News & Events
#010 – Cracking Customer Service
- 12th July 2017
- Posted by: Liz Gordon
- Category: Episodes
This week, we’re focusing on what makes Cracking Customer Service – one of our favourite subjects!
Yes, it’s true, we’re a bit ‘passionate’ about it, aren’t we, to quote that overused phrase. But we are in all seriousness, as listeners will gather as the podcast goes on.
Excellent customer service should be at the core of every business, and there is no excuse in this day and age for falling at this hurdle. Yet so many businesses do, don’t they?
Yes, they do, and it drives me nuts. I’ve got worse as I’ve got older and will now complain whereas I used to be very British and not say anything at the time but moan like hell afterwards.
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I think a lot of people still do that. Look at TripAdvisor or any social media channel, and they are littered with angry comments from people who’ve been at the receiving end of poor or even diabolical customer service.
Yes, for sure and I guess it’s a shame that we’re not all so vocal when it comes to shouting about good customer service but hey ho, so let’s begin by giving listeners some of our own good and bad examples so that we can all consider how we may get things right. You’ve got a great positive example haven’t you, Nicky?
Yes, I have so buckle in listeners – here goes, I must confess I blogged about this at the time so I would like to stress that I do also try to share good news stories when they’re due.
So, what happened then?
Friday night and the tumble dryer had eventually packed up and balancing the broom handle was no longer working so I decided I had to finally replace it so recalling the catchy AO lets go jingle, I logged on. The fact I could upgrade so they’d recycle the old appliance and they would remove the packaging and then the fit machine for a small fee appealed as did next day delivery and timed four-hour delivery slots. All done, purchased and wait.
So that nicely highlights the importance of the customer experience starting right from the advertising through to the ease of using their website then? They made it easy for you?
They certainly did. But my experience did not end there.
Oh right, carry on then!
I then received a phone call that evening to check I was happy with my purchase and to confirm that I would receive a text by 7 am the next day with details of my timed slot, did I also know I could track the delivery in the event I should need to go out?
Did you know that?
Nope, but I thought it might prove useful as it was the weekend. I decided to forego the offer of an extended warranty. What do I know I may regret it, but PPI insurance oversell still resonates with me.
I know what you mean. What happened then?
The next morning, as promised, along came the text and yes, I did indeed need to use the tracking facility as an unexpected kiddie taxi ride loomed but then on top of this I received a security call from the driver telling me that they’d be with me in 15 minutes and to check the access arrangements. Delivered, unpacked and switched on 15 minutes later I was a happy bunny.
15 MINUTES? That’s amazing!
Then followed a text from the delivery driver asking me to rate their service, unsurprisingly I text back “brilliant”, a further text asked me if they could share this with their Facebook page if okay with me. Finally, the next day a quick net promoter score email asked me to grade their overall service and if I wished to answer six fuller questions an opportunity to be put into a free prize draw.
So, all in all, a brilliant experience that you are keen to share with others, just as you are now?
Absolutely. But then a week later and counter this with a visit to a very well-known treasured Dorset canteen for tea and cake, a pit stop during a mindless drive back from Cornwall with four teenagers.
Somehow I don’t think this is going to end well.
Admittedly we’re all a bit dazed having just had our first breath of fresh air in four hours, but we waited patiently at the “wait to be seated” sign and watched staff busy themselves at the shop counter, as a couple of tables were served. There was lots of activity if you count several staff setting up for evening service, but no-one was paying heed to our little gaggle, no eye contact, no acknowledgment, oh apart from a kitchen chef who was clearly embarrassed and tried to get someone to come over.
I hate that. When you have to make yourself obvious to get their attention.
I know, and when they did finally notice us, there was no apology, no smile, no warmth and bizarrely, no menu! This was made worse by the fact that we were left searching for someone to pay and ended up paying in the shop as all the staff had vanished. Nice chocolate brownies though.
A small crumb of comfort though? That’s so bad. So, listeners, what does this tell us and why should we as marketers’ care?
Well, I’d say that the AO experience was considerate and friendly, it put me at the centre of the whole process and made me feel valued.
I guess if every customer journey was as successful as that, there would be less need for marketers as we’d all return for a repeat experience.
Yes, don’t they say acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one?
Exactly, great customer service makes marketing easy. It creates a good news story to shout about, oh, and they may recommend you to friends. Your canteen experience, however, probably means you’ll look for an alternative pit stop next time and even prompted your four teenagers to talk about the bad service.
Yes, so that’s 5 people who are going to warn people off going there.
Precisely. AO has clearly invested a large amount of energy into developing their customer journey experience by tracking and developing their offering at every point where they could conceivably add value. It cost nothing more than time, strategy, willingness to implement and training but by goodness, it sorts the wheat from the chaff.
So listeners, think about how you could have clearly defined steps at every point of your customer’s journey?
I’d refer listeners back to Podcast 4 about Understanding what makes your customer tick.
Good point. When you understand your customer, you know what they are looking for, and you’re more likely to be able to deliver it in an appropriate way.
That’s it. And training. It’s all about training.
