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What does good customer service look like to you?

good customer service

Nearly eight in ten of you think it’s important to feel valued as a customer, according to Which? research. But what is it that makes you return to your favourite brands time and again?

I like to buy my fruit and veg from a market stall. One particular market stall outside a pub near where I live. It’s slightly further away from home than the other fruit and veg stall I could buy from and, I suspect, slightly more expensive, too.

But I go there every Saturday morning I can. Why? The stallholders are lovely, they smile, and they care about their produce. A seller on the other stall was rude to me. Once. About two years ago, so I avoid it. It’s that simple.

I’m definitely not the only one so swayed by good, or poor, customer service.

According to our survey, almost three quarters (74%) of those polled will tell friends and family about great customer service. Even more (82%) will tell their friends and family about a poor experience.

Nearly nine in ten (87%) go as far as saying that bad customer service puts them off using a brand again.

Sensational service

Outstanding customer service certainly isn’t limited to local market stalls or small stores. There are plenty of big brands getting it right for their customers, as our best big brands for customer service results show.

A happy customer of a major high street retailer described how easy interaction with the brand is: ‘The website functioned well and the transaction was easy. I have dealt with the shops in the past and found them extremely helpful and so was well disposed to them.’

Someone else told us their bank is ‘efficient, keeps in touch, answers questions quickly, puts things right if they go wrong, uses simple language.’

Another retail customer told us a brand ‘went out of its way to accommodate our needs. Explained things in detail and was extremely pleasant.’

Do these sound familiar to you? Or have brands gone above and beyond for you in a more unusual way?

What’s most important about customer service?

Friendly and helpful staff are the most important things you value in good customer service. These attributes can make you feel valued as a customer yourself, as I do when the market stall holder takes a split second to smile as they hand me whatever fruit I’ve finally settled on.

Is it just getting the simple things right that makes good customer service, and keeps you loyal? Or is it when brands go above and beyond what you expect? Do you have any great examples of customer service you’ve experienced, and what are brands doing to keep your custom?

When you’ve experienced great customer service, who do you tell about it? (multiple choice)

Friends/wider family (33%, 121 Votes)

Partner/immediate family only (22%, 83 Votes)

Employee of the brand/shop, etc (18%, 66 Votes)

The brand in another way (e.g. online feedback, email store manager, etc) (18%, 66 Votes)

Tweet about it/write on social media (6%, 24 Votes)

Nobody (2%, 6 Votes)

Other (1%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 176

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“Almost three quarters (74%) of those polled will tell friends and family about great customer service, a Which? survey of revealed 3,690 people found.”

Call the sub-editors and tell them how off-putting it is for readers to see unchecked articles. : )

Thanks, Patrick – will change that now.

And an example of how to kill customer loyalty:

Reach into people’s homes and turn a working smart television into a very primitive one channel device.

Yesss… Haven’t switched our Sammy on today.

The companies that I keep going back to and recommend to friends are small local ones. I have used the same garage for years to carry out MOTs and some repairs, and now they service my car. Unlike many garages, they are very honest.

I use three printers to produce booklets, leaflets, posters and banners for a couple of charities. They are all reliable and if the job is urgent, they will do their best to oblige.

Unfortunately, small businesses can be unreliable too, for a variety of reasons. In the last year I have had several problems thanks to poor communication and tradesmen who cannot help are up to their eyes in other work.

With larger companies, I expect good service. Many let themselves down by not publishing an email address for customer service and expecting customers to use a web form that does not make it easy to keep a copy of communication. There is a growing number of companies that encourage use of online chat rather than simple phone calls. Maybe that suits some, but not me.

I had considerable problems with repeated failure of a bulky items collection by the council and must have spoken to about six people, yet no-one called me back or offered an explanation for the problem. Eventually I spoke to someone who investigated the problem and he called me back with a full explanation the next day. People who put themselves out to investigate and resolve problems deserve commendation, but I suspect that the systems in place are largely responsible for customers having to speak to several people about the same problem.

Jane Prowse says:
27 August 2017

Recently bought a new summer house, and a few weeks later spotted a crack in one window. I emailed the firm (Sheds Direct from Broadclyst) hoping the pane would be replaced, but expecting to be told no. We were out later that day and the next day there was no crack in the window…we wondered if we had mistaken it (!) so I hastily mailed an apology. The following day we had a phone call from the firm to say they had got the first email and then contacted chaps who were working in the area and they had popped round and fixed it whilst we were out !! Now that is what I call service and I have been singing their praises to anyone who will listen.

Really disappointed in John Lewis ordered a tumble dryer 2 weeks ago for delivery today Rang them to see when its coming and told its out of stock. They couldn’t even be bothered to email and tell me. I lost a days work and now have to wait for another delivery Tried complaining they are not interested 0/10 for customer service

Capita selected by John Lewis

Capita has been selected by ( 2014) John Lewis to provide its online contact centre. Under the agreement, which is worth £93.5m over five years, Capita will support John Lewis’ online growth strategy.

Capita will deliver a digital service, built around John Lewis’ customers, that integrates with the full range of customer contact channels.

Capita plc Chief Executive, Andy Parker, said: “The John Lewis brand is synonymous with excellent customer service and brand loyalty. It is only natural that the company wants to use the latest technology and service design methods to deliver an enhanced experience to its customers, and make it even easier for them to engage with the brand. Capita has extensive experience of working with household names from across the private sector, including major retailers. We appreciate the importance of becoming fully immersed in a company’s brand values to ensure that customer experience is at the heart of service delivery.”

Might be relevant?

I was reminded at the weekend about an experience I had a little while ago. I was at a restaurant and I had this AMAZING Macaroni Cheese. I was talking to my friend about it and the waiter overheard. The waiter came over about a minute later with the recipe for me.

I’ve not made it yet but I will let you know if it lives up to the restaurant’s version…