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Customer service - examples to warn us

"Open" says the sign in big bright words on the end of the snack kiosk set amongst the sandhills in Vazon bay, Guernsey. What a relief - I had completed a course on Friday and was spending Saturday waiting for the boat home by doing a little sightseeing; fascinating to see all the French remains from Napoleonic times (carefully labelled and signposted) and the Germain remains from their occupation in the second world war (preserved, but without any interpretation signs) - and I was just dying for a cup of tea; most other places had been closed.

Coat on, deep breath, open car door. Step out and get nearly blow away but, heck, at this stage I'll walk a mile for a cuppa.

And - disappointment. When I reach the kiosk (half hidden by the sands), I discover it's not open; not only that, but the sign is painted on so that 24 hours a day, 7 days a week it sits there as a siren to travellers tempting them to abandon their cars and treck over. I found myself thinking "what a cheek" and "how disrespectful"; it wasn't as if the sign had been left out in error, but a snub on visitors - no doubt my time (and the time of countless other tourists) tracking over to the kiosk was far less valuable than the few minutes it would take for the kiosk owner to change his "open" sign for a "closed" one.

I'm proud of my country, and I'm proud of most of my fellow British. But just once in a while ... an incident like this. I've not been proud when overseas visitors have been ("accidentally") given older large 10p or 50p coins in change, or have been directed from office (a) to office (b) for a service because the woman at office (a) couldn't be bothered. Yet every cloud has a silver lining.

Two senior members of staff from a large and well known company had booked places on an Advanced Perl course to be given by a training outfit somewhere in the Home Counties. The course wasn't scheduled very often so it was really a bit late for one of them, and the other had had to reschedule his family holiday so that he could attend - such was there need for the course. Hotels booked, and the morning of the course they get up early and travel into London on one side, back out on the other to the venue ... arriving at a quiet looking building by taxi from the nearest station. In they walk, to find the place manned by a single receptionist. "Oh - didn't they let you know - the course has been cancelled" she said.

The organisation for whom these two senior staff still work is now an excellent customer of ours; after their disappointment, one of them recalled a Learning to Program in Perl course I had presented to him before we were running them under the "Well House Consultants" banner, and he "Googled" me. Yes, we did (and continue to) offer advanced Perl courses - both for users who are writing large Perl projects and for those who are more concerned with Perl on Internet and Intranet web site.

We have a luxury here at Well House Consultants - the luxury of having a strong enough business that we CAN afford to run courses even if there are very few people booked. Indeed - once your booking is confirmed only the most extreme of circumstances would force a cancellation and that would NOT be due to a lack on numbers. If necessary, we run "one on one". We also have the luxury of a team of thoughtful, mature staff who have been in your shoes as a customer and know how to handle things to ensure that slip-ups are very, very rare and positively solved.

(written 2005-01-30, updated 2012-11-04)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G501 - Well House Consultants - Customer Service
  [4232] Not wanted here - hotel guests who will not be happy - (2013-12-30)
  [4078] Train works for me! - (2013-05-02)
  [4077] Palty or Parliamentary? - (2013-04-30)
  [3835] The Information age - not yet truly with us? - (2012-08-12)
  [3808] Can you put names to faces? - (2012-07-19)
  [3378] New product - ensuring that supply matches demand - (2011-08-03)
  [3294] It's not just about the jam in the sandwich - (2011-05-19)
  [3271] The importance of feedback - (2011-04-30)
  [3103] Thank you - and Happy Christmas - (2010-12-24)
  [3073] Customer Service - the boundary - (2010-11-27)
  [2961] Initial handling of phone calls and walk in visitors - (2010-09-19)
  [2880] Getting in touch - Please allow me to see you when you are online - (2010-07-21)
  [2650] Getting a phone line changed ... - (2010-02-25)
  [2530] Taking a knock over Santa - (2009-12-08)
  [2258] Questions I have been asked on answering the phone - (2009-06-26)
  [2236] Alumni - revisiting and supporting the old University - (2009-06-13)
  [2124] Building down expectations - (2009-04-09)
  [2102] What do people think of our Apache httpd / Tomcat course? - (2009-03-24)
  [2049] Why Choose Well House Consultants for your course? - (2009-02-20)
  [2015] Service Excellence Awards - (2009-01-30)
  [1991] Rules for a King - (2009-01-13)
  [1985] Learning to program as a part of your job - (2009-01-10)
  [1835] 23:30 bookings and midnight checkins - (2008-10-12)
  [1637] Providing exceptional service - and carrying on doing so. - (2008-05-09)
  [1606] Sheep Shearers, Marathon Runners and Ocean Sailors - (2008-04-09)
  [1516] Pictures you can use - for free - from our library - (2008-01-23)
  [1446] An answer to a student asking 'Help' - (2007-11-27)
  [1434] Market survey - to learn, to prove a point, or to sell your product? - (2007-11-17)
  [1319] Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25)
  [1262] Keep in touch with PHP, Perl, Python and old friends too - (2007-07-09)
  [1046] Bounce, bounce, bounce - (2007-01-20)
  [1007] Friends and family - (2006-12-25)
  [966] CSL, KISS and RTFM - (2006-12-05)
  [961] Products that our customers want more of - (2006-12-03)
  [944] Just ******* Google it - (2006-11-25)
  [852] Eventful evening - a lesson in looking after contacts - (2006-09-02)
  [841] Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21)
  [725] Better communication - (2006-05-19)
  [717] A customer service company - (2006-05-11)
  [650] A person of few words - (2006-03-18)
  [628] Active Learning - (2006-02-28)
  [621] And the staff put the icing on the cake - (2006-02-23)
  [609] Been on a course, but still not got it? - (2006-02-16)
  [569] Instructions for bright people - (2006-01-19)
  [566] May all your screw-ups be big ones - (2006-01-16)
  [552] Keeping Customers Informed - (2006-01-02)
  [482] Different ways of selling - (2005-11-01)
  [440] Upgrade! - (2005-09-09)
  [393] Trainer answers phone - (2005-07-28)
  [350] Want to be one better - (2005-06-17)
  [327] How far should our support go - (2005-05-28)
  [265] Business practise, 2005 style - (2005-04-03)
  [233] Giving customers best value - (2005-03-02)
  [189] Tuesdays and Fridays - (2005-01-25)
  [150] Confession - (2004-12-13)
  [126] Feedback shows the tip of an iceberg - (2004-11-22)
  [91] On line every 24 hours - (2004-10-17)
  [72] On Customer Service - (2004-10-03)


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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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