Fawlty customer service?

Alice Cooper screams “Schools out for Summer!” and you are going on your family Summer holidays.

Arriving in Torquay, Sybil Fawlty sits behind the hotel reception desk. She ignores you because she’s on the phone to her friend, Audrey. She shouts “Basil!”

But he’s busy nailing a moose’s head to the wall. “What is it, my nest of vipers?” he exclaims.

Then he sees you standing there. He shouts “Manuel” and goes back to the moose, muttering “riff-raff” not exactly under his breath.

When Manuel appears you know you are in for the holiday from hell.

Yes, customer focus and delight are just some of the words that CAN’T be used to describe the service levels at Fawlty Towers.

But treating customers like dirt isn’t funny – especially at a time when all your customers are at risk because if you don’t demonstrate that you love them you will lose them.

Remember 68% of customers simply don’t come back due to perceived indifference.

Today it is vital to discover how and why to put the customer first ALWAYS!

You need to create a learning relationship with your customers. And it can work for you.

1. Identify customers
Don’t waste money or effort on people who will never buy from you. Concentrate on your loyal customers and make sure you keep their business forever.

2. Differentiate each customer
Recognising your most valuable customers and treating them differently is essential to a learning relationship. Customers have different needs from you and they are of differing value to you. The value of a customer is the key to keeping and growing your business.

3. Interact with each customer
Every contact you have with a customer gives you the opportunity to learn more about his needs and his value to you.

4. Customise products for each customer
Customisation creates your biggest competitive advantage. It is only possible by integrating your production process with your customer’s feedback. Once an individual has specified his needs in you, he must re-invent this relationship to get an equivalent product elsewhere.

If you get all this right, you may never lose a customer again. What’s more, such customers will become advocates for your business.

These are what Ken Blanchard describes as “Raving Fans!”in his bestselling book on customer service – “Discover what the Customer Wants – and Deliver Plus One – Always Deliver more than the Customer Expects”.
We are offering free copies to the first six Lancashire Business View respondents – just email us.

Norman Snodgrass, Mayes Business Partnership.