Tag: Customer Service

We need to have a quick chat about the loo…

This month I had the pleasure of travelling on the Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Brussels. The experience from booking our trip to arriving back home has made Eurostar stick in my mind as an example of a business that truly understands how to convert a set of brand values into behaviours and marketing communications.

From the copy on their website to the toilet signs on-board the train, the tone of voice from Eurostar is:

  • Friendly, helpful, no-nonsense, fun, young and trendy.

It makes me want to engage in a long-term relationship with them. It makes me feel comfortable in my purchase and that I know what to expect in return for my money.

It’s the detail like: “That’s as long as each item is no bigger than 85cm…” and “…so make sure they’re not too heavy”, and “We need to have a quick chat about the loo” that works for me.

Screen shot of Eurostar baggage page
Eurostar website baggage page- informal language makes this effective
Photo of toilet sign on Eurostar train
We need to have a quick chat about the loo…

We know in life that sometimes the service delivered doesn’t match up to customer expectations. (The Marketing-Geek in me wants to tell you about the Serv-Qual model here). But with Eurostar the complete opposite happened.

My expectations were very high and Eurostar certainly delivered. My friend Vicky (I write about her quite a bit!) broke her foot on our trip and needed wheelchair assistance. Eurostar arranged this with no forward planning by us. They collected Vicky from our connecting train, wheeled her through customs, waited while we bought some coffees, got us on the train before everyone else, and supported her UK-side too.

While we were on the train home I spotted another piece of advertising that I liked:

“If you have any ideas about things we could improve, or fancy letting us know where we’ve got something spot on, text us…”

I like the informality of this and indeed it was effective- (I had to let them know our carriage smelt of wee!) (Oh how relevant that toilet sign really was!)

A poster asking for customer feedback on the Eurostar
A poster asking for customer feedback on the Eurostar

So Eurostar’s brand values, which came through in their messaging was also prevalent in their personality as delivered by their fantastic staff. The only let-down was an unfortunate smelling return journey. Smell aside, this adds up to make a proposition that sets them apart, for me at least, in the travel industry. I feel the value added through engaging communications and a service that marries up to the expectations they set, is unique.

brand proposition
A model for brand development

Have you had any similar experiences?

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Using social media for customer services

I’ve been having problems with Sky broadband for years but only recently decided to switch providers. Not being familiar with the moving process I gave Sky a call and was really surprised by the recorded intro message…

It was a Sunday, around noon. The recorded message said something like “We may not be able to help you on the phone today but our web and social media teams are here for you” (forgive me Sky if I’ve mis-quoted you).

My immediate thought went to the irony of the situation. I wouldn’t have been ringing Sky if my broadband worked and I could contact their web or social teams online.

This got me thinking about how Sky has changed it’s customer service model. It has prioritised online and social channels over traditional contact routes. And to be fair, this shift seems to be working. I had a timely, positive interaction with their Help team on Twitter just a few weeks ago.

But there are many businesses that are dipping a toe into social media, who aren’t willing to adapt their processes and who insist that if you wish to complain you should do so via their ‘accepted’ channels.

For example one business advises customers on their website, that they’ll get “the best level of service” if they report repairs or other queries by phone, letter, email, fax or face to face.

So in essence, Twitter in this case, is an okay customer communications channel, but only if the communication is about anything other than customer services. 

Historically an excuse for this could have been a lack of integration between social media platforms and business software systems meaning ‘unofficial’ contact couldn’t be recorded and therefore reported on, but I’m not sure this is a valid excuse today.

I guess another reason for this is the fear around letting customer service teams loose on social media. Often, social feeds are still largely administered by Communications or Marketing teams. Sky gets it right by putting their technical team in front of the customer, even in such a public place as Twitter. Customer expectations have shifted- we expect to be able to have conversations with brands in the social space and get the right answer at the right time, from the right member of staff.

So what I’m saying is, if you’re going to bother using Twitter or other social media to communicate with customers, make sure you’ve got the processes in place and systems support, to meet expectations, otherwise you should probably re-think whether it’s worth getting into.