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Credit where it’s due – do you praise good customer service?

It’s easy enough to fire an angry email at a company when they’ve given you shoddy service. But do you give them praise too? After praising a great company this week, I’ve resolved to give more credit where it’s due.

Before I worked for Which? I was rubbish at complaining if I got poor service. I got shy and was nervous to speak out, not wanting to offend someone or get them in trouble for what could just be a mistake. But now I’m here I recognise the importance of giving companies feedback. After all, any company worth its salt would want to know if it was doing something wrong.

But do you give praise as well? Would you go out of your way to tell a company they’d done a good job?

One of my resolutions is to start giving a bit of credit where it’s due. I’m often so busy that when someone’s done something nice, a rushed ‘thanks’ is all they get. So, from now on, I’m going to try and make sure my compliments are as loud as my complaints.

Cracking couriers

The other day I sent an email to a courier company that could almost be described as a love letter. I usually get frustrated with courier companies, especially with their notes telling me my package will languish in a distribution centre 10 miles away unless I take time off work to wait in for it.

But on this occasion the company were friendly, accommodating, and willing to redeliver on a Saturday. ‘Not in on Saturday? No problem,’ they said – ‘we’ll leave it with one of your neighbours.’ What’s more, they were willing to arrange all of this by email so I didn’t have to phone them on an 0845 or 0870 number to sort it all out.

I sent them an email thanking them for their service and letting them know why I was so pleased. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling, which almost made up for the grumpy feeling I’d had the week before when I had to complain to a gardening contractor who mowed down my flowerbeds.

Is good service expected?

But surely they’re just doing their jobs, right? Why should we praise companies who are being paid for providing us a service? Well, fair point – I don’t spend all my time sending emails to Tesco because they sold me a lunchtime sandwich, I’ll only do it for those that go above and beyond. And I think it can make a real difference to the people working for the company.

I noticed the other day when we released the results of our ‘top shops survey’ that some customers chipped in to congratulate the winner – Lush. One customer saw the results and tweeted that Lush’s win was ‘a sure thing with such great staff.’ The customer comment makes little difference in the grand scheme of things, but no doubt will have made their staff happy.

In some cases, staff can even get awards if you praise their customer service. I used to get wine delivered from Virgin Wines, who wrote on the case ‘tell us if your driver did a good job today – there might be something in it for them!’ I phoned the attached number to tell them the driver was good, partly out of curiosity to see what happened. The customer service person on the phone didn’t tell me what would happen, but I hope that somewhere a driver got a nice gift, or a small boost in their monthly pay packet.

So, do you praise companies when you think they’ve done a good job? Or do you generally only go through the hassle of contacting someone when you need to make a complaint?

Do you give feedback to companies?

Yes, both positive and negative (71%, 109 Votes)

No, I don't give feedback (23%, 35 Votes)

Yes, but only if it's negative (5%, 7 Votes)

Yes, but only if it's positive (2%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

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I believe that it is important to be complimentary where appropriate and courteous even when making a complaint. Some people who are accustomed to verbal abuse really appreciate this approach.

I can probably say positive things about customer service in Tesco, but that might take time to think of examples. 🙂

mywinesupermarket says:
23 May 2012

I think you should give positive feedback and negative feedback. Its important that compaines know where they are going right or wrong !!

I do enjoy giving positive feedback, but I think the shame of it is, companies let me down so much more often than they make me happy. I hope that doesn’t sound too cynical!

It’s as you say Nikki, I only feel compelled to compliment a company if they’ve gone ‘above and beyond’, even just a little bit. So if Amazon delivers my package the next day when I’ve paid for next-day delivery, that’s the least I expect. But when the owner of my local kebab shop puts me in an amazing mood every time I visit by being polite, super-friendly and always chucking in a free potato wedge or two, he deserves my loyal custom. Now I won’t go anywhere else!

As a serial complainer, I have a rule of thumb that for every email of complaint I send, I try to send one of praise. There are some great staff members out there and we really should praise them when they go the extra mile.

The freezing cold Costa coffee kiosk on platform 1 at Doncaster Station springs to mind – I’ve had consistently excellent service there and sent an email to Costa. From their response they seemed genuinely grateful to receive positive feedback – I hope it cascaded down to the lady concerned (together with a bonus if there’s any justice!). I’ve had similarly positive reactions from Pret, Starbucks and Pod when I’ve sent feedback.

Anything that reinforces great service has to be a good thing. In my recent (negative) experience, other companies, most notably Next, Peacocks, Marks & Spencer and Caffe Nero, could learn a thing or two about customer service from their competitors.

There, you see, I’ve maintained my 1:1 moan/praise ratio.

Phillip says:
6 March 2015

Get Qualified gets my yes since we talk of praising. I like to commend Get Qualified Australia. RPL from GQ is very clearly stated that i do not need a second explanation. They always set expectations and often exceed it. They are never late and are very considerate even if you get late paying their fees. I could not wait for the next time I will be processing something with them. I recommend GQ Australia for people who want to see the kangaroos. Many companies are interested in my CV because of the company that assisted me with RPL.