How fortunate - the odd remaining space at the Garden centre appeared to be one right outside the main door - as we had come to collect a bulky item. But as we pulled into it, we noticed it said "reserved for director". Hmm - a sign points towards the overflow car park and we head off down that tarmaced road that turns into a stony, dusty track.
"Staff car park ONLY" says that opening on the right, with lines of cars behind it - but we carry on along the track to a more remote spot which is clearly in regular use, judging by the one-way-only back gate that's provided (one of those dreadful enclosed turnstiles to make SURE it's only used for in not out) to get into the back of the garden centre.
"Customer Service" says the counter just behind the pay desks at the Garden Centre, and having come along to collect that bulky item - a composting cone which had been ordered and paid for on line, that was the natural desk to go to.
"Oh no - you have to go to reception for that" says the young lady on the counter. And upon further quizzing her, we learn where we can find the reception desk. "Over there ...", pointing up a passageway.
The first unlabelled desk up the passageway is guarded by a formidable lady who tells us that it's NOT reception (I think it was the garden furniture sales desk) as so we explore onwards.
"Is this reception?" I ask the kindly looking lady as the desk a few yards from the main entrance, and I am assured that it is. And Yay! we're there. "We have come to collect this cone" I say handing her the sheet of paper. "You need to go to Customer Service"
she tells us ...
That's not the end of the story either, but I think I've said enough to make my point!
And I look at such things and try to learn from them for our own customer facing business. A couple of our mantra, confirmed by the garden centre story ...
• Customer parking is a priority over staff parking
• If a customer asks ANY member of staff, that member of staff should take care of the customer him/herself, or if passing they need to pass the customer on to a more appropriate team member they should do so personally.
And on that basis, while I was writing this short article, I have given assistance in using the coffee machine, checked out two guests, and given directions to the Bowerhill
industrial area of Melksham, to which we are the nearest hotel
P.S. We got our composting cone after dealing with five more people. I wonder if it would have been easier at any of the other garden centres - perhaps we should try one of them next time? (written 2008-06-10)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesM401 - Well House Manor - Seeing how others do it 
Seventh stay away this year - and it's still only February! - (2015-02-25) 
A long and disappointing evening - (2014-12-30) 
Taking my life in my hands in Swansea - (2014-12-11) 
Are administration / review charges on hotel guests acceptable? - (2014-11-20) 
Making a personal gain from a more expensive business hotel stay - (2014-04-02) 
It always happens to me when I'm in Borehamwood! - (2014-03-06) 
Setting and publishing your hours to suit your customer base - (2013-09-18) 
What might you find at a tiny bed and breakfast? - (2013-06-03) 
More things to make sure that we do NOT do ... - (2013-05-18) 
A reminder of why we opened Well House Manor for our customers - (2013-05-17) 
Pushing down the advertised price, pushing up the total price charged. - (2013-05-08) 
The highs and lows of customer service - Cheltenham - (2013-04-03) 
Being an amateur hotel inspector helps me run a professional hotel - (2013-01-14) 
Comparing four VERY different places to stay - (2013-01-11) 
National TV - Melksham - 9th January 2013, Pre-alert. - (2012-12-27) 
The Xxxxx Guest House in Xxxxxxxxxxx - my stay reviewed - (2012-10-20) 
Should hotel staff sit on the toilet in the customer bedrooms? - (2012-07-02) 
Some traps it's so easy to fall into in designing your web site - (2012-06-23) 
Eyes Wide Open - (2012-06-06) 
Well House Manor hotel, Melksham - recommended to you by our customers - (2011-07-23) 
Honesty and a friendly welcome goes a long way - (2011-06-25) 
Longhope Hotel - (2010-11-16) 
Feeding the Grockles - (2010-08-09) 
Twenty Questions - (2010-07-24) 
Monday night, Tuesday night - (2009-11-13) 
Not your cup of tea? - (2009-10-08) 
Sanity checking the price, and selling up to increase income - (2009-09-21) 
Floor to ceiling - (2009-07-30) 
A new place in pictures - (2009-07-28) 
Call in the professionals! - (2009-04-12) 
Hire Car, from Atlanta Airport - (2009-03-27) 
Launch of Melksham Food and Drink Festival - (2009-01-24) 
Quietly putting prices up - (2008-12-02) 
Lindors Hotel, near St. Briavels, Wye Valley - (2008-08-18) 
Comparing hotels - as a guest and from the proprietors view - (2008-04-01) 
New bathing idea for hotels from Hotelympia - (2008-02-20) 
Just one thing let the service down - but that is my memory - (2008-01-31) 
The wrong way to put up prices - (2007-12-05) 
From Sunday to Monday, from Melksham to the Balkans - (2007-12-03) 
The little gestures that can really count - (2007-10-27) 
Away or home - which do I prefer? - (2007-10-25) 
Maidenhead Coffee Challenge - (2007-10-02) 
Crystal Ball - How long do I need to be online? - (2007-09-18) 
Match the Bedroom to the Hotel - (2007-09-17) 
Wireless Internet Access at hotels - an update and some pitfalls - (2007-09-12) 
Kasteel Elsloo - Michelin rated hotel. - (2007-09-05) 
Plastic or China - (2007-08-12) 
Work and play at Well House Manor - Football and Shell Shortcuts - (2007-08-02) 
Arrival and Departure experiences - another hotel - (2007-05-26) 
The Psyche is all wrong. - (2007-02-24) 
The Wheatsheaf 2, The Bell 0 - (2007-01-09) 
Well House Manor and Beechfield House, Hotels, Melksham - (2006-12-29) 
CSL, KISS and RTFM - (2006-12-05) 
New Tape Librarian - (2006-05-28) 
Room for Octopuses - (2006-05-08) 
Extremes costs of getting on line - (2006-04-25) 
The on line booking experience - (2006-04-21) 
If its Sunday, it must be the Norland - (2006-02-23) 
Crazy Day-sies - (2005-12-02) 
Differing tastes - (2004-08-17)
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