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Customer Service

Why is it these days that when you get genuinely good customer service it makes you feel good?

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Is it that we’re all so used to walking out of a shop or putting the phone down and saying “I’m not using them again, that was awful”? So that when we experience good customer service we’re genuinely pleased and feel the need to tell others?

Why can’t some companies (particularly the ones who employ bad-tempered, gum-chewing, miserable sods to brighten their “client experience”) realise this? I’m starting to rant, so I’ll take you back to the good customer service experiences we’ve had recently!

  • My wife rang me yesterday, the front headlight in her car has gone (it was fine when she left in the morning!), luckily it was quite foggy so she was driving on fog lamps as well.

    I did a little bit of digging to discover that the recommended way of changing them on her Megane is to remove the wheel (see pics).

    I’ve removed her tyres once in the dark recently – I don’t fancy doing it again! So I rang Halfords (where I know she’ll go to get a spare bulb), without even pausing to look it up the chap told me the price, and the fitting price. I asked if that included taking the wheel off on Megane’s he told me that generally they don’t need to, they can reach into that little cubby hole without because they do it so often – all for £4.99 (+£8.99 for the bulb) – result!

    It’s not the fact that they offer the service that makes this so great, it’s that he new the prices and the details straight off the top of his head – and he answered the phone!!!

  • We’ve had a spot of bother with our Microwave recently, it was a Christmas present last year – the motor has died.I rang Russell Hobbs (the manufacturer) sometime last week – spent 40 minutes on hold and gave up. As we couldn’t find the packing slip this seemed our only course of action.

    Eventually the receipt was found, Woolworths – now I already knew what trouble they were in, but Emma set about ringing them – the first person told her she’d only got 28 days to return a faulty item (it was new law!), the second one couldn’t get his headset working and put the phone down on her (no wonder this company is in trouble).

    So she rang Russell Hobbs, a nice chap told her how much trouble Woolworths were becoming and that she really should take it up with them, and that if they absolutely refuse we’d be better off buying a new microwave versus the price of a repair. (Good customer service #1).

    The third attempt to Woolworths resulted in Emma quoting Trading Standards and the Sales of Goods Act, before being put through to a supervisor, who told us we could take it back to the store.

    I walked through the door 10 minutes later and after hearing all this, bundled Emma, Microwave and packing slip into the car – let’s get this done before Woolworths are in any more trouble I announced!

    The miserable, gum-chewing oik on the till wanted nothing to do with us as I marched in (well, struggled, under the weight of a microwave that was never meant to go into the shoddy random box I’d put it in!). Thankfully his supervisor was fantastic, we could go and select another… I opted for the refund – a wise a move considering Woolworths went into administration some 24 hours later.

    The supervisor didn’t question it, didn’t argue, just did everything she could to put it right – and quite rightly we thanked her for it! (Good customer service #2)

    Two good people, but the amount of trouble we had to fight through to find them makes you wonder if it’s worth it sometimes!

Why can’t more people be like the good people in these experiences? Why do we have to put up with bad customer service? I used to work in customer service myself and we had two rules:

  1. The customer is always right.
  2. When the customer is wrong, refer to rule #1.

This entry was posted on Saturday, November 29th, 2008 at 2:17 pm and is filed under Personal Diary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Comments (3)


  1. Kate says:

    Well, you just knew I would have to comment didn’t you? After 21 years of dealing with irate customers and, I might add dealing with them very well, I have learned the art of complaining successfully so I don’t have many problems. which is perhaps just as well as I seem to have to complain regularly!!
    All miserable oik’s have a boss!!!

    Kates last blog post..Absolute madness!!!

  2. Keiron says:

    🙂 I knew you’d be first!!

    Very true, it’s just a delight when you don’t get the oik and get someone who genuinely cares. I hasten to add that the chap at Halfords when Emma got there, immediately marched outside with the bulb in the dark and got under the car – fitted there and then in the freezing fog of last night!

  3. Magicroundabout says:

    Nice one Keiron. We are quick to complain and slow to praise where things are good so well done for writing up these experiences.

    Regarding your two rules at the end, have a great story from the days I used to work on the produce department of the big Tesco.

    I was stocking up shelves with pre-packed small veg like baby sweetcorn and peas one day and my boss was nearby me. A customer went up to my boss with an empty wrapper to complain about a pack of sugar snap peas (these are like mangetout – you eat them whole!).

    “Well,” she started, “I bought these last week and they were really expensive and I got them home but once I’d shelled them there wasn’t even enough to feed one person”

    Faced with the dilemma of the customer always being right, my boss simply took the empty wrapper, took a new pack of peas off the shelf and gave them to her with a smile saying “Here, why don’t you try another pack”.

    I’m not sure if this represents good customer service or not. Faced with a customer who’s irate but clearly wrong, do you choose to educate? Or do you let them have their own way and avoid the hassle? Hmm…

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