Tag Archive | customer service

Life can be so simple

Isn’t it true that we sometimes make things more complicated than they actually are? I just watched this wonderful little video and it made me think.

Every day we do things a little bit more complicated. For example, in business I am constantly thinking about the next new marketing tool that I can use to get more customers instead of just talking to people I know and meet every day and tell them about the products we sell in our business. This is not just much cheaper and cost effective, but also much more fun. Additionally, it is a proven thing that people trust people more when they know them already and get a recommendation.

Another great example at the workplace might be that we doing meetings after meetings in order to make sure that everybody knows everything and the service levels do increase. However, by being in meetings all the time and talking about what should be done, we actually forget to have enough people on the floor to provide a great customer service experience.

Unfortunately, I currently cannot recall anything that I do in my private life that could be all a bit more straight forward or made easier. But I am sure there are many things that can be simplified and actually would work better with less stress or workload. Therefore, think before you do things.

Maybe you have something that just came into your mind when you watched the above video or read this post. Please share your thoughts.

Customer service at the Experimental Cocktail Club, London

You are probably wondering if this will be another great story about one of my customer service experiences – and you are right. I was thinking actually for a while if I should write about my experience at above mentioned cocktail bar in the heart of China town and finally decided to do it. Bad service or better bad complaint handling needs to shared with others.

Here we go! We made our way after our Christmas party about two weeks ago to the Experimental Cocktail Club as recommended by one of my colleagues. It is one of these places that still serves alcohol after midnight during the week. I do remember this place from some late nights five or six years ago when I started to explore the night life of London and at that time it was a bit shabby and not necessarily a place where you wanted to spend an awful lot of time.

When we arrived the bar was quiet busy for a Tuesday night, but it was easy to find a nice table. We ordered the first round of cocktails and a friend of mine opened a tab at the bar. The cocktails were delicious and the atmosphere was great. The service staff seemed very unexperienced but tries their best to make a good impression. I have to say, it is really tough to impress me as I have worked in hospitality and gastronomy for about 15 years now.

After finishing the second rounds of drinks the waitress asked us to pay as last orders were done and we should leave soon. When they came over to us with the card, the waitress already apologised and set down next to us not knowing where and how to start. She explained that unfortunately they mixed up the cards with another customer and this customer was already gone. They did not realise that the cards was swapped even after entering the pin code three times. The other customer just used another card to pay the bill and took the card.

Here we go! There was this waitress, first day on the job trying to explain the situation and being really apologetic. We then asked to speak to the manager as she just mentioned that the other customer would probably notice the mistake the next day and would be back and we could swap cards. Great idea! I usually do believe in the good of people, but as only the pin code was blocked it would be possible to order some nice stuff via the internet where a pin code is not needed.

My colleague immediately tried to cancel his card with the bank who straight away asked for the card number, which we obviously did not know as the card was gone. What a great idea from call centres to asked for the card number of a stolen card. Who actually knows their card number by heart? He finally managed to cancel the card after being on the phone for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, we were sitting with the finished drinks around the table trying to speak to the manager who clearly was not in the mood to speak to us. He was actually trying to avoid us by constantly sending the waitress back to us to mention that he is busy and could talk to us right now as he would need to cash up all the tills.

Finally, we did manage to speak to him. He actually made a face as if he could not care less as it was his last day. He explained to us that all cards are kept in a glass and the names would be in the system to identify which card belongs to each table. A system that is made to fail on many occasions especially in a busy cocktail bar like this. They did give us the drinks for free as were not willing to pay for them, but were still sitting there for half an hour without anything – not even water, the bar staff looking at us like we should get it all sorted a bit quicker as they want to go home. After a lot of discussion and the manager telling us several times that it is not such a big problem they also invited us back, but overall I have to say never open up a tab at this bar and hopefully you will have no complaints to make as these guys don’t really take them serious.

Looking back it is kind of funny how some establishments, shops or companies get away with when it comes to customer service.

Friendly service makes all the difference….

