There is one thing that really gets on our nerves – poor customer service! In today’s digital world, customer service can not be overlooked. Twitter, TripAdvisor and Amazon feedback all have their part to play when exposing customer service failures.
Recently a member of our team has been moving house, which in itself is one of the three most stressful things you can do (along with getting married and having a baby!). However this stress is exacerbated when confronted with terrible customer service. Here are some of the key customer service elements that we think are really important – in any customer focused industry:
1 – Honesty
A tradesman involved in the house move was caught out in a lie – more than once! Not only is this hugely infuriating and not something you want to hear from a contractor you have let into your new home, this also destroys any sort of professional relationship that may have developed – and certainly puts the brakes on any further development. What may seem like a little white lie to you can hugely affect the outcome for your client, so why take the risk? Honesty should be a stable and constant element of a company ethos – if not, surely you would question whether this was a company you wanted to put your trust (and money) into? We have always provided clear and honest pricing on our proposals, we don’t hide costs and sting you once contracted and we certainly don’t push you to choose a venue based on kickbacks we might receive – why all suppliers or providers can’t also follow this business model we don’t know!
2 – Punctuality
Delivering on a promise with regards to punctuality isn’t always the easiest task – particularly if you are relying on other suppliers to fulfil their side of the bargain, however being late or delivering late is something that you should be able to get a handle on. Whether this is managing the expectations of a client with regards to the timelines of a product or service or contacting them to explain or apologise for any delay – punctuality should be a priority to keep a relaxed and convivial client/business relationship. Each client deserves your utmost care and attention when they have come to you and placed their trust in your ability to deliver and the majority of time this relationship is based on achieving a level of punctuality with your work. We always contact a client if a proposal is delayed and always try to track down a client if we are held up from a meeting. We firmly believe this ethical way of running a business should go for all client facing industries
3 – Respect
The old adage is ‘respect is earned not given’ but it seems that some unscrupulous suppliers think that disrespecting clients should still leave them in a respectful position. We however believe that this is a two way street and would never belittle a client for a decision they have made or if they ask us to provide more information – that is what we are here for after all!
4. Go the extra mile
This week we helped a client find a new venue. Due to a mix up with communication, it was clear that the hotel they had contracted to use in October (we were not involved in the original booking) did not have enough bedrooms to meet their requirements. The hotel said “why don’t you use Google and find some local hotels and make contact with them to see what rates they could offer.” Considering the booking was worth in excess of £30,000, did that represent much commitment? It wasn’t an extra millimetre, let alone the extra mile? Within 2 days, we provided a list of venues that could accommodate the enquiry, and also provided a list of 3 hotels that could accommodate the extra bedrooms if the client decided to stay where they were. Now, 7 days after taking the call, we have conducted site visits with the client, and moved them successfully from their old, inflexible venue to a new option that in fact, looks more exciting than where they were originally.
Had a bad customer experience? Go on, feel free to vent here and name and shame!