Category Archives: Customer service

Bowled over by Bewleys

bewleys logo

Bear with me on this one, it may take some mild persuasion. Of all places who would have thought that Bewleys would make me stop in my coffee sipping tracks (it was wine actually, but who’s judging).  I would presume that I-like many-hold memories of getting into your Sunday best and taking a trip to Bewleys for a treat. Well my latest evening visit was certainly just that, a ‘treat’ in the customer experience sense. Bewleys are open in the evenings until 11pm, serving wine and uncompromising food at reasonable prices. Gone is the self-service, tricky tray manoeuvring rhetoric of yore.

Back to the experience though and after a rather tempestuous start involving a trivial disagreement over wine glasses, the service mellowed somewhat. The staff were attentive, not over zealous and had personality, much like the beautiful updated environs we sat in. This is the grown up Bewleys, along the way it has matured into a stylish, chilled evening  time haunt.

After a few ticks at the upper echelons of the customer comment card we left, promising prompt return. The only negative is that I think more people don’t know about this after work gem, or maybe it’s for the best, I will selfishly have the place to myself for these much needed cathartic moments of escape.

Like a good ‘brew’, Bewley’s has had  time to infuse and settle but be assured it is now ready to enjoy.

bewleys pic

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‘Oh’ 2- Ironically bad at communication!

There are ironies in life that make for humorous memories (like when I failed my driving test and drove myself home). Then there are instances where I get so incensed with rage that my fingers start punching away at my computer in an autonomous, uncontrollable fashion.

Customer rage should be the antithesis of a company’s value proposition, yet so many fail to eschew activities and behaviours that cannot but imbue a sense of dissonance and vitriolic ramblings. Unfortunately the latest victim is O2 but the comments are generalisable to many services providers. A recent encounter by one reader of this blog has led them to vent. Long story relatively short, they were promised something, put on a waiting list, forgotten and lied to. I truly believe that there is no room for dishonesty in business. Be honest with your customers, they will respect you more and their expectations will not be dashed, thus limiting their feelings of dissonance.

Initiatives such as ‘Priority moments’  are totally superfluous if the core service is not contiguous with marketing activities. Does anyone feel they are truly a priority whilst trying to work out the mathematical maze of automated numbers needed to reach the person who may (possibly) be able to help you? It just adds fuel to a customers blazing fire of rage. Rejoice if you do get through swiftly, you are one of the chosen ones, who haven’t been subjected to a cacophony of brutally low quality, crackling music that some companies assume we appreciate. We don’t, all we want to know is how long we have to wait. Once again, be honest with  us !

Doesn’t it also seem that new customers get all the grandiose treatment ? You know, all the deals, free customer service etc. That’s the final irony and the last fragile straw for me. Was there ever a notion that companies should treat loyal customers to a purgatory of dis-service? I urge you to  ‘Be the difference’, tell these companies how unhappy you are with them, let me assure you it is not isolated to the oxygen related ‘Blue’ ones.

If it’s ‘Better Together’, then why are they trying so hard to turn us away. Demand better service at every level and let’s sing from the ‘Red’ ones hymn sheet: Power to you !

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I’m in love with KC Peaches..

I’m enamored. KC peaches has my heart and I’m hooked. We met a week or two ago on Nassau Street. This place has it sussed. Their visual merchandising and simple use of neutral colours make this place look rather special.

All I wanted was a humble salad, well, let me tell you that I had a veritable choice of goodness to choose from. As someone who is rather indecisive, this posed a bit of a problem, and waved goodbye to the ‘quick lunch’ I had planned.  Fifteen minutes later, I was still shoveling a bit of couscous and assorted leaves into my ‘box’.

I love how you pick a box and fill it with anything, no horrid weighing scales or sneaky extra charges. The only rule I’m guessing is that the box must be able to close and not be overflowing with spinach and rockety goodness. The staff are cool and helpful and even offered me a cheeky student discount, without me prompting. Not so cheeky considering I am a student but it was a welcome change to see a staff member take some initiative. More of that is to be encouraged.

There have been recent reports from one of my informants of burnt broccoli stowing away in said informants ‘box’, but I am not here to judge on the kitchens over zealousness cooking in relation to the tree shaped vegetable.

