The year has got off to a good start in more ways than one, not least in terms of fantastic customer service that I’ve experienced. Here’s a delightful trio of examples for your delectation:
I tried something new a couple of weeks ago. Along with my neighbour, Sylvia, I drove over to Maidstone, about 40 minutes from my house, and we went to the Bingo! Now it wasn’t my thing but I did marvel at how brilliantly we, two amateurs totally out of our depth, were looked after, and how memorable it was because of that.
Arriving late, looking for all the world like Eddie and Patsy from Ab Fab, we were welcomed warmly by the lady at the door, who took us through the registration process. From there we were actually escorted into the hall where another warm welcome awaited us. This lady got us set up with books and then we started the games. The caller and other players were very patient (at least outwardly) with Sylvia’s frequent attempts to claim a win (there were none) during the first half of the evening, and during the interval the caller came over to see us. His opening words, delivered gently, “You two haven’t played this before, have you?” were pretty much on the mark. Apart from a couple of forays into “Bird Bingo” (all above board and educational, obsessed as I am with our feathered friends) I couldn’t claim to have played at this fast and furious a level!
The caller got us set up (free of charge) with some of their more advanced technology – essentially like mini iPads – that do some of the work for you, allowing you to keep up with the game in a less panic-stricken way. He did all of this with a big smile, patience and a genuine enthusiasm for his job. We loved him and all his colleagues, particularly the chap at the snack bar who, when I went to buy a hot chocolate, whispered conspiratorially “How are you two getting on?” There was a real sense of being looked after. So, although it’s not for me as I say, it was totally memorable for the grace, charm and warmth with which we were treated, and I’ve told loads of people about it, including you.
Yum yum, tuck in
The other week I watched a documentary which featured a well-known sandwich chain. The narrator mentioned that this company’s people have to undergo a 12-week training plan, such is the drive for brilliant customer service on the shop floor. Only the next day I was in a branch near to our office and witnessed the barista being incredibly rude to one of her colleagues, so much so that I felt compelled to ring their customer feedback line and explain to them what I had seen. It wasn’t a complaint – I just wanted to raise their awareness of what had happened so that it wouldn’t happen again and spoil their brand. Because one of the defining qualities of “brand” is the quality of the service or product, and this wasn’t doing the former any favours.
They were brilliant on the phone, and to cap it all, the following day I received a gift card with £10.00 to spend – I was overjoyed. Coffee! Sandwiches! Snacks! They could have received the feedback in so many ways, but the tone of the conversation and the follow up has guaranteed my loyalty for a long time to come.
Put your money where your mouth is
I’ve started working with a new client in private equity recently. I’ve done two days with them, with three more coming in quick succession. They are delightful, and the whole experience starts the moment you reach their Reception desk. The ladies there are warm, efficient and effortlessly calm. The hospitality team ditto. And then my delegates so far have really lived up that early promise of a warm welcome but with absolute professionalism.
When I’m running a course I make it a point to introduce myself and shake hands with every delegate who comes in. Sometimes (and I could be on thin ice here as to the reason why – is it me?) I feel that I have to chase people round the room to get them to engage with me and make eye contact. I suspect it’s often a confidence, or a sector-specific, thing – but not in this case. These people are warm and feel that the onus is on them as much as it is on me to create an atmosphere that is conducive to working together well, and I can see why their clients love them. It’s fantastic.
What does this mean for all of us?
There is so much competition out there. No matter what sector you’re working in you’ll most likely be one of a number of providers vying to sell your products and/or services to a limited pool of buyers.
My colleague Michael talks often of the importance of being appropriately memorable. He’s right. It’s easy to be memorable for all the wrong reasons, but in the instances above these companies have got it all right when it matters. And in the instance where something went wrong (in the sandwich shop) the way in which it was all put right is the memorable and important thing.
And as Michael says in this short video... Don't be wallpaper!
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about the author
Nicky Denegri is our Senior Consultant. If you would like to know more about this subject, drop her an email and we will be in touch.