The man on the desk at the car hire centre had no idea what type of day I'd had. He didn't know a simple 90 minute journey took almost 5 hours after the closure of the M40, that I had the start of a headache and that I was only collecting car hire because the one I currently had wanted to charge me over £500 to extend my hire for 5 days.
On arrival in the office I was greeted with 'You don't have your passport, there's nothing we can do' and that was the end of the conversation. So I turned my attention to another member of staff and said calmly 'Help me please, it's 7pm I'm now stranded in Birmingham with no way of getting back to South Wales, I'm not angry, cross or even upset, I just NEED your help'
Well the issue was resolved and an hour later I left with the new car hire (I was able to recall log in details for my electricity account to provide proof of address).
But it all could've gone so horribly wrong and I don't mean just not getting a car hired, but the whole experience could've descended into a full on shouting match as I've seen quite often, when people have had long flights, company booked car hire and driver doesn't have a credit card to secure the deposit or the car has been booked in the wrong name etc.
What makes good customer service for me, is when the member of staff can sense that there may be other issues going on and is intelligent enough to apply the same principal of how other peoples jobs may work differently to theirs.
For example if I was a Doctor, I wouldn't need the Doctor's advice on whether I should take antibiotics or need to get my foot seen at the local hospital or just rest it for a few days. You see I'm not a Doctor and the Doctor will assume I have no medical knowledge, therefore they will ask the right questions to get to the bottom of the matter, they don't just sit there and say 'computer says no'
When I go to bank and ask if something is possible and the teller tells me no with no further explanation, or the restaurant staff show me to a table but don't bring a menu or I go to the post office and don't see the ticket machine to take my turn, there's no need to shout at me or just stare blankly at me as I don't work there, I don't know the procedure or guess what? I'd be actually doing it and not asking for help and assistance. BTW I also don't know how your establishment works, if I did I wouldn't be there asking questions, which I don't know how to word anyway as guess what? I don't actually work there.
Poor customer service is something I've experienced living in both South Africa and Dubai. I start all conversations in unfamiliar settings with 'I'm a foreigner, I didn't grow up here, I have no idea how things work in these parts. I'm also finding myself saying this more and more back in the UK 'I haven't lived here for 8 years, I've no idea how things work here anymore'
Last week I was greeted with this
I just wanted to pee and I was desperate but had to ask for help to work it. I was met with a sigh, a smirk and then without me seeing how they just did it. Now I was at this building for 3 hours, I wasn't rude but I was firm as I said 'Don't laugh at me, I've never used one of these before, I suspect there are many things I can do that you can't, can you drive a car? Do you know how my laptop works? No, so how would you feel if I laughed at you when you were trying something new?'