As I was the other day writing a post about bad customer service, I needed to write about the service I experienced last night at Pizza Express at Holborn. Usually Pizza Express is not my preferred Italian Chain restaurant, but it served the purpose of getting a nice Italian meal in the Holborn area and I could not really look for other options as the battery of my smart phone was dead – so foursquare could not really help.

And exactly this little misfortune was the reason I got one of the best customer service I have ever received in a restaurant. And here is the story – I was supposed to meet some business partners from Germany at this restaurant, but could not find them in the restaurant. The waitress that approached my with a big smile offered me to look at the downstairs area, but my friends were not there. As I was running late, I was 100 percent sure that there must be already be seated. The lovely waitress then suggested to give them a call and checked if I was sure that I was in the same restaurant. Having been in this situation before, in most restaurants or places people give you that weird look like you are dumb and cannot even find the right restaurant. However, this waitress did with a big smile and empathy. I asked her if there would be more restaurants of this chain in the area, but only at least 10 minutes away. Therefore, I was sure that I was at the right place. When she suggested I should give my friends a call, I mentioned that my phone is out of battery and I will not be able to call them. Then, she asked me if I know the phone number and I agreed while wondering where the next telephone booth is and where to get change to make a call. And here came the moment of truth – she offered me to make a call from their phone. She placed on an empty table and asked me to wait until she could get me the phone. I would have never even imagined that this would be an option. This person just really made my day!!! But I never managed to make a call as my friends arrived and there was no need to make a call.

I can only say, it was such a little thing to offer me a phone to make a call and I know for a fact most restaurants or businesses would not allow or do. I think even most people working in restaurants would not even get the idea to offer this. But for me it was one of the best things that happened to me for while and I will certainly remember it for a while.

Additionally, we exchanged details to see if we have an opportunity for her in my business that she can make sure all our customers are happy as well. I think, people with a natural passion for customer service are hard to find these days especially in these kind of restaurants that go for volume and are situated in the tourist areas of London.

However, I think that it also depends on the customer how much service he gets. I truly believe that when you asked nicely and treat service staff with respect and give them a smile your chances are much higher of receiving great service in return. Give it a try!

Dell and customer service

Only three days in my challenge and I already struggle to find something I can write about. It is not that I don’t have enough ideas or subject I would like to write about, but most of them actually need a bit of further research to put together something really good of a post. I also might need to get used to writing a bit quicker as most days I will not have the time to research and write for about 2 hours. But enough of the waffling for now and here we go with my next post about customer service gone a bit wrong.

Dell Logo

Image via Wikipedia

I purchased a DELL XPS 1330 laptop about 3 years ago and was really happy with its performance design and the overall service. DELL is known for good customer service and value for money products as the company mostly uses the internet to distribute their products. About 3 weeks ago, my laptop started to running hot on a regular basis and actually switched off completely with a nice blue screen – we all don’t want to see – in order to prevent damage to the processor.

As I had this problem about 2 years ago and knew that after the while the ventilator will lose some performance due to dust blocking the filters and overall flow of cool air.

Knowing that I did purchase a 3 year guarantee package which I think came at a great deal at that time – I am even thinking about renewing it, knowing the potential problems with XPS machines – I called customer service to get an engineer over to replace the ventilator part. Having done that before I thought that it would not be much of a challenge for DELL as the first time I had that problem about 2 years ago, everything was done to my total satisfaction. Therefore, I was confident it would be the same this time, but it all went a bit different from what I expected. After some time explaining my case the help desk person ran mr through different scenarios of I should try before they would sent somebody out. As these checks determined that it must be a problem with the ventilator, we agreed to have an engineer sent out to my home to repair it in 2 days time, which I think is just great. However, they would not be able to give me a time slot for the engineer to arrive. The help desk clerk actually pointed out that they do not offer the option of morning or afternoon services as the engineers were running late and they got too many complaints. Therefore, DELL decided to not give time of day at all to increase customer service satisfaction. I could not believe what I was hearing!!!

Here we are – a customer service got reduced because too many people complained about the service delivery falling short of the companies promise and below customer expectations. I can only tell you that if we would work in the hospitality industry like that than we would lose customers very quickly.

