Good news! Mary “Queen of Shops” Portas is going to tackle customer service in her next TV programme.
Bad customer service is something of a bugbear of mine, as regulars will know. I have absolutely no time for it and I WILL complain. (Scary)
The thing is, if you are a big organisation, bad customer service is actually a choice. You actively have to decide that customer service doesn’t matter and that you will sacrifice it to something else, like a cheap wage bill or huge stock turnover.
This explains why Mary Portas wants to kill herself in Homebase and why the sales assistants in some shops won’t even acknowledge that I exist.
Good customer service is a policy passed down from the top about the way the company feels about its customers. Leading the field is John Lewis and its supermarket brand Waitrose. Have you noticed how pleasant their checkout staff are? It is all taught – drummed into them on training courses. I know this because a friend’s husband was in charge of turning a batch of Safeway’s staff into Waitrose employees and I have to tell you, some of them didn’t make it.
John Lewis knows that politeness is important to their customers and they try to make the hideous business of buying groceries as pleasant as possible.
I think that is something we all deserve whether we can afford to shop in Waitrose or not. So I would like to send special thanks to the assistant in Sainsbury’s who rescued me recently from self checkout hell.
The problem was that every time I tried to take a full bag away, the robot told me I was not authorised to remove items from the bagging area. So they just mounted up into a huge pile until my entire weeks groceries were a wobbling mound in front of me. I was sweating at the thought of my car park ticket running out while remaining pinned to the spot by the shouting robot lady.
Enter the kind Sainsburys assistant who sorted it all out without once betraying her irritation at my stupidity.
Everyone deserves good customer service and it shouldn’t be down to a lucky break with the shop assistant.
I think they need to know that we know that good customer service is a management decision which reveals what THEY think about US.