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


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?


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6 Responses to “How far do you spread the word about good & bad customer service?”

  1. MSU Says:

    I’ve already listed my zeros. Thanks for the comment!

    But my customer service heroes would have to include:

    McDonald’s – I know, you’d think everyone should rip McDonald’s at any chance they get. But I’ve never really had a problem with rudeness or anything at McDonald’s.

    Bootlegger – The music sucks and the clothes is trash but the staff have a generally pleasant attitude.

    Telus Mobility – I like the service. The staff aren’t pushy and will let you browse unhindered, but also provide good info if you need it.

    • Ken Norman Says:

      MacDonalds do pretty well in our exercise. It’s all about what you expect and for most people MacDonald’s at least meet expectations. Most of the folk there seem happy to be there and smile! Whilst other places staff look miserable and treat you as an interruption.

      Here in the UK we have Clinton Cards (greetings cards etc) and despite the average transaction being less than $3 there’re always two people on the till. Their job, it seems, whose is to discuss their last date with each other while holding out their hand for your cash!

  2. Tim Lyon Says:

    Hats off to P A Turney at Weston on the Green. I went to buy a new strimmer. The salesman went to a great deal of trouble to demonstrate the options available, was very knowledgable about his stock and gave me a really good price. I was then handed over to one of their technical guys who gave me detailed instructions on how to operate the strimmer, change cutting heads etc. All together good old fashioned customer service.

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  4. Great Service from GO Outdoors « New Tricks Training’s Old Dog Blog Says:

    […] gets customer service right!  As you may have gathered from our previous posts on the subject (How far do you spread the word… and Seven Ways to Lose your Customers Parts 1 & 2) we are passionate about customer […]

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