Is The Customer Always Right? - Why Exceptional Customer Service Is Important*

Great Britain was once a nation which both prided itself on and was also famed for its customer service standards, as well as other things. Having worked in customer facing roles (as most of us have) I have always been a fan of the old cliché that 'the customer is always right'. Actually a motto of mine which I probably overuse is “manners maketh man” (as in mankind), I guess to bring the slightly dated and slightly sexist quote into the 21st century I should perhaps say “manners maketh HU mankind. And I think being raised to have good manners really enabled me to enjoy interacting with customers and on the flipside as a customer, I can instantly recognise when somebody is putting in the effort to give good customer service rather than just the standard.

We all go through so many such transactions in our lifetimes that few will be worthy of note, but it doesn't take much to keep me happy, if i'm in my corner shop I will be quite happy with a cordial greeting and a thank you when I hand over payment. Manners cost nothing after all. CCSN recently conducted a survey of over 600 people and found that 25% of respondents stated that a lack of accessibility was their main customer service pet peeve. So it seems only sensible to recommend CCSN to anybody who may need the customer service contact number of any well known company in the UK, expediting the process of trying to find the right email address of fax number or local office number, it really is a big help. I used it when I was failing in my search to reach the local office of my insurance provider.

I can recall one time when I received excellent customer service. It was when I was in Luxor, Egypt in the summer of 2009. It was my first time on the African continent and I vividly recall the swelteringly blistering heat as temperatures soared above 55 degrees Celsius in the shade. In such heat even the most ardent of holiday shoppers might refrain and choose instead to sip another cocktail in the pool-bar rather than to go traipsing around the shops. However, the time comes, preferably before all one's spends run out when you have to buy gifts for people back home.

And so reluctantly I headed out on such a mission. I remember walking into a shop which sold all manner of traditional Egyptian goods such as Egyptian cotton, various kinds of papyrus scrolls and eclectic collection of trinkets relating to King Tut, Rameses 'The Great' and the awe inspiring history of the place. As I walked in through the door I could instantly feel the blast of air conditioning which at that moment would have probably qualified this shop as having the very best in customer service and facilities. Alas, as I took a few more steps into this oasis of cool nirvana I was greeted in perfectly spoken English by a man with a smile, we exchanged pleasantries and I said that I was just having a browse, however his wife suddenly appeared from the back room of the shop holding a leather chair a bit like a puffet but slightly higher and planted it down in the very centre of the shop, the man then followed with a pot of tea. I then was invited to sit down and drink my free cup of tea while he and his lovely wife both went and picked out anything I pointed at. It was really an amazing case of how far some people can and will go into making sure that the customer has a positive experience. It is even more touching when one considers the severe and dire living standards they have to endure, barely making enough to feed themselves and their families yet humble, kind, generous and above all, genuine people. It was a beautiful insight into a side of Egyptian and African culture which you don't really hear about or read about in books.

As an aside, some of you may be wondering why I might be drinking hot tea on a hot day when it seems obvious to have a cold drink, however, as I learned there: When the temperature is so high the Egyptians drink tea as this actually makes the body produce more sweat which cools you for longer. 

Below is an interesting infographic courtesy of CCSN.

Do you have your own customer service story to tell? Join in the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag, #AtYourService.

*Written by Michael David

1 comment :

  1. That level of service reminds me when I went Turkey last year.

    I entered a sweet shop to buy some Baklava's when a Syrian owner welcomed me and my friends with a big smile.

    He listened attentively to what we needed even though his English wasn't the best.

    One of his workers then walks out with a large tray in his hands consisting of tea and some delicacies.

    What stood out for me the most was what the owner said in Arabic before he offered the treats to us.
    'My shop is your shop'

    To this date I don't think I've ever felt more welcome in a shop.


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