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Customer Service – Getting it right & getting it wrong


Having just returned from an amazing 2 week trip to Florida I have come back feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the world, well maybe just Hertfordshire, and the first thing to do is my blog.  I am supposed to do one at least once a month (or so Reagan & Jane tell me) but for some reason there is always something else to do.  Having seen what an amazing job the ladies have been doing with our website though and the frequency that I used Facebook while I was away, I am resolved to embracing this side of our marketing strategy.

The interesting thing about my trip to the U S of A was the contrasting levels of customer service that we received.  I am a big fan of the States and in the past have always experienced an exemplary level of service wherever we went, but this time it seems to have slipped.

The reason I found this so interesting was that I work in a service industry but sometimes you forget just how much difference service makes.  I often get asked by a customer on a valuation what is the difference between Sewell & Gardner and our competition and I always tell the customers our level of service is the best, but I just don’t think customers realise what a difference this can make.  The best example for me was the theme parks I went to, Disney’s Magic Kingdom vs. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, 2 amazing theme parks, b ut 2 very different experiences.  At Disney we were made to feel extremely welcome and the service was excellent and with Universal the opposite could be said and we decided as a family not to go back to Universal again.  Knowing that I am suc h a fan of Florida I know I will go again and this poor service has cost Universal repeat business, which is the most profitable business that you can do.

With this in mind, Friday 20th April brings us to the 2012 ESTAs http://www.theestas.com/, the National Television Awards to the BAFTAs, basically these are the awards that are voted for by our customers, NOT a select panel of industry experts.  As you frequently hear Ant ‘n’ Dec and Harry Hill tell us at the NTAs, an award voted for by the general public is the real measure of your service.  Don’t get me wrong, I am delighted with our previous victories in the Sunday Times and Negotiator awards, but these are decided by people viewing our business from the outside, our processes, systems, branding and training, the ESTAs is our customers assessing the service they have received from us, to my mind the real test of a business.  96% of the customers that have used our SALES, LETTINGS & NEW HOMES teams this year would HIGHLY recommend us!

Bearing in mind my experience at Florida I am delighted that so many of our customers would recommend us and indeed use us again, however, we will not be resting on our laurels until we hit 100%.  Fingers crossed for Friday.