Customer Service – the new marketing!

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My husband David returned from RAW 2010 last week telling me how it was never more evident that the message to business is that keeping in touch with your existing customers and customer service are the keys to success. As the hackneyed phrase goes, it’s not rocket science. The 80/20 rule has been in effect for as long as I’ve been alive and I’m sure that the old adage that people might tell one person of a good experience but they’ll tell 30 of a bad one rings truer these days more than ever.

You only have to look at the next generation about to hit university and how they’ve armed themselves on Facebook to question the fairness of yesterday’s GCSE exam to see quickly that bad news spread. It’s hit the national headlines. Is Facebook the new hairdresser’s?

So with my customer service head on it gives me great pleasure to tell the world to dine at Zinc in Manchester. We ate there last night to perfection. It might not be some people’s first choice when you have much grander titles at your disposal but I’ve dined in some of those grander places and they didn’t offer the full package. Zinc, on the other hand, was an absolute delight from start to finish.

Every staff member without exception was not just courteous but either naturally gifted or trained to perfection in people skills. A faultless team who knew instinctively when to stop and chat beyond “Can I take your plates?” and when to walk away.

The food was impeccable from the Greek Mezze dips and bites to the fish, chips and mushy peas, the creme brulee, the wine, the dessert wine, the Hendricks WITH cucumber…..and the background music, which rounded it all off. I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed a meal as much in a long time and we dine out OFTEN! The fact that our waiter (which seems a much too patronising word) clocked my joyous reaction to their olives and gave me a bag to take home (!) was the cherry on the cake.

It was the extra-mile that I constantly try to effect with newroomsonline.

My face to face dealings with clients on the event management side are easier to gauge – you can read people’s faces, their reactions to your service. The fact that I spent the weekend celebrating my addition to Business Link Northwest‘s Event Consultants panel proved that point and it was a huge relief to be appointed (others were successful too and I can’t wait to work alongside them!).

Online customer service is sometimes trickier. Few people complain, thankfully, but then few also commend your attention to detail. We had an email from a man at Christmas whose very first opening line was confrontational, blunt, rude and a bit harsh frankly. He’d ordered a product the day before and at 9am that day was writing to complain he’d had no confirmation and that he even doubted we were a legitimate company. Within two hours he wrote the most wonderfully apologetic note saying the item had just been delivered and that perhaps he’d been a bit hotheaded in his first email. He’d literally pre-empted our confirmation email by about 30 seconds but at least he had the good grace to write and apologise. Another man this week wrote to commend our immediate customer service and to thank us for dealing with his issue instantly. And to have that feedback is not only invaluable but such an incentive for more of the same.

So if you’re out there today and someone gives you good service tell them! Blog it, tweet it and give their business and day in general a bit of a boost. Complaining doesn’t get half as good a reaction as praising service!

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