such a long time, why not just give it a go? And I am so glad that I did it because it has made such a difference. I never run out of anything. Everything’s on time. Everything’s in perfect condition. I’m one happy ostomate!
What is it about the Respond service you like?
I think it’s Respond’s customer service more than anything. As a bus driver, I’m one of those people who like to give excellent customer service, but then I think I deserve good customer service as well. If I don’t receive good customer service, I’m unlikely to go back. So, for me, customer service is what makes Respond stand out. And again, it’s how everyone at Respond is so friendly.
What three words would you use to describe Respond?
So, the three words I’d use for Respond would be happy because they make me happy, reliable, and customer-friendly. Very customer friendly.
What does it mean to you to be a part of the Respond ambassador programme and family?
It is absolutely fantastic to be part of the Respond family. It’s…how can I say…ten years ago before I had an ostomy I was very very ill. And then I had an ostomy ten years ago and it gave me my life back. And now I get to sit in front of a camera, talk to people, have my photo taken, meet incredible people, and here I am having a couple of days away, enjoying my life.
What would you say to someone who was looking to change their service?
If somebody was looking to change their service, I’d say go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose. You just have to make that call or send that message and somebody will get back to you. They guide you through the easy process of getting new ostomy products or urostomy, anything, delivered. They talk you through it. They give you a quick phone call every month just to check if you need anything. It’s a no brainer, it really is.
Tell us three things we don’t know about you?
First of all, I am an identical twin. When I was born, they told my mother I was dead. They took me to another room and ten minutes later my twin brother was born. They slapped him (not hard enough in my opinion) and I woke up in the other room and started crying!
Secondly, when I was sixteen I was a Baker Confectioner. Not a qualified Baker Confectioner, but I worked in a lot of bakeries, and it’s something that you never lose, that skill. Quite often I still bake cakes at home and post them on social media and the first thing people say is, “Where’s mine?”…Oh, yeah, right!
Thirdly, some of my recipes have made it into the Connect magazine, which is another bonus. My wife would probably take credit for it…but it was all me!