Back to DELL  and me having the customer service clerk on the other line, I had not much choice but to agree to spend a day waiting at home for an engineer that might come between 8am and 5pm, as I was told.

The engineer arrived and was very pleasant to talk to and after 45 minutes everything was changed as requested. At that point, I was very happy and could not wait to get back on my laptop to catch up with some work, while discovering that the ventilator would not make a move at all and the laptop was running hot after 20 minutes worse than before.

It was time to call customer service again and I tried to speak to a supervisor straight away to get some quick results. I asked DELL customer services to call me back as I was calling from a mobile and the clerk declined my request as it was a busy day for them – by the way they usually offer to call you back, but not this time. After some discussion I got my call back from a supervisor who sincerely apologised and was able to help. The supervisor helped me to have an engineer arranged on a weekend as I was working all week and was not able to see anybody at my work place to fix my laptop. When I was asking for compensation, she first declined but finally agreed to send me a 500 GB external hard drive for the inconvenienced caused of not being able to work on my laptop for one week. Until now, three weeks later, I did not receive the promised external hard drive, which is again a bad experience of poor customer service.

To sum it all up, in general DELL seems to have good customer service, but in this case they did not deliver what they promised on two occasions. Do you have some bad customer service experience with DELL or any other company then please share it here in the comments.

People in the UK love to shop online

Nothing new, but numbers are still increasing with rapid speed. When I checked some data on the UK market, I was quiet surprised to see that the UK is leading in Europe when it comes to online shopping. According to IMRG, e-retailing sales in the UK will rise to an estimated 81 bn Euros in 2011. The current per capita spend of 1333 Euros per year bring the UK to spot number 1 in spending money online. This is definitely new for me, but well done UK and thank you for being such a great market. On a funny note, it seems like that the computer skills of online customers have evolved a lot, since this happened in 1999, When Online Shopping Flops.

(This happened to a friend who worked as tech support at an ISP around 1999.)

Me: “Thanks for calling [ISP] how can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, I was buying this skin care cream online, and then something happened. I need you to send someone here!”

Me: “Alright, Ma’am, can you tell me what happened?”

Customer: “The internet swallowed my credit card!”

RAOK Suggestion #15 Buy something on the internet

Image by garethjmsaunders via Flickr

Me: “I see, can you describe how it happened?”

Customer: “I put the cream in the basket, clicked the checkout option and then it said it was going to ask for my credit card on the next step, then it simply swallowed it!”

(I go through 10 minutes of attempts to try and find out what actually happened, before sending someone over. It turns out she inserted the credit card inside the Floppy Drive to pay the order.)

Great figures for the businesses, but what does the customer think. Personally, I buy a lot of things online, but not everything. I stick to tickets for flights, buses and other transportation, the occasional book from amazon, from time to time some Tesco shopping. I recently even started to play some lottery online, so that I at least have a little chance to win the Euromillions at one point!!!

In general, the online shopping experience is more or less the same when you look at the actual website and so on. However, there are big differences when it comes to services that are related to online shopping – the delivery! I have to agree with an article I read in the guardian about online shopping in the UK that the customer service in regards to delivery is better from Tesco, where you have the option of choosing your 2 hour slot for delivery, than with deliveries from amazon or other online retailers, where you never know when they will turn up or at least don’t have a choice. This seems to be a big aspect for most online customers. This might also have helped Tesco to claim spot number 3 on the top 100 hot list of online retailers according to the IMRG. Surprising, not really!!!

But what are you as a reader thinking about the delivery of your online shopping. Now, I would like to give you a chance to have your say on which delivery options you as a customer prefer most.

Delivery in Biratnagar (Nepal).

Image via Wikipedia

Going back to the business side of things… I am very grateful for the above mentioned figures and I am happy that excellent customer service with delivery times of your choice are important for customers. This knowledge will also give me and my business the opportunity to strive now and in future years to come with delivering to my customer’s doorstep without any surcharge and a delivery time that will suit them.

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