Tis the season to be spending, to be online shopping and to be demanding of the service industry. In December the focus is on buying presents, going on Christmas outings and preparing for the festivities. When we do that it means we have more than a few customer service experiences – both good and bad.
How important is good service to our buying habits? Do we feel able to criticise when things fall below our expectations?
I have had a few experiences of both good and bad service in the past few weeks. When things are bad I have felt quite within my rights to highlight them and this is often through social networks. Nowadays, not only do my close friends and family know if I have been frustrated by something but so does everyone that I am connected to through social networks. Get it wrong and fail to react and it will be shared with as many people as possible. However, get it wrong and then manage to deal with it appropriately and I will share that positive experience as well.
One recent interaction was with Royal Mail over a lost parcel. I tweeted my frustration that a package had gone missing while submitting my complaint through the website. The local delivery office provided a fantastic service, found the parcel, phoned me to tell me and arrange redelivery. Straight away I went back onto Twitter to share the news. What is more I asked the main corporate account to ensure that the thanks was passed onto the staff at the delivery office. In my mind not only did I share the details of the good service I received but I was able to highlight it to management.
If the experience had been poor would I have changed my habits? A little difficult when people send things through Royal Mail but in other circumstances the answer has to be yes. There is no way I will continue to accept poor service when I am parting with my hard-earned cash. I suffered poor service some years ago from a garage and have never returned. Instead, I chose to buy my next vehicle from another dealer and found another dealer to provide the servicing. The service I receive is excellent and so I will never return, and I remain very vocal about the poor experience I had.
In these challenging financial times I wonder whether companies and businesses are still providing customer service training for staff? It could be the difference between building and maintaining customers and seeing people disappear down the road. The expansion of social media has put the shop window of every business on a global stage. For those that realise this and invest in their frontline staff it could possibly be a Merry Christmas.