Thursday, 12 February 2015

Catching people and organisations doing it right

The other day I was a having a conversation with a retailer over a latte about customer satisfaction surveys and it got me thinking.

As a nation it is often said that we Brits don’t like to complain. But all that is changing, and mostly for the better, if you disregard the proliferation of the litigious culture fuelled by the so called ambulance chasers and claims management companies.

The retail sector leads on capturing customer comments and encourages us to give feedback by giving us a website address on our till receipt to rate our experience. So as we get braver we use our newly found confidence to rightly hold organisations to account when the service they give us is below what we expect. In fact it has never been easier to complain or rate our experience.

But how often do we devote the same amount of time, energy and passion to the process of recording our satisfaction when we have a truly great experience. It’s all too easy to focus on negatives but we need to recognise and respond when organisations do things well. Because, after all, if all the feedback that organisations get is around poor service then they won’t ever get to hear about the great experiences. Which means that Joe at Caffe Nero won’t get to hear about how his cheery disposition and manner, whilst making our double espresso, brightened up our morning. Which means that Caffe Nero Head Office won’t get to know that the training, the type of recruitment they are doing and the type of person they’ve recruited is giving a great experience for their customers. So we need to tell them. From a business perspective when that great experience is replicated across the store network this translates to more happy customers, which means more repeat visits which means that the “bean counters” (excuse the pun) will be happy.

So next time you get a great experience remember to grab a comments card or provide some feedback via the “tell us how we are doing” weblink. If we want more great experiences then it falls upon us to tell the organisations when they are doing it right, so that they continue to do those things that delight us.

So as a call action, next time you are wowed by an organisation or an individual: tell them about it.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The customer is bothering you right ?

Regretting the decision not to purchase a bamboo style in-tray in a large UK Supermarket store a few weeks before, I decided to have a look online. After searching on a few retail sites I eventually found what I had been looking for at Rymans. I duly ordered so I could collect the item in store as it was close to where I was working at the time

A few days later, I found myself quite close to the store and even though I hadn’t heard anything, I thought I’d enquire to see if my item had arrived.

I approached the desk and was greeted courteously by the assistant. I was explaining the reason for my visit when, a lady verbally cut across rudely saying “deliveries don’t come in until Thursday”. That was me told and clearly this lady (the Store Manager) couldn’t wait to get me out of the store as she clearly had something more important to do than helping customers.

Well, I had a choice I suppose, I could go home and cancel my order or I could come back on Thursday. I decided to come back on Thursday after I received the email confirmation.

I left work at 5pm on that Thursday and arrived at the store around 5.20 to be greeted with “ the store shuts in 10 minutes”. I was determined to get my item and in the 9 minutes and 50 seconds that remained I made my way to the counter and collected it.

I won’t be using Rymans again based on the interactions in the Cardiff store.

Perhaps someone needs to explain to the staff in this store that if customers stop walking through the door, then the staff will have something more important to do with their time i.e. find a new job.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Your continued business is important to us. That's why the AA wanted to charge me more.

£201 for home start, roadside assistance and relay to renew my AA cover seemed a bit steep to me.

So i went online and found the cover for £134 with the RAC.

I called the AA and was told because I was a loyal customer and they would like to keep me that they would see if there were any special online deals at the moment.

£134 was their best prize which I eagerly snapped up.

The more I reflected on it the more i started to get cross. If I hadn't rang up then my loyalty would have been rewarded by paying £65 more for my cover.

Apathy and customer inertia are not reasons for charging me £201. How does that reward loyalty and make me feel valued?.

Give me the best available price at Renewal. This leaves a nasty taste.

Message to the AA treat existing customers fairly and reward me for loyalty with your best price.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

John Lewis, where's your passion gone? Your twitter peeps are robots

I found a suit jacket I loved in john Lewis Cardiff but to my disappointment not a matching pair of, what Paul Hogan would call, strides.

The customer representative in menswear, Dan, proactively offered to look online for me. Customer delight ensued. 

He then rang and put me on to the Southampton store to complete my order. From my postcode they were able to find my address (joined up thinking) more customer delight

So delighted was I, that I bought 3 shirts and two ties (that I hadn't planned to) plus the suit that I had wanted to buy.

As a result of Dan's actions one suit sale achieved /rescued £158 plus an additional £100. Happy Chief Financial Officer.

