The Running Commentary


Impact counts, but service retains the client……………

Many businesses today, struggle with the key challenge making and impression on their clients. So much more time is now spent on getting peer evaluations on prospective purchases that making an impact is difficult.

Even more reason then, that once you get the client into your business, you need to ensure that your own team delivers the service and experience that will ensure return business. To highlight my point I am outlining two experiences below that will see me change the way that I do business with the two companies I mention and will see me move to two of their competitors.

South African Airways: I travel to Johannesburg at least once a month and therefore complete two legs of travel.  As my travelling communication companions I have my iPhone and iPad.  As we all know “all electronic devices must be turned off, regardless of mode during take-off and landing”. I typically sit and complete my last few emails, before engaging flight mode to watch a movie, play a game or listen to music on my iPad.  On the last trip I was told to “turn of that thing (my iPad) while we are parked waiting for other passengers to board”.  As I was about to comply I was aware of literally 20 folks around me using their mobile phones to do the same as I was doing on my iPad. I pointed this out to the steward who jut shrugged his shoulders and walked off, reminding me to turn it off.

My point is that this person was “complying with a rule” without understanding why.  They have no technological understanding to back up their statement and it would appear that SAA has no plans to remedy this. The passengers to the right of me simply said “Typical” and we all really know what this stands for. While I know that I will experience the same issue of having to turn my device off, my desire to leave SAA as far behind as possible has grown in leaps and bounds as a result of the attendant’s attitude.

Second story, I have banked with Standard Bank for the past 20 years.  They have enjoyed, over this time, our two house bonds, my credit card and my vehicle finance.  A little over fours years ago, I decided to take out an FNB platinum card.  What an amazing ride it has been. To the extent that I hardly have use for my Standard Bank card, except that I manage my online purchasing through this as it is linked to my main account.

Now let me at this juncture say that I have enough credit available to me that if I used it I think I may get locked up!

I used my card sometime back to pay a supplier.  I for whatever reason did not clear the amount at the end of the month and had a small outstanding balance of R 593.00. Clearly they have an automated process that advises clients that they are overdue and send out sms’s to advise them of this. My gripe, if you have a premium client with a relatively minor amount outstanding surely you don’t send them the same message as everyone else.  Equally shouldn’t you be interested in seeing why it is that I don’t regularly use my card that you have provided.  If anything this has just re-enforced that I am a number and actually I would rather be a number with a premier banker at my disposal! One that actually does something when you call instead of providing a telephone number to contact.

In all these two very recent incidences have left me even more convinced that it is not only the impact that counts, but the service the customer ultimately experiences that will ensure ongoing success.

businesscustomer serviceDirect MarketingEconomyMarketingMarketing Strategysocial media

Mike • October 12, 2011

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  1. Chris Rowland October 12, 2011 - 2:04 pm

    Good points Mike. I can’t apply them to my industry though – all my competitors in the graphic design, web design and video space have that personal level of service at their core. Except for the larger agencies, of course, who only give personal attention where it matters.

    But, yes, service with a smile goes a looooong way in every industry – and interestingly, technology is now at a point where we can add ‘personalised’ messages that are automated. For instance, I bet you your bank could easily have created groupings for its different types of customers, and simply added the text “We understand it’s a small amount, but we just thought we’d let you know that …” – It would still be automated, and you just another number, but text like that would have made you feel like you were getting a level of personal service.

  2. Mike October 12, 2011 - 3:20 pm

    Chris, thanks for dropping by and adding your thoughts appreciate it.

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