Economic Intelligence for 8 Year Olds

I was recently told that writers for The Economist have to use a writing style, and words that can be understood by someone aged 8. Fantastic! I don’t care if it’s true or not, I’ve taken out a subscription in an attempt to have the world of high finance demystified. Communication is an art, an integral ingredient to a positive customer experience. Listen. Repeat. Create a common understanding.

This concept reminded me of an extract from “White Riot”, the first single by The Clash, who I just happen to think are the best band ever to stalk this earth. “All the power in the hands of the people rich enough to buy it. While we walk the streets, too chicken to even try it.”

Two minutes of blistering pure punk fury expressing itself with a clarity that few have matched since its release in early 1977. But I would say that, wouldn’t I? I’m an Englishman. The song is written by an English man about England. Were we really too chicken, or did we just not understand? What might a foreign correspondent think? Shall we ask The Economist?

“When a Briton says, ‘I hear what you say’, the foreign listener may understand: he accepts my point of view. In fact, the British speaker means: ‘I disagree and I do not wish to discuss it any further’. Similarly the phrase ‘with the greatest respect’ when used by an Englishman is recognisable to a compatriot as an icy put-down, correctly translated as meaning ‘I think you are wrong, or a fool’.

When a Briton says ‘by the way’ or ‘incidentally’, he is usually understood by foreigners as meaning ‘this is not very important’, whereas in fact he means, ‘the primary purpose of our discussion is…’ On the other hand, the phrase ‘I’ll bear that in mind’ means ‘I’ll do nothing about it’; while, ‘Correct me if I’m wrong’ means ‘I’m right, please don’t contradict me’.”

Is creative, flowery prose the way forward? How about stiff, stuffy formality? Or perhaps we should have left it to four angry Englishmen from West London? Whichever, in order to create that positive customer experience, we need to get it right.

Listen. Repeat. Create a common understanding.

What do you think?

Delivering a Great Customer Experience

I really like these two stories. Why? Well as our story teller says, the first is kind of (Post Office) counter (ha ha, please, no more I can’t take it) intuitive. It has a piece of cool technology in it too. The second tale is a good example of serious expectation exceedance, rapid fire responses (being uber critical just maybe they could’ve used the one email tho?).

I live in an apartment where, when someone rings my buzzer at the front door, it connects through to my phone. When I am not at home it diverts to my mobile. I was at a physio appointment and my phone rang. It was the postman, at my front door. He had a recorded delivery for me that needed a signature. I explained that I was just about to finish off the appointment and could be home to sign for the parcel in 15 minutes. I expected him to tell me to take a hike! He said he would wait. And he did!

Completely counter my expectation of the Royal Mail, but what great agility on the part of the individual, to deliver way above expectations. It probably also saved the Royal Mail cost of putting the package through the process of getting it to the sorting office, storing it and maybe even delivering it for a second time.

Justin Hastings

A few months ago i bought a wardrobe from m&s. It was delivered and assembled whilst i was at work. When i got home i decided it would have been a good idea for me to have measured the space for the wardrobe before ordering it as the wardrobe was too big and looked daft. So phoned m&s the next day and asked them if they would take it back and could i order the same wardrobe but in the smaller size. The call centre agent said that was no problem (bearing in mind it had been delivered flat pack, their delivery guys had spent over an hour assembling it in my house and it weighed a ton) and i then put the phone down.

20 seconds later an email came through to say my credit card had been credited with a refund. 10 seconds after that another mail came through to say my credit card had been debited for the smaller wardrobe and then i received a mail telling me the collectionm and delivery date. And it all worked. Fabulous service!

And don’t get me started on first direct – best bank in the world – wonderful, friendly, polite, proactive well trained staff. And open 24hrs a day. Shame about their overdraft charges but guess that’s my problem really….

Kay Joss

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