Friday, 13 May 2011

Good old-fashioned customer service

Having been in retail for much of the 1980s and 90s, I tend (how sad is this) to notice the catch phrases on the roller doors of delivery vans and such. My favourites are the numberless variations on the time-honoured, We love you - you're the customer, theme:

'..where customers comes first.'

'..because you are important to us.'

'..where people come first...and come back again.'

'..where service still counts.'

'..where service still counts.'

'..where service still counts.'

Well, I'm cynical enough to believe that most such bland, all-embracing declarations of loyalty and love for You - yes, You!  tend to mean that customers don't come first; people are not important; if they come once they tend not to come back again; and service never counted for very much anyway.

Thankfully, some companies eschew the sloganising in favour of, well.. actual service. It's probably a distant memory for most of us, but the winter just past was the coldest in fifty years, and at it's worst - that's to say, over Christmas and New Year - most workforces in the service sector did what they always do: they closed up shop and went home to their families. Well, we were among the thousands who, with no water supply and /or burst pipes, wished they hadn't. I stood in a queue fifty yards long immediately after New Year, to buy compression fittings, lengths of copper pipe and foam lagging from the first harware store to re-open.

Had I known it, I could have dialled one of two telephone numbers fixed to the gate of our local builders merchants, McCloys of Killyleagh, and either Harry, or William McCloy himself, would have left said families and opened up shop to supply me from the extra stocks of plumbing gear they very prudently ordered in the run-up to Christmas. Sadly, I didn't know about this amazing level of service, but I will next time - and I've told anyone who will listen.

William McCloy's grandfather reassembled The Blue Cabin in 1921after it's sea voyage from the Isle of Man, where it had done service as a POW hut at Knockaloe Camp during the Great War - so it especially pleases me that the company is still ,as they say in California, getting it done.
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