Monday, May 12, 2014

at your service

Over the past few weeks I was on a mission of buying costumes for dance competition.

This included ordering shirts on line for 12 guys, and trouping around goodness knows how many women's clothing shops looking for 12 tops that would suit 12 different body shapes, that were identical, and that were of a fairly specific style and colour way - and in summer weight fabric.  Nothing made it easy.  It was end of season.  Hard to find anything in the right colour, let alone shape and size. The shirts had to come via two different suppliers.  I was also looking as some DIY options which necessitated visits to a number of craft shops.   The challenges went on and on. Don't even get me started on hair, jewellery and makeup!!!

But, to cut a long story short, all's well that ends well, and we ended up with 12 couples in suitable attire, for a very very reasonable cost to each person.

The point of this story though, is not to highlight the problems associated with fitting out a dance troupe, but to commend the (literally) dozens of shop assistants and help desk staff that I dealt with over this time.  Much is made of the poor service in NZ and I would have to vehemently disagree with those naysayers.

Without exception, every person in every shop went far beyond the call of duty.  Even though in many cases the clothing was incredibly cheap, and found  in chain stores seemingly run by teenagers, everyone was cheerful, helpful, obliging and tireless in their attempts to help me (and others) find exactly what we needed.  Most were happy to ring around other branches of their shop, and all were more than OK with pulling piles of clothes of racks and putting them on hold.

Similarly a recent experience at a hotel was, simply, outstanding and left me feeling I would be loyal to that place forever! From the moment I arrived and was greeted by name, I felt like I was valued.

I spend a lot of time assessing customer service in my town (and further afield) because a/ it's part of my job to do so and b/ I'm a bit precious about it.  And sure there are some exceptions, but I would have to say that by far and away the majority of businesses that I deal with do it extremely well.  Of course retail and hospitality are the most scrutinised.  And have the biggest risk of ''getting it wrong''.  The staff has high turnover.  Seven day a week operations potentially don't get the staff training other businesses might.

It's said that good news stories go nowhere but a bad story will be repeated a dozen times.  If that's true then it only goes to prove my proclamation - because it is a rare thing to hear a bad story about service these days.  Most businesses (I believe) want to give good service - sure doesn't the survival of their organisation depend on it?

I go out of my way to provide feedback (good and bad) to businesses. Do you?

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