Monday, 19 October 2009

Customer service - why is it so important

I've had a couple of bad customer service experiences recently. I won't go into too much detail other than saying that the incidents that happened have all involved poorly trained and young staff whom thought they were somewhere else rather than at work.

One example involved me getting a coffee from a well-known coffee shop. Sure, the coffee was hot, tasted good and I enjoyed it. What I didn't enjoy was being treated like just another person who wanted coffee when I went to order. (I'm not being over-sensitive here btw!)

It really was quite strange because the server, a young woman around 25 yrs old barked (actually more like roared) her orders at me as if I was standing 200ft away and didn't speak English. It's not even as if there are many foreigners in the area. She then slammed the coffee down when it was done, again roared at me to inform me where the sugar was (she really couldn't have cared less) and was incredibly arrogant.

Fair play, she may have been having a bad day but when I spend £2.50 on a coffee and I've got several other places to go and spend my money on other over-priced coffee within 30ft of that shop, this surely isn't going to help the chain in the long run.

It's not for me to just slate this chain so here are some thoughts on how could they improve her service.

  • Well, firstly I'd give her some training in politeness and manners.
  • I'd then get her to order coffee from a few different shops and evaluate what she liked and didn't like about the service. She'll be able to better understand how customers expect to be treated once she's thought about it from a customer's perspective.
  • Incentivise her to be more congenial by giving her rewards and praise when she does a good job.
  • Ensure she is monitored by a supervisor when she is on duty
  • Undertake role playing exercises and then evaluate her performance
  • Iron-out whether she should be dealing with customers at all - is she actually right for the job. If she can't smile and be pleasant then she should just go and work at Ryanair.

This isn't exactly going to win awards for world's most comprehensive customer service training but at least it should keep her on the straight and narrow for a while and stop bugging me when I get my coffee.

PS haven't seen her recently so think she got the boot anyway. Will keep you all posted.

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