At the heart of both our customer proposition and our internal values is service excellence. We know that service expectations from our customers are high and rightfully so – we understand that our success is dependent on theirs. That’s why we put great effort into planning our operations and supply chain, listening to and learning from feedback, and forward thinking – always looking for new technologies and ways of working that help enhance our service.
As in any other business, though, we have days where things just don’t go plan. This is where our customer service teams come in. These humble heroes are relentless in putting things right for our customers when curveballs strike, and so to kick-start National Customer Service Week 2019 it seemed only right that we asked them their thoughts on what their best moments, biggest challenges and favourite service stories are.
What is the best part of your customer services role?
“The best part of our role in customer service is completing a customer query no matter how big or small and ending the call with both sides having a chat and a laugh. It’s very satisfying knowing the customer has gone away happy and knowing they have put the phone down smiling.”
“It is very satisfying when a customer also thanks you for doing everything you could to help them resolve the problem so that it benefits the customer. It is my job to let them know I am listening to what they are saying and to put them at ease by dealing with the issue to a satisfactory conclusion for everyone concerned.”
“Delivering good news, resolving the customers problems and turning the problem into a solution.”
What is the most challenging element of the role?
“It can be very challenging when you believe you have dealt with a query in its entirety and the customer remains angry as it’s not what they want to hear – sometimes they even put the phone down. It does make you question whether you dealt with their query correctly.”
“Not being able to help when things are out of our control, traffic, severe weather conditions and out of stock lines.”
Can you share a story of a time you or your team delivered service excellence to our customers?
“During the Novichok investigation when the police in Salisbury and officers from other neighbouring towns were called into Salisbury town centre, they ran out of cups and water. They would normally order through another depot, however, we located appropriate stock in our warehouse and Customer Service liaised with our Transport department, Warehouse, Telesales and Admin teams and the delivery was made into the Police Mobile Unit that very day.“
“The most memorable time for my Customer Service team showing their absolute commitment to customers was last year when the horrendous snow hit us. On a normal day my team normally take 250 to 300 customer calls per day, this increased to 900 calls per day. A very trying and testing time but we all pulled together to ensure the same service excellence was received by our customers as always, we strove to give our customers as much information as we could and kept them up to date at all times with regards to their deliveries.“
“When we experienced heavy snow fall, this effected most of our schools, we arranged for our customer service team to be picked up from home and arrive in early to start the calls to customers and find a quick resolution. We set up a ‘crisis room’ which all managers attended on the hour to form a plan and update what was happening on the roads for our drivers and how the impact was effecting our customers. Business Managers came in to help load and print paperwork. It was a tough week and everyone put every effort in to make things happen for our customers and help to return to normal service. We had hot soup for returning drivers and cakes to help us through, our customer feedback on the phones was really warming and worthwhile.”
We cannot avoid occasional unpredictable situations along the way, whether it’s road closures, adverse weather or other unforeseen challenges. Our Customer Service teams are experts at “keeping their cool” and working closely with many other teams through it all, making sure they are the all-important voice of the customer, and keeping their eyes firmly on delivering service excellence.
We will be celebrating National Customer Service Week both internally and externally all week. Follow us on social media to keep up with what we are doing.