Customer service and great customer experience

Setting off to my breakfast networking meeting this morning twenty minutes or so before dawn, I switched my car windscreen wipers on to clear the drizzle. Unfortunately one blade disintegrated and on arrival at my destination I noted that the other blade had seen better days too.

After the meeting I was plotting in my mind the best route to the usual motoring accessories superstore when I noticed a motor parts outlet I had not seen before only a short distance along my return journey. The sign said “open to the public” so I went in, expecting just to buy the blades and fit them myself. I remembered with trepidation what a performance it had been to do it the previous time.

Inside I was served by a young woman (by which I mean a bit younger than me) who looked up the blades required on her computer and fetched them from a shelf. She then said “I would like to measure your wipers to make sure I have found the right ones”, she produced a tape measure, and went out to my car. Having ensured she had the right blades to fit, we completed the transaction, she gave me my receipt, and then to my surprise (and relief) she said “I’ll put them on the car for you”.

Now, she did struggle to get the blades on, and I couldn’t be of much help. After three or four minutes she went into the adjacent service shop and fetched a mechanic, who succeeded in fitting my new wipers, though not without some difficulty. It might have taken me hours to work out how to do it.

Naturally I thanked both members of staff profusely and the young woman who had served me took the old blades off for disposal.

I really did think this was brilliant customer service. The main purpose of the place is to serve the trade who know what they are doing, though obviously non-trade people must go in quite often. The price was good value and one could not ask for a better customer experience. For that reason I recommend the chain, and especially the one in Southend. The company is called Motor Parts Direct.

They have guaranteed I will think of them first next time I need something for the car, and that I will recommend them. It was a great way to do business when often in the large retail motoring shops you have a job to find someone to help at all.

Have you had a really good customer service experience recently? Give the business a testimonial.

© Jon Stow 2010

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Need a service? Get recommendations

A couple of people I know had a little success selling items on eBay, and not wishing to be wage slaves all their lives invested a considerable amount of money setting up a shopping website serving a niche market they know well. I am all for enterprise, and would always wish them good luck. However, usually we need more than good luck, because we need to do proper research.

Our shopping site owners realised that they needed traffic to their website, for which they had paid quite a lot of money. They settled on a company which promised to get them up to the top of the search engines. As most of us know, this service is called Search Engine Optimization, SEO for short. They paid £3,000 over the first year, which is just over US$4,600 at the time of writing. Was their site easily found for the top key words a year later? No, it was nowhere to be seen.

The SEO company owned up to the failure and promised to work for free until they had got a result, which would be to get the site up the search rankings. Even if they are successful, at least another six months will have been lost, and there had been very few sales after the first year. My worry would be that if they failed once, they may well fail gain.

I know several SEO experts who really can deliver results. One or two may even read this post. To you I say that I have recommended you, but unfortunately pride gets in the way of making a judgment about spending even more money.

Sixteen months on, the site is still nowhere to be seen. I have tried several searches on key words I would use, one even using a word which is part of their URL, but I cannot find them unless by typing in the name of the business, which of course no one will do if they are just looking for a particular product.

I have not pressed the business owners again with my recommendations. I feel reluctant to intrude on private grief, but if either of them comments again on their poor sales I will bring the matter up. In a way I am pleased for them they have not given up their day jobs, but that very fact may explain why they lack business focus.

As most of us know, when buying in a service, do not go for advertising hype. Get a recommendation or two or go to someone you already know and trust. That way, apart from knowing about that provider’s ability to deliver,.they will have an added incentive not to let you down.

What is your experience? What do you think?

© Jon Stow 2010

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