Absolutely delighted,  I decided to tweet my satisfaction to @johnlewisretail. From a reward and recognition perspective I believe  it is important to catch people doing it  right : and to reward, recognise and positively reinforce the right behaviours. So I make a point of commenting and recognising great experiences because it is all so easy to focus only on what went wrong.

I didn’t tweet my delight for egotistical purposes and to get a retweet but moreover to say well done to John Lewis for having employees who live the brand values.

So i was rather non-plussed by the bland reply of  "thank you we'll pass it on". Surely a bit more delight and passion for Dan's actions from the twitter peep would have been in keeping with my expectations and the cultivated brand image.

I now feel that I have been knowingly undersold. Not what I expected from John Lewis. Has something gone wrong in the recruitment of their twitter peeps.

What do you think ?


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Yes we know customer service is important but

How many organisations are:
  •  reminding staff that customer service is important ?
  •  reminding staff that customers have a choice and don’t have to do business with us ?
  •  rolling out customer programmes repeating the above and more ?

How many colleagues are saying we know, we get it, tell us something we don’t know ? Giving a great customer experience will ensure that customers come back time and time again, which is good for the business and then surely good for staff ?

So here’s the conundrum – why is it when I go into certain stores, I’m met with at best indifference or at worst a sullen and morose face who can't be bothered ?  Clearly there’s a disconnect between the organisation what it says it stands for and its customer facing staff. Why is that ? 

Could it be that ?
  • Staff see management or senior leadership modelling behaviours that are far from customer centric. If they can’t be bothered, why should we they think ?
  • Customer facing staff are prevented from giving great service because management ask them to do other things that conflict with them giving great service e.g. in retail sometimes stocking shelves and working stock/delivery is prioritised above serving and helping customers.
  • Staff feel let down by management, who have made promises and not kept them.
  • Staff feel they have no say in the way their daily tasks are done 
  • Employees don’t feel listened to or that their ideas are never given air time 
  • Colleagues see the organisation making huge profits but personally feel undervalued in terms of their remuneration.
  • There are no perceived  career or personal development opportunites.
What do you think the reasons for the lack of engagement amongst customer facing staff are  ? I would love to hear your thoughts

Monday, 17 December 2012

But i'm with Banco Espanol not business banking

To use a catch phrase from  the olden days (as my kids would call it) “I wanna tell you a story”.

Last week I went to my bank’s premises (a former  building society) to pay in a business cheque. I have both my personal account and business account with this institution for simplicity and convenience Hmmm, or so I thought.

I handed over a cheque which I wanted paid into my business bank. “I’m sorry but you will have to pay that in through the ATM machine” was the rather frosty edict from the cashier.

“But I’ve done it over the counter before” I protested.

“ That is only the case when the ATM option is not available” was the next rebuff. 

Quickly followed up by “ We don’t do business banking here in the branch”

As far as I’m concerned there is no difference between Banco Espanol and business banking they are all the same brand irrespective of whether one is for personal banking and the other for business customers.

So what can Banco Espanol learn from this experience. Don’t put up artificial silos because from a customer perspective you are all one Bank irrespective of internal structures. Put yourself in the customers shoes.

Secondly perhaps the cashier could have employed some flexibility and not been such a “job’s worth” The refusal of the cashier to process my cheque meant it took 5 business days to clear.

Keeping up the Iberian theme, what could I have done about the can’t/won’t do mentality I experienced – perhaps grow some large cojones !!

Muchas gracias for reading my pequeno blog,

Linkedin endorsements finger clicking bad

Aren’t I the big star with over 1500 linked connections and numerous endorsements.

Well actually the thing I court the most within Linkedin is the recommendation from a connection. To be able to write a meaningful recommendation that connection has to know me well and either have experienced my work first hand or seen it as an observer.

So when I get endorsements from connections that have never seen me doing my training stuff it means nothing to me. I really only want recommendations because people will have thought about what they write rather than just clicking endorse.

So whilst I may show an abundance of endorsements to anyone checking out my profile, it don’t cut the mustard with me. Call me old fashioned but it doesn’t seem right to be endorsed by people who don’t know me that well and who haven’t been Dell’Armied ! It devalues the endorsements and it’s the lazy person’s way – a bit like a Facebook like.

There maybe some algorithm type thingy going on here with search ranking (which I don’t pretend to understand) which may benefit me but from an authenticity perspective it just doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

Would love to hear what others think.