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The good, the bad, and the ugly...update!

Tuesday, 22nd February 2011

My rather spontaneous blog last week was inspired by some rather poor personal customer service from TalkTalk, but was aimed at trying to understand the general customer service differences between sectors. I have a glimmer of a theory that certain sectors are generally good, others generally ugly, and that there must be a way of changing the behaviour of the ugly into somthing more attractive.

To kick the debate off (see the full article, and all the responses here), I suggested that coffee shops were generally good, telecoms companies generally ugly, and banks somewhere in the middle (bad).

One of the debates that was sparked was about the relationship between price and service - one reader suggested that if you choose something on price alone, you should expect (or deserve?!) poor service. I countered with an argument that the two things need not be inextricably linked, and further, that a comparison of Jet2 versus Ryanair would bear my argument out.

I should note here that my blog correspondent flew Ryanair last night - on a rather delayed flight - and I'm next flying with Jet2 at the weekend.

My argument was that these two organisations, both low-cost operators (although how low in comparison to each other is open to question as price clarity is tricky to find), nonetheless differ significantly in service standards; Jet2 being pretty good in my personal experience, and Ryanair being a company I will never, ever fly with again - I'd rather walk.

With my booking for this coming weekend, I had cause to contact Jet2 last night. I didn't want to use a premium rate phone number - the call centres were close at that time anyway - and I have a fear and loathing of most call centres anyway (HMRC VAT office is a noble exception - they are lovely people! No, seriously!).

Instead, because there was no obvious way of emailing "customer services" (they are not the only company to fall down in this regard), I decided to email a few specific people - the Chief Exec, the Finance Director, the MD and the Operations Director. A little bit of research enabled me to do so, and I pressed "send" at 10:30pm last night.

Before 8am, I'd had a reply from the Chief Exec. He thanked me for my email and had forwarded it to the customer service group. Just before 9am, and again just after 11am, the General Manager of Customer Service called - I missed the calls as I was in meetings, which is another reason why I wanted to e-mail them rather than call. She then also e-mailed me, explained the situation beautifully, and wished me a good trip.

My thoughts

This process has interested me considerably...

These things support some of my basic philosophies about customer service, specifically:

Creating positive feelings in your customers' hearts and minds should be at the forefront of everything an organisation does. However "low-cost" an operator you are.

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