Milk and No Sugar Please Sir Richard
I’m currently writing a new edition of my book 5 Star Service, so naturally senses become heightened and my service radar goes into overdrive.
If you’ve read 5 Star Service (if not, why not?) then you’ll know I’m mainly looking for positive examples of great service.
5 Star Service is about leading by example rather than what to avoid.
But there’s a challenge.
90% of the people who really should be better at providing service – actually think they are already good.
Virgin Trains and Stagecoach have just taken over the running of the East Coast Rail Franchise. As someone who uses that track like a commuter you get to know the staff and their levels of service pretty well.
A perky Richard Branson was seen during launch week serving teas and coffees and chatting to travellers. Then with a fanfare they published their targets for the next 5 years.
Including their goal for customer satisfaction.
I’m not really a fan of the term ‘customer satisfaction’ as it can promote a mind-set of ‘just make sure they’re satisfied’ rather than aiming for loyal devoted enthused evangelists.
And here’s where Virgin East Coast have created a challenge for themselves.
Even if they improve their levels of customer satisfaction they still won’t hit their target.
This is because the level of expectation from customers is rising too.
Think about it.
Your customers are more demanding. They want it bigger, bolder and faster than ever. And they’d like to pay less!
The only way Virgin East Coast is going to hit their target is:
To have a revolution in customer service
A massive investment in training
Zero tolerance to poor performance
Massive recognition for those who over perform and genuinely put their customers first
As a regular customer I really hope they do it.
When you empathize with your customers, they are more likely to calm down and take in more reasonable solutions.