Customer Service

Earlier this year, I was asked if I would like to join the local college’s Hospitality and Catering assessor team – initially working on Customer Service NVQ Assessments. I agreed and the eventual work-load has been quite minimal; but that’s fine because my other work has picked up recently (see previous post).

Being a member of that team is like working on an early episode of New Tricks – both David and I are real old-lags, having worked for what is now The College previously, but that’s great, we know the ropes.

I haven’t earned a penny yet – but that’s F.E. for you.

I mention this because this week, I’ve experienced both sides of the customer service industry – the dark side that we often speak about and the really really good side, that we rarely mention. My check-in at the Travelodge in Maidenhead was smooth and efficient and when I returned to say I didn’t like my room [just inside the door from Reception, twin-bedded, cold and loads of road noise], I was just as smooth and efficiently given another – this time with a double-bed, a heater and another smile.

The taxi service I’m using to get me from the Travelodge to BCA and back have also been great. I phoned Ontime Cars last week and negotiated a price for the week and they’ve been true to their word. Apart from one day, I’ve had a different driver for each journey and they have been jolly, chatty, polite chappies with a ‘sir’ at the end of every sentence: “Are you warm enough sir?”, “Have you have a good day sir?” – great service.

Then tonight I hit the dark side. I walked into the Hobgoblin (pub) and despite looking hopeful amongst the arsehole bar-flies lounging around the bar, I couldn’t find anyone to serve me. No customer service at all. Then, in another pub I was served by the new boy. I don’t have a problem with that, he did his best, but boy did he need help – which wasn’t forthcoming. And that surprised me because Wetherspoons are usually very good at that sort of thing (I got another, older, new boy last night and he was brilliant). After a lot of faffing about he managed to get my Beer (£2.09) right and my food (£8.09) ordered. The till told him the total – £10.18p! I gave him a twenty and he gave me £10.18 change. Now, I know that many places take the ‘loss’ and others don’t, they take it from the server’s wage – so I told the lad what he had done wrong and he said (in his most assured voice) “no sir, it’s a special offer on the beer, your change is correct”. FFS!

Later, a manager passed me by and I called him over – I explained what had happened and after a good deal of explaining and re-explaining, he ‘got it’ and put the matter right. He was one of the ones that could have helped ‘the boy’ earlier – so he went into my poor customer service book too.

Then retuning to the hotel  and finding that my borrowed DVDs were in fact BluRay (MacBook spits them out) – I went down to the bar and – found no one there to serve me. Grumpety grump 😦



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