Richard Maun – story

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Tips and stories to add value to you and your organisation


What Makes For Good Customer Service?

4 July 2010

I want fireworks on my icecream...I'm the customer, so go on - delight me!

I want fireworks on my icecream...I'm the customer, so go on - delight me!

Ok, it’s no secret, but sometimes I just have to lick something and that something is ….icecream. We have a range of shops and deli’s in Holt and so we’re pretty well served on the icecream stakes. We can do better than an orange Mivvy or a tub of something yellow and waxy, as per Walls c.1975. Oh, I remember that they made both icecream and sausages…what an obvious product combination. There was probably more of an overlap in ingredients than I care to imagine too.

The point of this happy rambling is to tee up the story which I will now tell. As is my habit I sometimes head out of the office for a tub of something cold and soft. A week ago I ambled into a shop, that had served me well the week before, and striding up to the counter I smiled and said:

‘Ah hello, can I have scoop of maple and walnut with one of those crispy thingies please?’

‘No. You can’t,’ and the assistant handed me a tub containing just icecream.

‘But I had a crispy thingy last week!’

‘No, they’re only for people eating in, not for take aways.’

‘But the other lady gave me some….’

‘No! That will be £1.80.’

I paid up and wandered out of the shop. Should I have made a scene and asked to see the manager? It seemed a trifle petty to haggle over a crispy thingy, worth all of 2p, but I did feel cheated because the week before I had ordered a couple of scoops and the assistant had given me a variety of crispy things. I was delighted and vowed to make the shop my icecream-stop of choice. But oh not any more. How cruelly I had been deceived and now how let down I felt. They weren’t interested in delighting their newest customer; they didn’t even listen to him.

People Have Emotions

My delight from week one turned to disappointment in week two as I felt they were charging a premuim, but now only supplying a standard product. Added to the fact that I wasn’t listened to, it made me wonder how customer loyalty has to be maintained at all times. People all have emotions and being told you’re wrong in a shop full of old ladies, with flapping jug ears, was not a great experience. The child side of me (we all have one) felt hard done by and so and in the best tradition of people who get poor service, I told everyone I met about the lack of crispy things at that particular shop.

What Happened Next…

It was hot this week (you might have noticed), so I decided to give the shop one more chance, in the spirit of consumer testing. This time I marched in and without hesitation asked for:

‘A scoop of maple and walnut and a scoop of creme brulee and a wafer please!’ Ha! I was full of technical jargon this week!

‘Of course’, said the assistant, with a smile.

‘Were you the lady who served me last week?’ I asked

‘Yes’, she sighed, ‘I thought you had asked for sprinkles!’

Choose Your Moral

She did give me a wafer, although her colleague had given me three, but I wondered as I licked, what the moral of the story is. Perhaps it means that you have to know what to ask for to get good service?  Perhaps you have to ask for three wafers in life, if you want three? Maybe it’s about making sure your staff know what the product is and have authority to do that little bit extra to delight the customer? Or, it could be that if you’re serving someone you have to listen to them and help them to articulate what it is they want. Guessing, or just saying ‘no’ isn’t going to win you many new customers.

You can decided what great customer service means to you. I’m off to get licking, because today is my birthday (5th July) and I love birthdays, so it could be a three scoop day… (Happy birthday to you too if this is your special day as well).

Our Task For This Week

If we have a new project, or customer, or team meeting perhaps ask ourselves how we can delight those present? We might buy them a cake, or finish the meeting on time, or stroke people a bit more for their efforts. Whatever we do, we can all provide people with excellent customer service and feel good about doing it.

FREE Sample Book…at last a book written for the UK/European market!

Do you know someone who is looking for work and needs a hand? Or is about to be made redundantand needs to make a start in sorting out their CV? Marshall Cavendish have put together a sample ebook of Job Hunting 3.0 which features the whole of the first section called ‘Getting Started’ and the whole of the final section called ‘Checklists’ containing (no surprises here) useful checklists full of interview questions, process tips and essential information for success. If you would like an exclusive copy; email me, subscribe to the blog, or use the contact box and I will zap a copy right back to you.

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+++NEWS we’re still collecting CVs and places are filling up so please apply quickly+++ At Cranfield University we’re running an Enhanced Personal Development Programme, starting 3rd September and lasting for 4 weeks. If you know someone who is unemployed (or about to be made redundant) and who would like to learn about job hunting skills, management skills and have fun on a real consultancy project then contact me now. Places are limited and an opportunity to spend 4 weeks full-time at one of the best universities in the world is not to be missed. I’m the Programme Director and one of the lecturers, so I can vouch for the excellence of it!

Thank you for reading to the end and remember to eat some icecream if you’re in need of a treat in the hot weather…

Next week is a brief introduction to the Child Ego State…which is part of the next series of blogs about Transactional Analysis.

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Putting The Eyes Into Interviews

30 March 2010

Look down dear, I'm over here!

Look down dear, I'm over here!

A cheery story came my way last week when a colleague emailed to let me know that he had finally secured a full time job and was grateful for my help. I banked the stroke and being a curious fish, asked what I had done that had really made a difference. He instantly replied:

“Well, it sounds mad, but it was Crow really. He reminded me to keep making eye contact with people and when I had a panel of three managers at my second interview it went really well.”

Eye Contact Counts

Oh yes, the power of the Crow. He came along to a couple of my lectures and squawked when people ignored him during their Minute to Win It*. This managed to put delegates off their stride, which was the point really, because there’s no point in talking if you don’t make eye contact; your words are mostly missing their target.

Good eye contact has a gentle rhythm to it of 1-2-3-move 1-2-3-move, which means holding contact for three ‘beats’ and then bobbing on to the next person in the room. If there’s just the two of you then you can avoid staring by looking down as you write a note, or by looking away whilst you think, making sure to look back in order to deliver your answer with enthusiasm.

The power of the Crow was really to provide my colleague with a strong memory that served as an anchor for positive behaviour when under pressure. I shared the stroke with Crow and he was happy. After all, it’s not everyday you help someone get a job when you’re a shaggy black bird (not a shaggy blackbird).

So, the next time you are in a meeting, about to start an interview, or pitching your product to people, remember the Crow. You don’t want to get squawked at do you?

Has This Raised Issues for You?

If you know someone who needs to improve the way they make eye contact and would like to meet Crow he can be contacted through Richard by clicking here. All coaching is confidential and all workshops run the risk of being fun.

*A Minute to Win It is a very effective way to sell yourself, or a product, or a service. There’s more information in the book Job Hunting 3.0 which will be published on 15th June. Subscribe to the blog for updates and free downloads.

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Riding the Rocket

How to manage your Modern Career

Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



Bouncing Back

How to get going again after a career setback

Published 2012 Marshall Cavendish



How to Keep Your Job

Brilliant ways to increase performance, stay employed and keep the money rolling in

Published 2011 Marshall Cavendish



Job Hunting 3.0

Secrets and skills to sell yourself effectively in the Modern Age

Published 2010 Marshall Cavendish



Leave the Bastards Behind

An insider's guide to working for yourself

Published 2007 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish



My Boss is a Bastard

Surviving turmoil at work

Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


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