Sunday, 28 October 2007

Customer Service ?

I like to think I give good customer service. How do I define that ? Well, it's simple; I think how I would like to be treated when I'm buying something, and do the same for my customers. Also, I look at cases where I've come away feeling like I'm not valued as a customer, and learn from that, too.

How NOT to do customer service really is exemplified by the Royal Mail. Not content with going on strike, which really caused problems and steep extra costs for a host of online retailers, they now seem to be determined to drive away those customers who still have to use them. I've had a shocking number of items I've posted go missing or turn up damaged (despite being something of a bubble-wrap addict). Their claim procedure is convoluted and so far has resulted in pay-out on precisely... zero... claims. And their latest stunt is to return packets marked "not called for". Well of course they weren't called for ! The Royal Mail didn't even try to deliver, and when my customers went there to try to collect their goodies, they found the sorting offices all closed up by the strike and with picket lines outside. Makes it pretty hard to collect !

Anyway, rant over....

One consequence of trying to give good customer service is the number of emails I get with obscure requests. I love these, they are a real challenge, and it's fun to do some research and expand what I know ! Sometimes it's people looking for an obscure colour match, or wanting to know what colour a particular uniform should be.

But I did get one the other day which flummoxed me. Bear in mind that the paints I sell are small bottles mostly for painting models and figures. This email, though, was asking how many it would take to paint a 10' by 12' office in the colours of the German 2nd Naval Infantry Division, 1945. After spending an hour researching it (especially the coverage of the paint, which isn't specified on the bottles, as it depends how much you dilute them), I heard laughter from upstairs..... it turned out the my wife and nephew had colluded to create this outrageous request !! I feel really silly that I fell for it, but then I've had emails asking the oddest things, so nothing surprises me any more. On the upside, while I was hunting around on Google, I found an idea for a possible future range I could carry, so it's not all bad.

But I'm looking for ideas to get my own back (in a fun way) on my beloved wife and her scamp of a nephew.....

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