Sometimes I think it’s best to leave reviewing a good customer experience for a few weeks to see if it stays with you for a period of time. The test of a superior service is that when you think back to the experience you get the same positive emotional reaction that you got the first time. So that – combined with a busy schedule recently – is my excuse for not posting an immediately positive reaction to the Novotel in Ipswich.
Driving down the A1 from a holiday in Yorkshire the other week we were in need of a coffee so pulled in at Grantham North service area. Years of UK driving have lowered my expectations of service stations considerably but Sunday afternoon at Grantham North set the bar even lower. However, this is a superior service post so read on…
Recently I spent an evening at the theatre seeing Yazmina Reza’s new play God of Carnage. It’s got an excellent cast (perhaps the only time you can see DI Rebus, Voldemort and Debbie Archer in the same bill) and only detains you for about 95 minutes. Its central, rather bleak premise sparked thoughts about the conditions under which superior service flourishes.
The New Year is typically the time when we resolve to give something up (looking at the date of the last post I wondered if I had temporarily given up blogging!) but for some businesses it’s time to think about making customers form a habit – with you.
I was struck by this thought recently
Smiling can offer instant benefits – as a recent bout of martial arts demonstrated. And although front line service staff generally don’t need to be black belts, an ability to smile is a great asset.
I returned to my Saturday-morning karate class this weekend after a 5-week absence
Superior customer service is largely about knowing what the basic elements of good service are – and delivering them consistently and well. A couple of examples from last week’s family holiday in Yorkshire illustrate how making people feel welcome sets the right tone for a good customer experience.
I can’t hear the expression ‘the gift of feedback’ without hearing a slightly sarcastic tone of voice probably because I have heard it used in that fashion to refer to feedback that’s un-diplomatic, too blunt or just plain rude. However, for any organisation committed to superior customer service, encouraging and dealing effectively with feedback is one of the most powerful things to drive improvement. I’m continuing to provide feedback to organisations that I deal with and will share the best examples on this blog. Here’s one that illustrates some good practice.
At the risk of turning this blog into a restaurant column, John Maeda’s excellent simplicity blog features an interesting item on his visit to a restaurant where his white table napkin was removed and replaced with a black one. Maeda treats this as an example of trust – by demonstrating an attention to detail.
Two restaurant visits in the space of a week reinforced my view that it’s getting the basics right that distinguishes a superior service from a purely functional one.
Back in August we were celebrating my eldest son’s birthday and arranged a couple of meals. The first was at the acclaimed South London restaurant Chez Bruce and the second was at Locale, an Italian restaurant near the London Eye. These are two very different restaurants: