Archive for April, 2010

How far do you spread the word about good & bad customer service?

April 23, 2010

As part of our sales skills training suite we run a customer service training module on which we have some fun with an exercise using company logos. We ask our delegates to sort forty or so logos into three piles: those organizations that give great customer service, bad customer service and indifferent customer service. Having done that, we then ask them to discuss what makes the good, good and the bad, bad and then to list the attributes of each. When it comes to great service, attributes include:

  • Good or bad customer service?They’re friendly
  • They look please to see me
  • They give me time
  • I can always find staff
  • Knowledgeable staff
  • They’re polite
  • Smart staff
  • Clean stores
  • Great environment
  • Quickly deal with customer complaints and put things right
  • They smile

Whilst bad customer service elicits these sorts of comment:

  • The staff are miserable
  • You can never find anyone to help
  • Don’t take customer complaints seriously
  • Staff are surly, rude,
  • Staff talk to each other
  • The staff are scruffy
  • They’re not interested in me

What’s really interesting is that people LOVE talking about the bad customer service that they’ve received and this invariably dominates the conversation. Even when we specifically ask the room to tell us a story of great customer service, someone will launch into a story of a recent shopping trip soured by a surly assistant.

This seems to bear out the general opinion about customer complaints – that an aggrieved customer will tell at least ten people about their experience.

Our Customer Service Experiment

That gave us an idea – to conduct our very own twitter experiment using two twitter # tags.

When you want to have a gripe about a recent shopping experience, your broadband provider, bank (or indeed anyone else who lets you down on the customer service front) include #surlyservice in your tweet. On the flip-side of the coin if you want to tell the word about a brilliant experience, then tweet using #bestservice. We can then keep an eye on the results.

Of course if you want to expand upon the experience – good or bad – feel free to add your story here. It’s very cathartic – look on it as a kind of counselling service if you will. We’ll even pass on any good news to the people concerned.

By the way (in case you’re interested) of the forty or so company logos we use in our customer service training exercise two consistently end up in the good customer service pile: John Lewis and Waitrose whilst Dixons and BT invariably end up in the bad pile.

So, who are your customer service heroes and customer service zeros?