Claire Bradford: good customer service is so vital in digital age

Keeping customers happy is particularly vital in the digital age – it was bad enough before when people would moan about your service to their friends,but now they can do it virtually and hit hundreds of contacts with negative feedback about your business.

Plus, of course, it makes sense to give good service – that’s surely why you run a business in the first place?

Yes, things can and do go wrong.

But that’s when your service has to crank up a gear and you need to do your best to win the customer’s trust back again.

It is absolutely not a time to be surly with your aggrieved customer, shrug your shoulders and imply the blame is somehow theirs.

Sounding like sour grapes? Well, yes.

Last weekend was the Renaissance WI social, an event that around 40 of us had been looking forward to for months.

A location was booked (I won’t name and shame, but if you’re reading this and you know it was your establishment, please take note) with plenty of notice, a price agreed and a deposit was offered but declined on the grounds it wouldn’t be necessary.

A week before the event, a phone call to check some final details revealed that the date had been double booked, with the reluctant explanation ‘well we hadn’t had a deposit from you so we assumed you weren’t coming’.

On being pressed, it transpired they had called – once – to check up but had received no reply (this was mid-August – holiday season) and no message had been left.

This, to my mind, was unbelievably shoddy customer service.

Happily, the wonderful Thieves’ Kitchen in Warwick Street, Worthing, was able to take our booking at short notice, laid on a beautiful buffet and were incredibly welcoming to our group.

The staff were friendly and helpful and stayed open later than usual for us and let a few of us stragglers stay on to the bitter end as they tidied up around us.

As we left, they told us cheerily that we were welcome back any time.

Guess which establishment we’ll be booking for Christmas?

How’s your business’s customer service?

How could you make it even better?

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