Customer Service has always been an area of business that intrigues us, frustrates us and done properly can inspire us.., or at the very least it can make you smile for a while.

But does it really matter to you? Does the service you receive actually make you spend more time, and money, with any given company or organisation.

According to statistics it does. These organisations achieve high rating according to the Institute of Customer Service.

The 10 highest scoring organisations and services are:

  1. Amazon (92)
  2. Marks & Spencer (food) (87)
  3. Ambulance Service (87)
  4. First Direct (86)
  5. John Lewis (86)
  6. Fire Service (86)
  7. Virgin Holidays (85)
  8. SAGA Holidays (85)
  9. Boots (85)
  10. Marks & Spencer (85)

Look familiar? That’s because they are successful.

According to the latest (May 2011) American Express Global Customer Service

78% of customer have thrown in the towel and gone elsewhere due to poor service

When was the last time someone made you smile, was genuinely helpful and interested in you as a customer?

And 73% of customers state they have spent more money as a result of good service (

Now that’s just the stats.

Good service is about feelings. Remember the last time a shop assistant made you smile? or the last time a sales person made your day? That’s creating a feeling. A moment of magic as Shep Hyken would put it.

The experience of the customer can be very different in a very diverse market place.

For instance, we recently organised a national corporate event at a local Hilton Hotel. The attention to detail and the attention to us from the staff is second to none. Anything we need or ask for is taken care of straightaway and done in style. We now hold our bi-annual conference there without a second thought. What makes is for us, yes the excellent facilities and the atmosphere, but what really seals the deal is knowing we will be taken care of and the confidence in the hotel team to help us make our event special to all our guests.How far removed could a local butchers be from a hotel business. It’s still about the feeling. Shopping there I know the family business is run well, there’s always cheerful banter with each generation of butcher. It’s a learned family trait in talking to your customers. Of course I go back because the products are great, but I know that when I recommend my friends should go, they will be pleasantly surprised by the how well they are greeted and served.

To many customer service comes completely natural, to some it needs a little more inspiration and guidance. If everyone was naturally good at it, you wouldn’t notice when someone gets it badly wrong. Many of us need a help along the way, after all some people take to swimming in minutes, while some need water wings and a little longer. You wouldn’t leave them bobbing around without giving them a few pointers would you? (maybe for a little while, but then the fun wears off and you need to get them moving!) Same goes for Customer Service Skills. If you don’t show people how to paddle they won’t be able to swim upstream so well. Teach them the basics and they will forge ahead. Leave them bobbing around and they’ll sink (or your customers will).

Remember training is not only about learning new techniques and fancy acronyms, it is also about motivation and inspiration towards improving performance.

As the great Jan Carlzon said “improve 100 things by 1%”

John Hallam




About bloginfinitetraining

Director of Infinite Training Formerly of South Yorkshire Police in a supervisory and training role

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