Take a walk down Nassau Street and you won’t miss it, they have delightful cakes in the window to lure you in. I do warn you though, If you are tight on time, indecisive or put off by choice,  you may need to plan your time to get the full effect. This place deserves time, effort and a bit of thought. Ironically similar to the ingredients of the perfect relationship !

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Up all night..in the pursuit of customer service.

Never one to be a follower of sport – in fact I swiftly recycle any sport supplement that comes my way -something changed  this weekend. I write this whilst sipping on a free latte from Insomnia. I have always been a fan of this company, I like their style and their brand has a personality that fits kinda well with me. They treat their customers pretty good and this weekend they had a special treat for their ZAPPA tag loyalty card holders. Obviously being a promiscuous loyalty card fiend, I was in on the offer too.

The deal was this, whenever Ireland scored against Croatia, you get a free coffee. Genius ! So for the first and potentially last time, I watched the match from a partially selfish ‘what’s in it for me’ perspective. How joyful I was when we scored, I could taste the milky frothiness of my Monday latte already.

On a less positive note, I find the only weakness with Insomnia can be the staff. I had a think about as to why this might be. The only theory I could suggest is that they are true ‘insomniacs’ dedicated to their job and forego sleep in order to stay true to the brand name. It works as sometimes their enthusiasm and customer service is  lack lustre and I leave feeling a little nonchalant about their staff. Luckily their coffee pulls me away from my grumpy mumblings.

Lets not dwell on picky negativity though. We must applaud companies who run such great loyalty offers, more of it is needed ! Insomnia have done what not a lot of people could do, get me mildly interested in a sporting event. Now ‘Come On You Boys In Green, I am getting quite accustomed to these free Lattes and the suspense of the matches is becoming an enjoyable pastime…Perhaps I am the one in need of some sleep.

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SKY- Do they believe in better ?

I am partial to a bit of TV, like anyone else it keeps my mind active in less ‘busy’ times . SKY is one of those companies that you think occupy a rather untouchable corporate position. I do have to give them some credit. Their product is rather good, they are innovative and normally their service is what one would expect from an international company. However I have a bone to pick.

The bone that needs picking comes from a casual observation over a couple of weeks. As you know I am a full time lurker and professional observer. SKY has a sort of ‘selling station‘ in Stephen’s Green shopping centre. Now normally you would expect to see the staff handing out deals, engaging with customers and generally ‘selling’. This isn’t the case in said location. I am baffled as to what the staff are there for.

Each time I am lurking, they seem to be catching up with the sport, having a chat with other staff and looking a bit bemused by inquisitive customers who approach them. Is this the best job in the world ? They obviously don’t have sales targets to meet or maybe they are the outpost that SKY has forgotten about.

The pressing point is that this  important touch point that the customer encounters is letting the brand down. All the marketing efforts by SKY are futile if the customer doesn’t get the service on the front line. So the note of caution here is that at each point the customer engages with the brand, it should be a memorable experience, and not for the wrong reasons.

This highlights the importance of the ‘value chain’ theory and how a glitch in a companies processes can cause serious problems. Perhaps it’s time for SKY to believe in better service ?

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Exceptional Emirates

Apart from my passion for customer service, my other love lies in the skies, in particular airlines. Back in January I decided to take a trip to China with Emirates to test their new Dublin to Dubai route and onward to Hong Kong. I was spurred into the decision by very favourable launch offers and the thought of spending half a day flying half way around the world (nerdy I know)

Emirates day arrived and I presented myself at the airport for the beginning of my trip. Despite the route being only a week old, the flight was pretty full (thanks to Emirates marvelous marketing skills) I was approached by a member of staff who asked me would I mind being re-routed. Now this for many would be a hellish idea, but for an aviation enthusiast/nut like myself it meant another flight, another airport and a bit of an adventure.

It was how they dealt with the disruption though that they makes this post blogable. I was treated to a free breakfast voucher whilst they got my affairs in order, a duty free voucher and a free ticket back to Hong Kong whenever I chose. There is a lot of free in the last sentence, just how I like it !  This was brilliant customer service.The best bit though was that I was upgraded to Business class from Birmingham to Dubai, with full use of their lounge and all the related amenities. It is this kind of amazing care towards their passengers that ensures they are always voted amongst the top airlines of the world.

So off I headed to Dubai, treated like a king with the promise of a return to Hong Kong and all the Veuve  Clicquot I could have ever wanted. I arrived mildly tipsy and tremendously impressed despite my re-routing.

