Saturday, 14 September 2013

What Is Great Customer Service?

Service with a Smile
Service with a Smile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What is great customer service about? Great customer service is going above and beyond the norm, ensuring your customer is happy and satisfied and that you do everything you can to meet their needs.

A good example of this, is if you are in a supermarket and you ask an assistant where an item is, they will tell you an aisle, however if the assistant tells you, but then shows you exactly where it is, they are the ones that provide great customer service. 

A positive attitude and a smile also goes 
a long way, knowing that the person is happy to serve you (or appears happy!) can make all the difference. Companies that know the benefit of great customer service to their sales figures are the savvy ones. In this day and age, and these tough economic times, companies can't afford to ignore staff training in this area. 

Small businesses often know and value great customer service. After all the owners may work in the business or have close links to the day to day running. I run a business in the luxury retail market and I know the importance of chatting to customers, building a rapport, and trying to meet their requests and needs.

Some big businesses do it well. John Lewis for example. John Lewis staff are partners in the business, and are highly trained to offer helpful and impartial advice on all products. Their service doesn't end with your purchase – they are great at providing excellent after sales and a great choice of expert services to help you, from delivery to installation. But so often big businesses get it wrong. 

Recently I went to a chain restaurant , I had no issue with the food but the customer service seriously let the place down. When we got there, there was no warm welcome, no smile, no, "How Are You Today?" No attempt was made at pleasantries. We had a reservation but no one thought to ask us if we did. We were plonked down on a tiny table by a noisy (and smelly area). I am not going to go on about the restaurant as this post is not about them, but I would say staff had little warmth about them and poor explanations of the menu selection were given. They were busy I could see that but what a very underwhelming welcome. 

To improve the service all that was needed was a brief chat, asking how you were today, if we had a reservation, an explanation of the menu and a personable waitress that nothing was too much trouble for. It was all the more awkward as I had to blog about my experience for the company. 
Twitter

The great thing about social media is that there is an easiness to which you can complain if things go wrong. Companies sit up and take notice of you. The consumer does have 'clout' for once. I witnessed this when I had problems getting my car to be repaired under guarantee. Taking to social media channels helped the issue become resolved, and blogging about my experience in the restaurant helped the management take notice of the issues, which they are addressing as we speak, which I give them full credit for. I am glad I was constructive in giving feedback, as if consumers don't complain how can companies know how to improve.

I have visited America on a number of occasions and they get so much right there.  Efficent service with a smile, nothing is too much trouble, always helpful they seem to almost always get it right. Maybe the system where tips are a larger part of the wages help provide better service?

What does great customer service mean to you? Have you ever had any issues with customer service resolved through social media. Let me know!
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18 comments

  1. I work in Primark and I always make sure my Customer Service is top notch. My mantra for work is "Treat Customers As You'd Like To Be Treated." down to showing people where things are, to neatly folding peoples purchases up. It's all important and people appreciate it. I have a few people who are regulars who wait to get served by me because they've been happy with their previous service!

    I really loved this post! ***** (That's a 5 Star Post!)

    Kate Hurn (UK Bloggers)

    :) x

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    1. Aw Thank you Kate, I really appreciate your comments. As you say treat people as you would like to be treated yourself. Be nice to people and they will be nice to you :)

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  2. I can't bear it when you are served and the assistant doesn't make eye contact or smile. I know everyone has off days but still. Now that most payments are via card, my other bugbear is fading into the distance - when your change used to be dumped on the counter so you'd have to put everything down to scrape it off the counter while the assistant looked on.

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  3. Great Post Mel, Just some politeness and enthusiasm goes a long way!

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    1. That's true, I always ask my customers how they are and how their days are going. It's only courtesy! x

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    2. Common courtesy accounts for a lot if you ask me

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  4. I no longer work in a customer facing role, but I still strive to provide excellent customer service. I think that's why I find it so much more frustrating when I don't receive it myself.

    Years ago, I worked for Wilkinsons and we got told we HAD to take the customer to the product, pointing them in the right direction wasn't good enough. From my experience, most shops still do this now. I had several disabled customers who would come in and hand me their shopping lists and I'd go and do their shopping for them. As a shelf-stacker, it was far from my job description but my Manager never complained!

    Now, I work in a back office role. I respond to customer and solicitor correspondence and we're always told to go the extra mile. Fingers crossed we do!

    Great post by the way :) x

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments. I feel great if I offer excellent customer service too, it is very rewarding. It sounds like you are an asset to any company you work in!

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  5. I know when I go abroad especially to places like Asia, if I tip big (well it's only like £3 to us) it makes a huge difference. Even when I go all-inclusive I still tip because the service is unbelievable, it was proven when we sat with another couple who didn't tip and they were astounded and couldn't understand why they weren't getting treated like the way we were. Not sure if it's right but it's definitely the case !!

    Customer Service means everything to me because it makes me feel special in what I'm buying too, I feel in the UK there isn't much of it - I love it when I go abroad as Customer Service is VERY big. I've had problems resolved through social media instantly :)

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    1. if you feel special then you are more likely to go back too.

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  6. Great post - I won't go back to a shop/restaurant if the customer service isn't up to scratch!

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  7. I'm very ummm what's the word...funny maybe about customer service I used to be a customer service manager at a very well known multi million gym & always treat the person how I myself would like to be treated. If someone in a shop was serving me & started shouting across to the next cashier about what they were doing that weekend or even get their phone out & start texting (yes it happen to me the other day) I will start talking to them about their cosy chat for example I would say oh so what you wearing this party then etc etc & then when I get 'the look' I'm quite happy to tell them that I really don't want to hear it & their attention should be on me! I just won't have it especially if I'm paying for it! The worse customer service I've ever known was in New York talk about brutal!

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  8. I'm talking about places like Gucci, Chanel & LV in New York however whenever I've brought something in those shops in London I've been treat like Royalty & even been given glasses of champagne when I'm browsing that's before committing to a purchase (normally a bag).

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    1. The way you are treated does make a huge difference to how you feel about a shop or brand.

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  9. Customer service in restaurants & that is a weird thing. I the US, the minimum wage is reduced for service jobs, as far as I understand, because there is such a culture of tipping, and they are expected to be able to easily make up the difference & more in tips. If you're good, you can, if not you find another job.

    The UK doesn't have the same tipping culture, and restaurants have been stopped from including tips in their employees minimum wage calculations, and so they earn the same as they would working in a warehouse. As a nation we don't tip often or well, and so employees don't see that there's much to gain by giving great service. The bosses are the ones who really benefit most of the time.

    That said, I worked as a waitress for 3 years, and could double my wages in tips, because DAMN I was good at it! And it means I always tip, and tip well.

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  10. I don't go back after a bad experience and I make it known I am not happy

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