Thanks to Greg from Texas, I have discovered a hilarious video parody of customer service at Visa : Can we get a better service when facing/speaking to a real person rather than an automated phone service ? Not so sure ... Enjoy!
When service is lousy, customers show their disapointment with their feet (walking away..)..
..AND SAUCE !
I'll keep the idea in mind :)...
During holidays abroad recently, I had the very agreeable and rare opportunity to visit the Mövenpick hotels, and to experience real good customer service.
In those five star hotels, you usually get great service, but the best comes with the small “extra” stuff, that makes all the difference…
The first “nice” experience happened unexpectedly, when turning back to our chair after a dive in the swimming pool : without having asked anything to the pool team, we found a small newspaper extract with news in French ! They had just heard us speak together, and had kindly provided news in our home language. That was not a need, nor a demand, but it was a really nice attention. (that did not cost much as those news are provided by central head offices to all hotels, to be available in the lobby)
The second experience started badly : we arrived late at the hotel and found that our reservation, made from France, had not been registered!
The bellboy called the manager, who looked things up and luckily found our booking in the central European system. Meanwhile we were offered a drink, and a seat in the hall. Yet we had nowhere to sleep at the time..
To compensate the disagreement and welcome us for the two nights booked, they offered a solution in two tiers, overcoming by far the original annoyance
- for our first night they upgraded us in a suite, far bigger and better than our original room (we jumped on the sofa with joy!)
- for the second night, as our hotel was full, they booked us in another Mövenpick hotel nearby, and offered diner and breakfast! This meant moving hotel, to a less fancy venue –the second hotel was older-, but eating for free largely compensated!
So my conclusion is
- whether your positioning is luxury or not, if you want to satisfy AND keep your customers, do not hesitate to surprise them with extra, unexpected attentions. (especially if they do not cost much)
- And when faced with a complaint or dysfunctionning of your service, do not stop with just compensating the product or service, but go beyond it : offer two products, or an extra service; and that will show your customer that his/her value (or lifetimevalue?) is much more important to you than just this one purchase.
Then you will get more purchases, for a long time …
Last week, as mentionned in my last post, I was travelling for my job in the USA
It first started quite well, as we were seated in Business Class for the transatlantic flight (my first and very enjoyable real sleep across the ocean). But upon landing on american grounds it went downhill very steeply !
And rain and wind were pouring all over the east coast, delaying flights all over the zone.
And we had also chosen, for cost and destination reasons, the worst airport in the US and the worst airline, namely Philladelphia and US Airways!
So after our 5.30 PM connection flight was cancelled , and we negotiated to be booked on the following 11PM flight, we had a lot of time to visit the commercial zones and tour around souvenirs shops, or the GAP shop to buy nightgear and extra nickers (in case we had to sleepover without our luggage, which was waiting for the plane too...). We even tested the massage shops !
But then our plane was delayed to 12.15, then to 12.45 , then to 1.15AM, then to 1.40AM.......
By that time I had slept on my suitcase, on a chair, on the floor..
We finally took off at 2AM after 10 hours spent in the airport, and when we arrived at the hotel, I had been "awake" more than 28 hours!! A good start , huh ?
Luckily after that, all went well
We visited our cousin company to discover (if ever there was any doubt) that americans are far better organised than us to take care of their customers. It is quite amazing how their operations are optimised to help salespeople deal with sales only and not bother with administrative stuff, and how everybody is dedicated to doing business and delivering the best service possible.
And the trip was actually fun in terms of American-way-of-life observation :
We watched live on TV Obama announcing that Hillary Clinton was to be his Secretary of State (not as moving as watching the news from France the day he was elected, but still a big moment !)
We witnessed in real life, (and not through the TV series) the larger-than-life beverage and food serving in the restaurants, or the enormous SUV cars where every driver has a cup holder.
We looked in hilarious amazement as those huge billboards along the interstate highway, that were promoting hollywood-movie-looking lawyers ready to help you make money in case of medical malpractice or personal injury. Or doctors promoting in 1m large letters... a vasectomy !!
And we listened all day long to Christmas carols, in hotels, elevators, shops, gardens, restaurants, played on all rythms and style (I personnaly recognised "Jingle Bells" in classic, reggae, blues, groove, R&B, jazz and calypso style!!) But it all sounded really weird under the palm trees and 77°F (25°C) down in Florida !
It was finally quite interesting, despite the horrendously silly TV ads that spoilt my only "Dr House" TV night...
Merry Christmas to you all !
I think I know why customer service can be so much nicer in north-america, than the service we get here in France.
The first reason is the one I mentioned here, telling about my friend’s misadventures with Cyrillus : sales and service is something noble in anglo-saxon protestant countries, whereas it is considered a low-key-not-worthy job in our catholic cultured France.
The second reason, after a two week holiday in Canada this summer, is now more obvious to me : Money !
In the States and Canada, waiters and shop assistants’ salary is based on one thing: the tip that you are going to leave them !
Service is NOT included in your bill, and it is common to tip around 10-15% of the total, to reward your waiter or waitress of his/her service. If you are happy with what you got, and you are generous, you can tip more of course, up to 20% or more !
Which means that waiters will be very keen on giving you the best service possible, to get the best tip possible ! (they may even “profile” you, to assess if you are more the “ego” type of guy, to whom they should pay a lot of compliments, or the “efficiency” type who must not wait more than 2 seconds, etc ..)
You may read more about this issue on Waiter rant, the waiter's blog, that's just become a book "Thanks for the tip: confessions of a cynical waiter".. (discovered thanks to Thierry's blog )
The result of the tip rule is that you usually get a good service, even if you come for the first time, because the waiter needs your money to make a living; and if you come back and were generous the first time, you’re bound to be really well taken care of…
Whereas in France, service is included in the bill and we usually do NOT give tips.
Thus our waiters do not care at all if they are obnoxious or nice with us, since they will not get paid more !
My conclusion is: maybe I will start to be more generous with my french waiter next time, and give more than a nice smile and thanks to the waitress who will be nice to me.
And maybe the top tip will get me the tip top service ?
Je n'avais pas été gentille début Septembre pour raconter la mésaventure arrivée à mon amie Heather chez Cyrillus, et je me demandais si un jour j'allais avoir un retour de l'enseigne..
Et bien c'est fait ! Une reponsable internet de la marque a enfin surfé comme il se doit quand on veut surveiller son image sur le net, et a réagi à mon réquisitoire outragé :
"Toujours soucieux d’améliorer notre service client, nous souhaitons prendre en considération vos remarques. Pour cela, nous aurions besoin de connaître le magasin dans lequel s’est produit la malencontreuse expérience de votre amie (..)"
Je suis ravie qu'elle ait eu cette réaction et comme je le lui ai écrit "j'espère que le sens du client de l'équipe concernée saura revenir à la hauteur de la réputation de l'enseigne".
Peut-être que certains se feront taper sur les doigts, mais je pense que c'est mérité, et si ça peut faire avancer le service aux clients dans le bon sens, tant mieux !
A suivre ...
P.S : Please have a look at the blog where I found this great cartoon ! Great talent and same vision as me on customer service :)