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Customer Service - the boundary

In our businesses, the customer is king; without the customer we wouldn't be where we are today, and a happy and smiling face should always be presented, and we should always do our very best to provide what the customer wants. Ian walked in to Well House Manor for the first time yesterday, and was met with a cheerful and welcoming "hello" from Rachel. We had a positive and useful half hour together, and Ian remarked on how at home he felt (and what a lovely place we have) ... and at the same time came up with a couple of ideas and tips to help make the housekeeping tasks slightly easier. For Ian has run a large restaurant, and a hotel too, and is now a mentor with Swindon College, with whom Rachel is studying for an apprenticeship, based with us. So Ian's views and inputs are welcomed - and some of those inputs will be constructive criticisms telling Rachel (who will then tell us) where we could make adjustments to make things even better. Of course, Well House Manor is a small hotel - so some things that apply at the 21 room hotel that Ian's most familiar with will not apply, or may be very altered, with us.

But ... the conventional wisdom of "the customer is King" should have its limits. There gets to be a point where the supplier of goods or a service has to turn around and say "no, sorry, can't do that".

An email the other day inquired about two courses in the New Year, and looked to be a potentially excellent booking. Questions asked were answered, and an amendment offered to meet one specific need. A quotation was sent out ... and we waited to hear back. And what we heard was "yes - I like that; can you send me a new quotation that I can submit, though, describing the courses as follows ..." and the description requested didn't describe the product we offer. That's the point at which we, as a potential supplier, have to turn around to our potential customer and say "no - sorry - no can do ...".

We can (and should, and will) go along with customer requests where we can provide a good product, in our mainstream, even if it involves tuning what we have. But we can (and do) draw a firm line if we're asked for something that we can't properly provide as it's too far outside our norm, or if we're asked to describe our product in a misleading way, or provide it in a way which would require us to break the law. Fortunately, the requests we get which are borderline (or over the border) are few, and a polite explanation of the border and why it's there can often result in a solution that's acceptable to all parties - and is legal, decent and honest.

So - my "sorry - no can do ..." was followed up in the next paragraph with "but I understand where you're coming from. We can describe the course, accurately, as follows if you like ..." and I'm now fully hopeful that we're able to provide what our customer wants, within our mainstream activity, and most certainly within the actual and moral law. Successful conclusion for all.
(written 2010-11-27, updated 2010-12-04)

 
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)
  [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)
  [195] Customer service - examples to warn us - (2005-01-30)
  [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)

