OK, so the fact has been gleaned from 8 Out Of 10 Cats, the TV show hosted by Jimmy Carr, so its accuracy can be brought into question, nevertheless it grabbed my attention immediately, since (as many of you will know by now) bad customer service is a particular hate of mine.
Is bad customer service a British thing?
In this day and age, where there is competition everywhere, customer service is often the only difference between you and your competitors. Why, then, does it seem that us Brits are so bad at it?
I’m not what you’d call widely travelled, however I have been abroad to a few places and one thing strikes me wherever I go – the customer service usually far exceeds anything I receive here in the UK. Not to put too fine a point on it, we suck at it! How many times have you been served in a shop when the shopkeeper / sales assistant hasn’t even smiled, let alone make eye contact? How often have you felt like you were interrupting a conversation between the people behind the till? It’s unbelievable!
My latest purchase…
This feeling of disbelief has been accentuated this last week, since I’m in the process of buying a new car. The difference in the level of customer service I am experiencing now, having signed the paperwork and paid the deposit (but still awaiting delivery) is so far removed from that which I received when I was merely a prospect, let me tell you. Sticking to promised call backs about the anticipated delivery date seem a concept too far for the dealer! In fact, during my last conversation, when I actually got to speak to the salesperson, I was told that he had to go as he was “busy dealing with other customers!”
Now, it takes a lot to get me to the top of my tree. Nevertheless, I’m sure you can visualise me climbing at a fair pace right now – let’s just say I’m way past the trunk and grasping at the upper leaves!! It simply beggars belief.
Are these people not trained in customer service?
Is there no competition in the automotive industry?
Is the economy so much back on track that they can afford not to consider client retention or customer satisfaction?
Considering my options?
Now, I can hear some of you thinking “why don’t you get your money back and go somewhere else?” Well I have considered that, but this isn’t the first car I’ve bought. I’ve owned several different makes and I am yet to be impressed by any one of the car dealers I have visited (I quite like this model too, so, as many of us do, I’ll put up with it so I can get my car).
Is it, therefore, an issue within this particular industry? Would a car dealer that treats its customers superbly well “clean up”, so to speak? I appreciate that the car’s looks, performance and price play probably the largest part in someone’s purchase decision (as they have influenced mine), since this is one of the most major purchases that most of us make in life. Nevertheless, just think; how does this example transpose into your business? I know it’s made me consider my business and thankfully, the feedback our clients give us continues to be positive, particularly with regard to the service we provide.
And the winner is…
So, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, thank you for giving me the statistic as well as the inspiration for this week’s blog. Thank you also for focusing my mind on what is a basic, yet oft too easily forgotten aspect of the customer experience. I shall continue to strive to out-perform my competitors by delivering high standards of customer service (as well as by data quality), after all, I believe it’s the way to get ahead and make sure I am the winner…
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