How much would you pay for excellent customer service?

How much would you pay for excellent customer service?

According to a new survey published by American Express, across the pond 7 out of 10 people are willing to spend an average of 13% more for excellent customer service.

Just after I read this blog I popped into my local town, Faringdon, Oxfordshire, to shop at our local butchers, Pat Thomas, where the service is just brilliant, as is the quality of their meat and poultry. I then had a coffee at Sadlers the most comfortable coffee shop in England; the coffee is always served hot and brought to your table with a smile. One of my Saturday pleasures is reading Mike Southon’s column for Entrepreneurs  in the Saturday FT at Sadlers in Faringdon.

I’m not sure I paid any extra for the excellent customer service I received on my Saturday morning trip into Faringdon, but might that be the point? People do not necessarily consciously compare what they are paying if the service is good?

I’m now feeling pretty good and then pop into Budgens to pick up a few groceries; get to the check-out and my feeling of ‘all is great with the world’ is brought to a juddering halt by the indifference of the checkout assistant. No eye contact, no smile, no engagement, no offer to pack my bags just total indifference! When Tesco’s & Waitrose set- up in town guess where I will shop?

All these events occurred just over an hour of me reading and answering a question on the aforementioned blog ‘How do you deliver outstanding service?’

We have a more difficult job in our telephone answering service business because we don’t have face to face contact. The first thing is to smile on the phone because it can be heard. Try it next time you answer the phone and gauge the caller’s reaction.

We try hard to build rapport on the phone using a range of simple and common sense telephone skills that engender politeness and a professional style. At the phone answering service we train our staff in “Building Rapport on The Phone” using ten key basic skills, such as giving our name, using the caller’s name, asking if it is ok before putting the caller on hold, using please and thank you, confirming telephone numbers and thanking them at the end of the call using their name. It is amazing how many companies answer their phones so badly yet spend tens of thousands of £s on their image and brand.

Interestingly when I go shopping, and the checkout assistant or the fast food server has a name badge I make a point using their name. The reaction I get is brilliant- a smile, eye contact and a more engaged experience which makes me feel better and hopefully lightens their day.

If you, like me, want better customer service standards seek out businesses that train staff. Next time you are served with a badge holder use their name and see what happens?

It’s a two way street and so much more fun. Let me know how you get on and comment here or come and tell me on Twitter: @GrahamOnCall



  • Great blog post Graham and you make good points, not least that best part of outstanding customer service is that people will not question the cost if they perceive the are getting good value, and great customer service is invaluable.

    As a client of Verbatim I have to say your team are consistently friendly, professional and polite when they answer and transfer calls for Morgan PR and our clients often comment on the customer service they encounter when calling us.

  • Warren Cass /

    I completely agree Graham and it continuously astounds me that companies fail to get this right.

    In fact it is taking all of my will power not to name and shame.

    Simple rule, if you are dealing with people, manners maketh man (Or women 😉 and smiling is free!

    PS as a Verbatim customer for 5 years now I know you practice what you preach!

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