P.S. Look at their impressive takeover of the Metro herald from yesterday, they know how to do things properly and are so consistent with their message even on a global scale;

Fly Emirates, Hello Tomorrow

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Nurturing the niche

So there I was watching the consumer show on RTE last night when I came across a sight that made me push the pause button with wonder. The sight I refer to was the picture below. I suppose it can  be described as a Tesco staff member walking after an elderly customer with a giant lollipop sign, signalling that she was there for assistance.

I was puzzled, so much so that I had to rewind, pause and analyse. So pause is what I did and I thought. I thought could it be that Tesco know their customer base so well that they feel it worth having this extra assistance available (Every little helps?). It was the only conclusion I could come to, as I have never seen such a thing happening before. If this is the case, then this is utterly brilliant. The so called ‘grey market’ is where profitable niches exist and Tesco are certainly nurturing this niche.

A lot is talked about database marketing and segmentation in relation to gaining insight into your customers behaviour. However I believe this example is probably a case of observation and simple common sense prevailing in a certain store, the basics if you like. Some companies forget these basics which include serving your customer, it really should be back to basics for some companies.

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Brilliant Brioche

I must admit, it is not often that I feel compelled to tell you all about my lunch, nor would I think you would be interested in such mundane musings, however this is different. Brioche is one of our local haunts providing the sustenance a student needs to make it through a grueling college day. In my opinion, they are just great. Not only do they have great prices and lunch deals (€2 for coffee, with extra kick) but they are genuinely nice people.

It was this week that we made the stroll down Aungier Street to said cafe. I must add that we battled the wind and rain on two occasions and on one occasion I lost an umbrella to it (Doesn’t this scream brand loyalty to you). Nevertheless it was packed. One member of staffed soon realised the impending herd mentality that was about to break out and took it upon herself to come out behind the counter to hurry things along.

She proceeded to take our orders in advance, writing them and our names on their bags. This is brilliant customer service in action. We were impressed. They even succumbed to my addiction for mayonnaise by providing me with a little extra pot for my pleasure (Remember it is the little extras that I love). We returned today and were greeted by the uber professional staff member by name, this threw me over the edge into a pit of delight.

Every single company should have staff members like this, she surpassed any expectations I ever had about the place,  I am now a loyalist to Brioche.

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Kareem’s Win-Win

Like many of us out there, when I have a techy problem I get all flustered and ponder the complexities of modern technology. I don’t however ponder it too long , I prefer to let the experts do the pondering. Kareem got in contact with us to share his view on customer service, in particular the great help he received from his service provider in relation to his website.

For Kareem the help he got not only was free (and we do love free at this blog) but left him with such a great impression of the company that he wanted to share it. This is the power of great service, it goes way beyond problem resolution. It builds relationships and is a powerful indirect promotional tool for a company.

Kareem provided a great analogy which really sums it up, ” Superior customer service is like having a great friend do you a favour: You feel the urge to repay them not because you’re forced to, but rather because you will feel satisfied in doing so”. 

This emphasis on returning the favour is what companies should be striving for, the aim is that you return the favour with their company only and speak highly of them to others, the essence of brand loyalty.

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It really is the little things that count.

Camden street has become quite the melting pot of chic eateries and great bargains. As an aside, one of my favourite shops, The Camden Casket, is an absolute must visit for the savvy buyer, but more about that in a later post, I must stay on topic !

Back to NEON, or as they put it Asian street food, now I don’t know if the term ‘street food’ really does this justice,  it is way better than any urban street food I have ever tasted. The staff are most attentive even helping me choose dishes that would limit a chilli overdose.

Now to a little note or suggestion if you like, we visited at the rather unsociable hour of 5pm on a Monday thanks to a hectic day of project work. The lunch time deal was over at 4pm and whilst the only other two people in the place were content with this, I feel a little nudge in the way of customer loyalty would have been beneficial had it been offered. I do like a deal you know. Still €11.95 for noodles and a main dish is great.

And talk about saving the best till literally last, your meal comes with two ice cream cones that you can fill at your leisure for free. So ice cream cones in hand, a nod of thanks from the staff and a ray of sunshine breaking through, we left with definite promises of a return visit.

A little piece of paradise with delightful extras, a great combination. 

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