Opening the door to consistent service

An article by Ian Graham of Swayed Greyhound about customer service in retail

The issue of poor customer service keeps rearing its head and this time it’s a story my mother-in-law recounted to me. She knows what I do for a living so every time she has a bad experience she seeks me out which is blog writing gold!

This story involves her needing some interior doors for her standard, normal house so she took herself down to a branch of national company and after not finding any doors or people she eventually found an assistant and the customer engagement commenced. After establishing with the assistant that they didn’t have the door she wanted he helpfully pointed out that she could go home and go online (he did this four times). She is one of the many people in this country who doesn’t really like to go online and very rarely does. He then said that once she found the one she wanted online to order it and get it delivered to the store (surely you would get it delivered to your house?!). When she mentioned that this wasn’t something she wanted to do he then suggested that she go to a branch 25 miles away. She doesn’t drive. “Can you order it for me” she asked – “No”, “Do you have any brochures?” – “No”. Eventually, reluctantly the assistant gets his phone out and with a big sigh announces that there are 34 pages of doors so the lady with little technical know-how had to instruct him on how to narrow down the search. Even this was unsuccessful and the conversation ended with the assistant instructing her that she would have to re-do her measurements and have a door specially made.

With this she left and decided to try a local company. Within five minutes the door was found, bought and paid for. They couldn’t have been more helpful. The assistant serving her even said that if she couldn’t fit it in her sons car  they could deliver, which would normally incur a charge, but on this occasion they would waiver this charge. This prompted my mother-in-law to go to the bathroom department and buy a bath panel which was extra money for the local company.

Now this week I needed a curtain pole and despite the national company being the easier, cheaper option for me where do you think I went?

My mother-in-law is not unique and there are plenty of people in this country (me included) who like to speak to people when making purchases. Is your organisation giving enough consideration to this?

My mother-in-law has got decades of customer service experience working in the lingerie department of a large store in my home town. She’s renowned for what a great job she does going the extra mile with patience and grace. She even kept my 100 year old grumpy grandma happy which is an amazing feat (happy birthday Betty Gibson by the way!)

She often talks with her work colleagues about experiences she has as a consumer and one of her work colleagues remarked that she has always had excellent service when shopping at the national company so the lesson of the day is:

No organisation wants to have service levels that fluctuate. It makes things difficult on many levels. A consistent level of service regardless of employee and customer is the best place to be. I can help you achieve and maintain this.