Monday, 11 July 2011

Customer Service is really easy

Anyone who works in a customer service environment, this is for you.

It’s the Great Yorkshire Show this week. Because Harrogate Sainsbury’s is on the showground, it shuts for the week. So, whilst out and about today, myself and Mrs B took a trip to Morrison's.

Now, we were once regular Morrison's customers, but we switched allegiance because not only did they consistently run out of the stuff we wanted, but the quality was deteriorating. Especially the fresh stuff. So today was a fantastic opportunity for Morrison's supermarket. We were returning.

Now, it’s fair to say that Morrison's will not close down without our custom, but it’s also a good bet that we are not the only customers they will get this week, who normally use their main competitor in Harrogate. So, as a former supermarket manager I would have built this week up to a crescendo. The staff would be under no uncertain terms, that this is a fantastic opportunity to shout about Morrison's. To tell everyone how good they are. To make people like me question why I don’t go there every week.

Bearing all this in mind, then, allow me to transcript the encounter Mrs B had today, with a lady who was on the lottery kiosk.

Mrs B: “Hi, I’d like the lottery, please. Here is my completed ticket.”

<tap tap tap>

Lady: “Four.”

Mrs B: “Four what?”

Now slightly sarcastic lady “Four pounds.”

Increasingly agitated Mrs B: “Four pounds please.”

And that’s it. The very first assistant we came across was a rude, miserable old grump. No manners. No attempt at any. It’s all over. Morrison's have lost an opportunity to obtain approximately £3,000 of custom over the next twelve months. And, I’ve just told you all how crap I think they are. Remember, I’ve worked in customer service roles for years, much of this in supermarkets. I’ve made errors, but I’m passionate about service. That’s why I get so angry when people just can’t be goosed with even the basic niceties.

So, the moral of this story is, the one time you screw up customer service – and I only mean basic stuff here, like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ - is the one time it could be important. And yes, I’m sending a copy of this to the top dogs at Morrison's. You’ve got three days left to make your new customers want to come back. It’s up to you.

Enjoy the show!