My Take on – Customer Service

Barry Stevens
January 21, 2014

To me customer service is key for repeat business and referrals. It is about what you do (and don’t do) for your customers.
With our recent move to Auckland and building a house, we have experienced very good and very bad customer service and I thought I would share them with you. (But I won’t Name and shame )

  • If you say you’ll be there at a certain time, be there or at least let the customer know you are running late (Communicate with the Customer).

Most people that know me will know this is my little bug bear, be on time (I am usually obsessively early). If you are providing a service to a customer and you have said that you’ll have it done by a certain time, or will be arriving at a certain time make sure you do or at least let the customer know as soon as possible.

The house movers we selected – when delivering our stuff were 4hrs late – and only contacted me after I ‘tweeted’ (I didn’t have our coordinators number – another story). I wouldn’t have minded if they contacted me to say they were late or had to change the schedule, this would have meant I could have planned to play with the kids at the park rather than sit at an empty house doing nothing.

This also happened when they were to collect all the boxes. A moving/logistics company should be able to do better. Needless to say I will not be recommending them to anyone.

  • Set and exceed customer expectations

Let the customer know what they’ll be getting and over deliver if you can.

One of the first things we had to arrange was curtains, 4 weeks out and we hadn’t selected any. After contacting a couple of curtain places we selected one and arranged for a measure and quote. Curtain and blinds selected we asked if they could deliver and install on the 6th Dec (in 4 weeks), unfortunately she said they were operating on a 5 week cycle at the time. Oh well no curtains for a week – when confirming the quote she said she put a priority request through for us. Yay curtains in the house from day one, and we have already recommended company to others.

Another example is when we got our UFB installed, I was told it would take at least ½ a day to complete and required someone on site. The night before I got a call to confirm the time but the technician also said it would only take 30mins as he had done all the outside work (blowing the fibre etc) already in the previous week so I didn’t have to be on site all that time. He also took me through the equipment, explained how he had attached to the distribution board, and gave me a couple of extra phone connectors, none of which I expected but made my life a lot easier.

  • If you make a mistake, fix it.

Like a good saying from an old Wellington retailer “It’s the putting right that counts”.

So we moved to a new house, can anyone find it on google? No. We have had several cases where deliveries (including the movers) couldn’t find our house, however this one is classic.

We are avid users of online supermarket shopping and never had an issue at our old house so are putting this down as a one off. As part of the online shopping you have to put in your delivery address, easy free text and a suburb selection – done delivery confirmed. Our delivery time passed, and sometime later a phone call

Operator > “we delivered to your house but the person said they hadn’t ordered online shopping, so we have brought it back to the store, are you sure you put in the right address”.

Wife > ‘Yes it was blah terrace, Silverdale’

Operator> Are you sure because we have ‘Blah place, Forest Hill’ can you come to the Milford store to pick up.

Wife> Ummm, no I have two children and that is miles away. I have the confirmation email here with ‘blah terrace, Silverdale. I can email it to you if you like’.

Operator> Ok. ß Thinking yeah right

Operator> Oh you are right. Hmmm I’ll have to talk to my supervisor are you sure you can’t pick up.

Wife> Ummm no and we need the food in 1hr so I can cook dinner.

So to cut a long story short – At both ends we had different addresses on the confirmation/delivery sheet not really sure how it happened but I have my theory , it seems that the online shopping couldn’t address match our house so got the one closest (manual or automated not sure).

Two good things happened here, they didn’t give our shopping to the wrong person even though they had what they thought was the right address, and they sub60’d it to us once they worked it out.

Since then we haven’t had an issue

So there are just a few examples of ‘customer service’ that I experienced while moving and the 3 main points were:

  1. Communicate with the customer if you are going to be late
  2. Set and exceed expectations, and
  3. If you make a mistake, fix it.

These three can be applied to all types of Services and if you do them in my opinion you are more likely to have a happy customer that will use you service again or refer you to someone else.
Barry, Preventer of Chaos

Barry Stevens is part of our Data Ops team who specialises in SAS Administration, helping you prevent chaos.

Connect with Barry on LinkedIn or read some of his other blogs here.

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