G502 - Well House Consultants - Business Practice
  [4293] Certification - (2014-09-15)
  [4107] Snog, Marry, Avoid - (2013-05-31)
  [3755] Cruising on the Mersey Ferry? - (2012-06-07)
  [3750] Matching opening hours to when customers can come in and buy - (2012-06-04)
  [3665] Will will smile? - (2012-03-22)
  [3613] Keeping Business Local. But is that realistic? - (2012-02-13)
  [3506] Cold call contacts - preference services and turning off spam sales approaches - (2011-11-03)
  [3333] Honesty and a friendly welcome goes a long way - (2011-06-25)
  [3157] A new monopoly on the ferry to Northern Ireland - (2011-02-04)
  [2966] Cheap Country Hotel in Melksham, Wiltshire? - (2010-09-21)
  [2936] The service that customers should receive - (2010-08-27)
  [2821] Chancellor George Osborne inspires Perl Program - (2010-06-22)
  [2788] Cost of Sales - (2010-06-01)
  [2598] An excuse for making a sales call - (2010-01-26)
  [2465] Melksham Town - asleep or awake? - (2009-10-21)
  [2331] Certification Revisted - Lua - (2009-08-09)
  [2283] Everyone is in the customer relations business - (2009-07-12)
  [2190] How you are (re)presented at an exhibition - (2009-05-19)
  [2187] Are we IITT (Institute of IT Training) members? - (2009-05-17)
  [2161] Get it right ... if it goes wrong, it takes so much effort to sort out! - (2009-05-08)
  [2126] Weeding out old phone numbers - (2009-04-11)
  [2122] Commission Creep - (2009-04-08)
  [2044] Please Trouble me - (2009-02-16)
  [1913] Alastair Darling helps make paperwork and confusion - (2008-11-30)
  [1855] Volunteer v Employee - a skewed balance? (FSB) - (2008-10-25)
  [1713] Ways to accept credit cards - or not! - (2008-07-19)
  [1626] Early May - a short chance to regroup and improve - (2008-05-01)
  [1485] Copyright and theft of images, bandwidth and members. - (2007-12-26)
  [1453] What makes our courses special? - (2007-12-02)
  [1394] Business to Business Networking - North and West Wilts / Melksham - (2007-10-17)
  [1373] New Month, New Quarter, New Laws - (2007-10-01)
  [1342] Google, wwmdirectory, Freshwater, ATP - new scam? - (2007-09-09)
  [1263] 0800 043 8225 - a new phone number for Well House - (2007-07-10)
  [1260] An inspirational business talk from one of our prospective MPs - (2007-07-06)
  [1243] Heavy duty hole punch - (2007-06-24)
  [1165] Extended Credit request - train in June and be paid in September - (2007-04-27)
  [1157] Speed Networking - a great evening and how we arranged it - (2007-04-21)
  [1133] B-2-B Networking, 20th April. Useful for YOUR business? - (2007-04-03)
  [1084] Writing terms and conditions for conferences and other events - (2007-02-17)
  [1057] Selling by phone and Skype - our policy - (2007-01-30)
  [906] A commitment we won't be making - (2006-10-27)
  [883] Age discrimination law - (2006-10-01)
  [869] UNABLE TO ATTEND - (2006-09-16)
  [849] Staff Meeting - (2006-08-30)
  [808] Sales call - (2006-07-19)
  [766] Discounts and approved supplier lists - (2006-06-17)
  [664] Ruby course - oops - it's not happening - (2006-04-01)
  [652] Morning Post - (2006-03-20)
  [626] Not just a pretty face to answer the phone. - (2006-02-26)
  [536] Cancellations and penalties - (2005-12-21)
  [491] Being atypical is typical - (2005-11-10)
  [487] On line course booking - credit card protection - (2005-11-06)
  [467] Tell them three times - (2005-10-17)
  [457] Do the work and take the risk - a PHP contract to avoid - (2005-10-06)
  [438] Fair system for travel and accommodation expenses - (2005-09-07)
  [399] simplicity hides real size - (2005-07-31)
  [321] Sales - the alternative close - (2005-05-23)
  [297] A reminder that the customer is King - (2005-05-01)
  [226] Growing our systems - (2005-02-24)
  [217] Use of time - (2005-02-16)
  [211] Look after your staff and they'll look after you. AOL. - (2005-02-12)
  [200] Tips for the top - (2005-02-03)
  [188] Pink elephant and appreciation - (2005-01-24)
  [180] Skunk works - (2005-01-17)
  [157] Automatic service upgrades - (2004-12-19)
  [137] Certification schemes - (2004-12-02)
  [129] Trawling our site to prevent student copying - (2004-11-24)
  [125] Staff theft - (2004-11-21)
  [121] Fair and Simple - (2004-11-17)
  [108] A typical morning - (2004-11-03)
  [95] Five red flags - (2004-10-21)
  [88] Getting the right level of trainer - (2004-10-14)
  [77] Telephone systems - (2004-10-07)
  [68] Get the strategy worked out and the tactics just fall into place. - (2004-09-30)
  [27] Sales technique - (2004-08-25)
  [15] 90 to 10 or 80 to 20 rule - (2004-08-15)


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Running a course ... what if the tutor isn't well?
Some other Articles
Perl 6 - significantly nearer, and Rakudo looks very good
Python through the Snow
Change of balance, of attitude, and of work method
Running a course ... what if the tutor isn't well?
Customer Service - the boundary
Finding elements common to many lists / arrays
Well House Price list, January to March 2011
Belfast, on a cold November evening
Strings, Garbage Collection and Variable Scope in C++
Throwing your own exception in C++, and catching it
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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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