‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel’
Back to normal this week – I love a good blog post on a Tuesday, the worst day is out of the way and we can focus on the glorious week ahead!
As I type, I am being stared out by the beautiful autumn sunshine – and what a pleasure it is to see it out. I love this time of year, such beautiful colours, and the perfect mix of sunshine and cold for ‘blow away the cobwebs’ kind of walks. Rich and I went for an afternoon tea this weekend in the vain hope that we’d get that kind of weather and be able to walk off the cake and scones…but it wasn’t to be. Saturday, you might remember, was a bit of a write off, and the second time I’ve managed to book the venue for a rainy day (typical).
While I won’t mention the venue we visited by name, I will tell you about the experience we had when we first tried to have our afternoon tea way back in August – it’s an interesting lesson in how to not treat your customers.
My sister bought us the afternoon tea experience for Christmas (that’s a big old ‘high-five’ to my organisation skills that it was finally booked in August), and we had picked the venue based on several really good recommendations – so we were really excited. I should at this stage point out the kind of venue we were at – it was essentially a big manor house, with a fairly extensive history, so there are tours that run periodically, as well as afternoon teas and dinners. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving Rich and I had got lost – so that’s the sort of size we’re talking.
Anyway, issue number one arose when we arrived at the venue, and were told our name wasn’t on the bookings list. We were put in what was essentially the naughty corner, while the manager was called to deal with us. He decided we were allowed to have our tea and scones, so we were freed from the corner, and taken through to the room where tea would be served. This is where we experienced issue number two. There was a tour running in the room that we were escorted to. Instead of waiting for the tour to move on, our host felt it appropriate to cut through the middle of it, and plonk us down in front of an audience. I wanted the ground to swallow me up, I’ve never felt so many eyes staring at the back of my head. The embarrassment continued as our host entered into an impromptu ‘who can shout loudest’ competition with the tour guide – asking if we wanted ‘TEA OR COFFEE!?!?!’ ‘SUGAR!?’ While it was absolutely mortifying, I could not stop giggling with Richard while we continued to sit there in the middle of the history tour – it felt like we were back in a school assembly whispering gossip back and forth, trying not to get told off. When our host arrived back with our tea (no sugar) – we were informed as they were short staffed, we couldn’t have any other drinks, as they would need to collect them from another part of the house. As there was only one poor person serving, the service was slow and inattentive – which was a real shame, as the food was lovely, and the venue had a huge amount of character. I emailed their customer service manager the day after our visit, and they came back to me very apologetic, and offering the opportunity to try again – which we did this weekend – and it was lovely – an entirely different experience. (I did email them back thanking them for a much better experience – I’m the first to write and say when something is good, I promise!)
I don’t know if it’s just me (whether I’m getting old, or just much less tolerant), but I do find that customer service seems to be something that people are either really motivated to get right, or just totally uninterested in. It could be that I’m a particularly sensitive soul (Richard would say I am) – but I normally leave a restaurant / café / shop with a feeling that I’ve either been treated really well, or really poorly. I rarely leave without forming an opinion one way or the other. It can’t just be me – trip advisor is built because of people like me, google reviews was made to be an outlet for people like me.
It’s why we spend so much of our time in the dental world perfecting how we are with people – reminding ourselves what customer service is, what the best kind of patient experience is. We know our levels of service have to be at the highest peak, because you’re not just popping in for a coffee (although we do have excellent coffee here, just FYI), or buying a jumper – you are trusting us to look after you. We want you to leave with that feeling of being well treated, and satisfied that you have had the very best experience. The Briars has worked hard to establish a team that allows for each person to be looked after based on their individual needs, so there is never a feeling of being passed from pillar to post with nothing being achieved. We pride ourselves on creating an environment that is of high quality – squishy sofas that you end up snoozing in, cups of tea while you wait, up to date magazines to catch up on what Kate Middleton was wearing last Thursday – and that’s before you even step foot in the surgery.
We also really value your feedback, whether it’s a like on a Facebook post, a review on Google, (or a follow on the blog…) – it’s helpful for us to know both the areas in which we excel, and those in which we fall short.
Anyway, I’ll stop with my customer service ranting – it is one of those things I get a bee in my bonnet about! I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week!
Amy xGo Back