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Observations on Customer Service

I was having a beer with one of my mates from the unit block I live in recently and we were lamenting the lost art of pouring a great beer. As many of you know I come from a hotel background and it was fundamental to what we provided. A slight detour, I was surprised by a message I received from a different mate of mine when he shared a YouTube video with me of my dad’s past in the hotel. It was quite an emotional time for me to see him again like this, considering I lost him some twenty years ago. You can see the video here.

We went to extraordinary lengths under the covers to ensure our beer was in its best condition when poured. There is clearly nowhere near the effort or training today there was back then. We took that part of our customer service seriously. I see the same lack of effort in many of the cafes and restaurants I visit. Tables not wiped down properly, wait staff not looking you in the eye when they engage with you. Some very basic standards have slipped badly. My mate was telling me the story of him wanting to buy his wife a set of AirPods from a well known technology company. When he went to the store they wouldn’t let him in because he did not have an appointment. He could come back in four hours time when they had an opening. He simply went to another well known retail outlet that sells this brand of AirPods, which was around the corner, walked in, paid less than the original manufacturer was going to sell them for, walked out in roughly three minutes. Consider the loss of margin for the manufacturer. Yes they eventually got the sale, but they sold it at wholesales price rather than at full margin.

When was the last time you looked at your customer service standards with an independent eye? Are you suffering from what the retail industry calls store blindness? It is important to shop yourself.

The other lesson from this story for me is: do you know what your cost to serve is? When was the last time you examined which of your customers are profitable and which are not. What size of order, even from your biggest customer, is unprofitable? Many clients of mine have had levels as high as 40% of orders being unprofitable. In essence they could afford to lose that business and be better off. Do you know your business to that level of detail?

If you or anyone you know is looking to:

  • improve the way their business operates;
  • improve the way they leverage their current ERP system;
  • replace their ERP current system;

give me a call for a confidential discussion on the best way to achieve this.

Until next month…


© David Ogilvie

customer service

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