What is that Richard Branson quote? “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of the employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Exactly. Train your staff well, make sure they know all about your company culture and marketing objectives – we covered this in Podcast 1.
Just before we talk about how to create a customer service culture, just a reminder to listeners that we’d love you to share and subscribe to this podcast if you haven’t already. We’re on iTunes, Stitcher, Tune In or Blubbry or you can download via our website www.themarketingmenu.com
So, how can listeners make sure that excellent customer service is at the foundation of their businesses?
Well first, I would say make sure you have the right staff at the coalface. They’re the ones who will be making the first impression, and as we know, opinions are formed within the first 10 seconds. You don’t get a chance to make a second impression – it must be right from the get go. This is where good training pays off. So, warm and welcoming…and attentive!
Yes exactly! Not so the customer is having to wave their arms around to get noticed!
Secondly, show your customers you care about them. Just like AO did with the text and follow up calls. Showing appreciation and thanking customers for their business will go a long way to building a relationship with them, so they will want to return.
And recommend you! I would add to that by saying make sure all your communications, be it email, letters or phone calls are welcoming and personalized if possible to make the customer feel they are valuable to you.
It really works! But don’t just leave it at that. Think about how you can ‘add value’.
How do you mean?
Well, look at AO. Not only did they contact me after the sale and delivery but they also entered me into a competition as a thank you for feedback.
Good point. I guess it’s providing that bit extra that the customer isn’t expecting.
That’s right. I suppose a good way to think of it is customer service is actually helping people.
Yes, so as a business, we want to help our new customers by making the transaction as easy and pleasurable for them as possible.
That goes back to what we were saying about ensuring your online procedure, if it applies, is geared up for the customer experience.
Too right. Another consideration is the returns policy and dealing with negative feedback if there is any. Be clear about what your conditions are for returns and make sure all your staff are fully up to speed with how you operate.
I know that’s awful isn’t it, when you speak to two people and get two different answers.
It happens! And make sure any negative comments on social media are dealt with politely and effectively. Listen in to podcast 8 about Scrumptious Social Media for some tips.
Yes, I always recommend that clients respond to TripAdvisor comments, good or bad, as quickly as possible. Take the time to thank people if they have posted a positive comment and take negative ones offline by giving people an email address to contact you if you’re unable to get hold of them directly for example.
And even if it is negative I think other wannabe customers take a balanced view so long as you can demonstrate that you’ve reacted in a positive way and will try to do better. Done in this way I think you actually get seen a good light, you know rather than being all defensive or something!
And listen to what your customers are saying. If they are saying ‘this is the first time I bought something from you’ or ‘I love shopping with this company because they have great customer service’, make sure you react accordingly.
That’s a great way to build a relationship and make the customer realise they are being heard and valued at the same time.
Didn’t you just have a good customer experience recently as well, Liz?
I did indeed! I went on a short cruise with P&O and I was blown away by the smoothness of the whole operation. From the moment we pulled into the parking bay, there was someone there to take the keys and a porter to take the luggage. All smiling and welcoming us on board.
Impressive. How many people were on the cruise?
3,000! And it was so well run. By the time we checked in, got straight on to the ship where there was a buffet lunch waiting for us, the suitcases were outside our cabin!
That’s amazing. What about the staff…I mean crew?!
All so friendly, warm and welcoming. Nothing was too much trouble. Everyone smiled and said hello as you walked past from the cleaning staff to the ones in uniform, and you know it genuinely felt sincere. I even got two puddings one night because I fancied the ice cream as well as the chocolate torte! It just wasn’t problem. I was seriously impressed.
I bet you were, I know how important the trip was to you, and extra pudding Liz, they knew how to keep you happy.
And when we got back, it was just as well organised. They collect your suitcases the night before from outside your cabin which I panicked about a bit as I thought it would take ages to retrieve once we got off the ship, I mean disembarked.
Ha! So did it take ages?
No! I went to this large hangar where all the suitcases were lined up in deck order, got my case, off to the car park which I was directed to by several smiling staff, picked up my keys, got in the car and was homeward bound.
I know these companies have been doing it a long time but that sounds like really cracking customer service.
Yes. So much so, I’m going on another one in September!
Wowser, proof if ever you needed it that good customer service pays off then.
Well listeners, I’m sure you all have your own examples of customer service so I guess we’re saying have a quick think about what makes them good or bad and then think of some ways you may get your teams to go the extra mile and let us know how you get on.
I’m sure we will cover this again in a future podcast because there is so much to it.
Absolutely. Funnily enough I mentioned the Net Promoter Score at the very beginning so let’s chat about that next time is that an idea?
Yes, let’s talk about getting feedback and building customer case studies too, that’d be good.
Great then. So listeners that it for today which just leaves us to say big personal thank you for tuning in – we very much hope what we’ve shared today has been helpful.
So, tune in again on Wednesday 26th July when we’ll be chatting again and I know by then we’ll have lots of stories to tell as you’re off to Africa before then aren’t you Nicky?
I am indeed! Morocco here we come!
So until then, it’s goodbye from me, Liz Gordon, til next time.
And me, Nicky Matthews, goodbye.
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