Customer Service Tips to Get Ahead of Your Competitors

Customer Retention

Customer Service Tips to Get Ahead of Your Competitors

Something about bad service that I love… having the chance to moan about it. the chance to look at gaps in the system, the chance to moan some more and put forward some ideas that could help alleviate the situation.

I ordered a new item, it had to be delivered, “can’t be done before Tuesday so after then, before Friday afternoon for sure” Guess what no delivery. I was reliably informed they would call me before the delivery to confirm times etc.

Up to this point things had gone well, the product was good, reasonable price, service in the store was okay, good small talk, discussed a range of options and clear advice about what would suit my needs the best. Oh and they had what I wanted in stock, just the delivery had to be sorted.

Guess what, here we are, the Friday has been and gone. I ring and find out that no one had scheduled the delivery to take place. “Okay so when?” - Errg, how about Monday will you be there on Monday the guy will need a hand to unload it…” - “Yes I will be here on Monday, but they will ring first  surely?” - “Oh yeah we always do that… first thing in the morning when the deliveries are sorted out.”

It’s Nearly 10:30 am and no call yet. So much for first thing in the morning… And I have to help with the unloading, not sure that I agreed to that at the point of purchase. Never mind I will wait. I’m going to mow the grass once the delivery has been organized and I know when it will be here. 

In between I have to put lots of things on hold because I have been caught out before, no phone call, they arrive and I have gone out for five minutes to get something and they have tried to deliver at that time “But you said you would call first?” - “Yeah… nah that didn’t happen, but anyway, you weren’t home so no delivery, how about tomorrow?” I have had that too many times.

The service started out great but failed miserably on the delivery side of things. How often does this have to happen before someone takes notice. I figure no one takes notice because the deed is done, the cash is in the Till and the Customer is now forgotten.

In this competitive age you have to remember people will vote with their feet, bad service I move on.

So good business people how would you sort this one out? Here are my ideas

  • Know your customers are people and have other things to do, organize the delivery properly and set a time frame
  • Customers can review your business and tell people about how bad things were in an instant on the internet. They can do the opposite but their satisfaction levels may cause them to take longer to post a positive note.
  • Have a system to check what deliveries may have been missed.
  • Call the Customer after the delivery and check on delivery time, courtesy of the delivery team, if there are any issues.
  • Have enough delivery people so the Customer does not have to lift a finger, I don’t mind helping out but there is a limit.

All of the above is not difficult is it? NO it’s not. Keep me happy so I don’t have to find alternative suppliers in the future!

Steve Gray

Director at Gray Capital Investments

You're in business, you want to win, not fail, you want success not struggles. You have an idea, you have spent a lot of money and time getting started but now what! Get a strategy in place, develop a plan, call me and get an outsiders view on what you are doing well and what needs to happen next. In the meantime check the articles on my website. Cheers

Comments (2)
Neil Steggall

Neil Steggall, Partner at Wardour Capital Partners

An interesting article Steve. It demonstrates how so much potential is lost through the failure to apply common sense and implement basic follow up systems. When we are engaged on a turnaround strategy most of the growth in profit is achieved through the application of basic skills and systems. No rocket science needed.

Sharon Latour

Sharon Latour, Queen Bee/CMO at

Had a bit of a conversation with a Telstra business consultant this morning due to my internet dropping since September when I am working from home. The last thing I need is the internet dropping when I am working at midnight or trying to call my parents overseas. The response was that I should be home on a Friday between 8.00am and 12.00pm - because clearly any person who works can do that. Lack of common sense - which is not so common even for big telco's like the Telstra's of the world.