Britain’s Broken Customer Service

Last night I settled down to watch Mary Portas’ new programme on Mystery Shopping and watched as Mary began to in her words trying and fix Britain’s “broken customer service”.

The show focused on the fast fashion retailers, H&M, New Look etc and Mary went into the stores wearing a microphone, hidden camera and a wig.  The results were not really surprising for anyone who has ever shopped in these stores.

The stores themselves were messy and disorganised and the staff appeared at best disinterested and at worst frankly rude. […]

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Mary Queen of Shops

I am very interested in a programme scheduled to air tonight with Mary Portas (the Queen of Shops) regarding customer service.  As a provider of customer service training we at GA Training are always interested to find out what is really going on out there in the world and this programme should therefore be well worth watching.

People will know Mary from her “Queen of Shops” programme that was aired fairly recently where she went into small shops and tried to help them turn their business around.  Mary met with a great deal of hostility and resistance from the majority of people she tried to help but most were turned around eventually.  This approach was very much focused internally on the business to start with and often included a return to traditional values.


Customer service crystal ball

In an age of turbulent times it’s often risky to stick your neck out and make predictions.  But as the SAS say, “he who dares wins”!

So, looking ahead with respect to the customer service sector, what’s in store for us? I have outlined below, and in no particular order, some of my predictions for the foreseeable future.

1. Price deflation across many sectors

Increasing global competition will further drive down prices. Margins will be tighter than ever before.

Organisations will need to re-engineer their interaction and engagement with customers. The internet makes every company accessible 24/7 and with a click of the PC mouse organisations will need to become so much more customer-centric to compete effectively. Customer service will become ever more important in gaining a strategic competitive advantage. […]

Senior management drive great customer service

To win hearts and minds, of both internal and external customers, excellent customer service needs to be driven from the very top of the organisation. Delighting customers should be truly embedded throughout all departments – failure to do so, more often than not, results in failure to exceed customer expectations.

Unravelling the DNA of organisations that consistently achieve great customer delivery, points towards strong commitment from senior management which is then replicated and driven throughout the whole organisation. While exceptions to this rule undoubtedly exist, such delivery will not be sustainable in the long-term. […]

Exceeding expectations and going the extra mile

I admit that I’m a bit of a customer service disciple and can be quite challenging to go out to dinner with!  Not that I’m not a serial complainer or anything, it’s just that I often take a leaf out of the USA book on how to deliver customer service. From time to time, I follow their school of thought which compels me to speak up if I believe expectations are falling short.

A few months ago it was my wife’s birthday and for once, I was prepared up-front and I booked a table a local restaurant. And, even though I thought the restaurant would not be busy on a Tuesday evening I still took no chances of anything going wrong and made sure I called and reserved a table. At the time of booking, I also made a comment that it was my wife’s birthday.  The man on the phone was incredibly polite and said yes of course they would make the evening special.  In passing, I mentioned that I was happy to pay for a cake or something similar.

On arrival, the waiter said “Ah yes, Greg at 9.00 please come in”. I was chuffed as I thought to myself that they must have remembered my booking request and therefore I could now settle down to enjoying my wife’s accolade to my well planned evening. Oh, how wrong my assumption was! […]

The silent majority who tell everyone else, but you!

A recent study showed that only 4% of customers who were dissatisfied with their dealing will bother to feedback their views to that company. But the real damage to an organisation’s reputation and profits is caused when the 96% of dissatisfied customers then go on to tell at least six of their family and friends what a bad experience they had with the organisation.

Complaint handling procedures and resolution should always be encouraged as they should help organisations to engage more positively with their existing and prospective customers. However, how can you learn from your mistakes when the overwhelming majority will give not give the feedback which will help to improve service?

So what does happen to the 96%? Well, in simple terms, these customers go elsewhere, either in the short or longer term, and engage with their competitors.

They also provide competitors with valuable insights into other organisations mistakes.

Can organisations really expect to pick up on more signals and signs of dissatisfaction? Well here are a few tips: […]