The Australian Open has re-fueled my love of tennis (as well as reminding me that Britain is good at coming second!). It also made me think how the quality of tennis today is infinitely better than it was many years ago. Nostalgia and sentiment take you back to the joys of wooden rackets, Dunlop Plimsolls and McEnroe and Borg, but none of them could cope with the Federer SERVICE!
So the question (albeit extremely tangential) that I have been asking members on the phone this week is: has customer SERVICE changed as much over the last 20 years as the tennis service?
I received a resounding no! Ray from Perth continued the tennis analogy by telling me he feels like John McEnroe nearly every time he has an issue to raise with a restaurant, a major chain or about the ridiculously long waiting times at his local GP surgery – ‘YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!’. Ray has now been banned from two restaurants for giving constructive but frank feedback.
Jackie from Melbourne talked about her frustration when she enters a store and the sales staff only serve her when they have completed their ‘last night down the… he didn’t did he’ conversation. And John from Sydney said he gets fed up with feeling like he’s the villain of the piece every time he takes back a faulty item – through innuendo, he is made to feel like a criminal, when the focus should be on the faulty product.
We all accept that things go wrong. Most of us are pretty reasonable people. We just want to feel valued as customers; that our concerns are taken seriously; that staff will do whatever they can about it; that they won’t add a new level of stress to the situation. In return we will give these companies our custom and provide them with incredible insights into their products. And we will get along just ace!