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Serving up a Great Customer Experience

Here’s a nice starter and main course for you. I’ll bet the food tasted even better as a result!

We went into a restaurant at lunchtime to book for a future date. One of the party is in a wheelchair so we asked that the table be accessible – the person serving us went one better than that – he took us through to the restaurant and let us choose the table we thought best. When we chose the closest, he said it gets a draft from the door and recommended the one next to it.

Tracy Coulston

I had a fantastic customer experience the other night so thought I’d let you know. It was at Wahaca, a little Mexican restaurant just off Covent Garden set up by an ex Masterchef winner. It’s one of my favourites, fantastic food and great service (you can’t book so best to get there early or late to avoid queuing!)

Having just been on holiday to (name of country removed to avoid offending anyone please insert your choice of grumpy place here – ed.) where a request for water tends to be greeted by a sneer and occasionally the odd glass of water after your main but usually nothing, I was pleasantly surprised when the drinks at Wahaca arrived about 5 seconds after we ordered them. I had asked for a water and the waiter brought full glasses of water for the whole table plus two full jugs of water. It’s the simplest thing but no restaurants ever do that!

Sam Aling

How do You Define A Customer?

I’ve been searching the dictionaries for a definition. What have I found?

customer. noun
A person who buys goods or a service. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

Can’t argue with that. Pretty uninspiring though? What does the Compact Oxford English Dictionary say?

customer. noun
1 a person who buys goods or services from a shop or business. 2 a person or thing of a specified kind that one has to deal with: he’s a tough customer.

Oh dear, I don’t know about you but I’m not feeling the love I expect from a great customer experience. Do you have to actually buy something to be a customer? Once more from Compact Oxford, this time with a twist:

relationship. noun
1 the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected. 2 the way in which two or more people or groups regard and behave towards each other

That’s better, kind of.

What do you think? How do you define a customer?

The Art of Motor Maintenance

We like car mechanics! Over Christmas I received more positive customer experience stories about cars than anything else. Here are the best ones. Of course I couldn’t resist slipping in a story about cycling too, it does involve a car though! Thanks for the contributions, we’ll keep sharing them. Keep your positive customer experience radar tuned and please tell us when it picks something up.

My car broke down the weekend before last in Shrewsbury. I called out Audi Assistance (who are the RAC it turns out). Kevin from the RAC is immediately friendly and informative, telling me what he is finding. It turns out one of the ignition coils has blown. In trying to get a replacement for what turns out to be an uncommon part for my type of car, Kevin firstly calls Audi, then local specialists, then other members of the RAC (including one Kevin is aware is on a day off). The implications of not finding the part are that I will need to accompany the car on the back of a lorry 300 miles back up to Edinburgh, and cut short my weekend. Although he wasn’t aware of this it would also mean I missed my Mum’s 70th birthday party. So it would be good if the car could get fixed….

Eventually he tracks down an RAC colleague who he gets to drive 15 miles across to Shrewsbury with the elusive coil (all off his companies radar as this is not standard practice). Once we get the part he fits it but also has to replace a difficult to get at fuse that involves removing the windscreen wipers (!) – an absolute bugger of a job. He does all of this with a smile, a whistle and uncommon good grace.

Two hours from when he arrived – the cars starts! Ya beauty!

Kevin then contacts Audi and gets them to confirm that they will replace all 4 ignition coils as a precautionary measure when I get back up to Edinburgh. He puts this in writing for me along with reference numbers and his contact details in case there are any queries.

My sister in law came out and gave him a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit though so I guess we are even…..

Mark Laird

My best customer experience was calling my mechanic over the holiday period as my car had a serious fault. He let me bring in my car immediately to try to get it fixed before I needed it for a long journey. He looked at the car straight away while I was there, even though clearly busy with other work, and he explained and showed me everything he was doing and what was wrong with it. Even though he couldn’t fix it he recommended someone who could, left them a message himself so they’d expect me and told me exactly what to tell them. He even made sure I didn’t get charged for installing a new component which didn’t fix the car – he sent it back when he could have added it to my bill.

Mhorag Goff

As a customer the best experience I had recently was at the garage where my Mini was serviced.

The technology they now use stores all the car management data on a file stored in the key at the desk. We were able to discuss issues and see if any symptoms had been recorded in the file. This enabled the garage to immediately determine the work effort and parts needed before the car was driven off the forecourt into the repair bay. This shortened the time I spent at the garage. The WIFI and free fresh coffee made the whole experience a pleasure.

Mark Frankland

I know a lot of motorists get “bad press” among cyclists, but I would like to share a good moment…

I was riding home last night in the dark and on a straight section of road where there are a couple of blind summits, a silver BMW stayed patiently behind. When it was clear he/she (couldn’t tell), moved out to the other side of the road for a distance before pulling in. As the car passed I raised my hand to acknowledge their patience as I always do. When he had passed, he flashed on his hazard lights as acknowledgement. I noticed that it was a personalised number plate, which was easy to remember.

An easy gesture, but one that restores one’s faith in human nature, and I contentedly enjoyed the rest of the ride in a good mood.

Paul Tunnell