Monday, July 26, 2010

Customer Service - Is it THAT important?

I do find I ask this question a lot - actually, it's rhetorical for me because I completely believe that it's one of the most important aspects of any business but, most especially, for a business trying to keep afloat during a recession.

I was pondering this question today and, as I go about trying to organise things for my holidays, I found a perfect example of really bad customer service - so bad, I had to Tweet about it!

I'd been having a discussion with my husband as to how we should get to the airport - as my Dad is going with us, a coach was out of the question (he's 78) so we decided we'd get a taxi.  Great.  We happened to hear an ad on the radio for a cab company who offered discounts for each journey so I thought I'd give them a call.

I'm ringing and get put on hold immediately - ok fine, I'm thinking they're hugely busy, probably a good sign.  Then the call gets answered.

Me:  Hi, I was calling to see how much the taxi fare from my house (location named of course, I'm not that bad that I'd assume she'd know!) to the airport would be please?
Girl: It is whatever it is with a discount
Me: Emmm, ok but I don't know what it is even with a discount so could you possibly tell me?
Girl: *Sighs* Whatever the taxi meter says it is minus the discount (said in a way that clearly told me she thought I might need assistance to get through life).
Me: Emmm, ok then, thank you so much for your help.

Two seconds with Mr Google, and I found the taxi rate (huge!) and then got my calculator and worked out what 25% off would be (still huge).  Ok so you could say, well why didn't you Google that in the first place then? Because I wasn't aware that the company I'd like to purchase a service from wouldn't be able to quote me for the service they provide would be my answer.  I was left feeling like an idiot, like I'd wasted her time (and mine) and that I was a complete inconvenience.

Needless to say, I didn't book that taxi.

The whole episode got me thinking of examples of good service then which was easy to come up with.  One of my suppliers, Helen, is an excellent example - when you place an order with her, she responds back in less time that it can take to make a cup of tea, asking if everything was ok, telling you when she'll package up the order, when it'll be sent and when I can expect it to arrive.  Then she'll email to say it's sent off and always says to check back with her if there are any problems.  If I have a query on any of her products, she's always available to ask any questions or help in anyway.  Her products are second to none (which is why I use her as a Soaperstar supplier) too!

I find it incredible that, in these recessionary times, one company can be so unconcerned with what their customers think or what experience their customer has, one would have thought that they'd fall over themselves to gain new customers.

At Soaperstar, we are firmly of the opionion that our customers are our priority - in everything we do, we put the customers first ... so we buy the best quality ingredients, we comply with all current legislation, we follow good working practices, we test and research all our products until we're completely happy with them, we acknowledge receipt of orders and keep in contact with customers to tell them about delivery times, we're fully available on our site, email, Facebook and Twitter and communciate with and respond to our customers on a daily basis.  For us, there is no other way of running our business - nothing less is acceptable.

So thanks, taxi company, but no thanks - today is a lesson learned ... to know that our customer service is a priority to us and that we're always trying to improve, every way we can.


  1. Can't believe how rude they were!! I can't help be rude back when I get stupid answers like that. Customer service is so important, I'm going to make it top of my list with my new venture. Great blog post, like your new background too - or you've probably had it for ages, I've just not been on here for an age, sorry xxxxxx

  2. The customer representative was rude. Customer service is very important.

  3. I couldn't agree more! Customer service is SUCH a priority in my company. Thank you to the Taxi company for reminding us the importance of quality customer service and how it can make or break a sale!

  4. Thanks everyone!

    Lois - when I started up first, I thought "what do I expect as a customer" and then thought .. now what could I do to make it even better.. and that's what I provide. I like to think that a personal touch makes such a big difference.

    Tim - she was rude, you're damn right!

    Anne-Marie - I read your post recently about your experience in the supermarket and it was pretty similar? Though I have no staff to get them to write business plans! LOL


If you like Soaperstar's blog posts, please feel free to comment!! We'd love to hear from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...