Forty – Love…Who Cares?

Posted on February 22, 2011 by


I was speaking to someone the other day about customer service and asked them what should have been a very simple question and they really struggled to answer it;

When was the last time you received truly great customer service?

Cue pregnant pause…..

So they wracked their brains to drum up the last time they were received half decent service….

Saddest thing for me is that most of what constitutes great service is often behaviorally based and doesn’t actually cost that much extra, apart from some training in customer service skills perhaps, a little imagination and a small investment.

(Note to non-complacent self – as a business we need to do LOTS more of this, RIGHT NOW!)

All of this was perfectly summed up on a TV programme I recently watched about customer service standards in Estate Agents where the very proud owner of the business stated that they trained all their staff in high standards of customer care…for an hour.

The average employee probably spends more time having cigarette breaks in a week…

Such a simple message really:

In these tough economic times, where businesses are fighting to survive and scrape a living, surely you will have a much better chance if you actually look after your customers….and do it well. Scary thing is you probably don’t need to be that great to be comparatively brilliant in relation to your competitors.

As an example, take The Mint Hotel in Manchester (formerly City Inn). I am a semi regular guest and certainly not their best spending customer for sure. But almost every time I stay, I get a hand written card saying “Welcome back Mr Urquhart, we hope you enjoy your stay” signed by the Hotel Manager or Deputy and accompanied by a bowl of fresh fruit and some bottled water. (If they are clever they probably recycle the card but hopefully not the fruit!)

They also sent me two nice bottles of wine to commemorate my 25th stay a year or so ago. Actual cost to them is probably less than £5 per stay. For their comparatively small re-investment in me, the valued customer, they get a regular, highly committed advocate who more than covers their investment every time he stays and also highly recommends their hotel whenever he can. And even in a public forum like this no less!

(Look up Purple Cow or Google “Seth Godin Purple Cow Sneezers”. You wont be disappointed, trust me.)

So whats this to do with Tennis?

Simple. In the modern era, tennis tournaments are often won by the person with the best service. It’s the same in business….game, set and match. 🙂

Campbell Urquhart
Managing Director
The Urquhart Partnership

Posted in: Business Ideas