Saturday, July 25, 2009

sorry to disturb you ......

A week or so in France and I am reminded why customer service is the fundamental backbone of any consumer facing business.
It simply does not exist here....

Misleading Customer Service Kills Your BusinessImage by libraryman via Flickr

Perhaps its flying out here with Ryanair that sets you up so nicely.

Why is it that the customer is made to feel that he/she is imposing, disturbing or disrupting the way in which things usually work?
Why is everything the customer's fault? Why does the French 'service provider' (they'd blanche to hear that expression) enjoy an argument so much?

All this makes me more determined than ever to re-inforce the guiding principles behind building great consumer brands - listen carefully to the customer - focus all energies on providing solutions and removing friction from processes. Genuinely try to delight the customer.

The lesson from Zappos (and others) must be pretty clear now. Customer service is a key differentiator in the competitive landscape in which we operate.

Fizzback - about whom I've written a few times in the past - is building a great business providing companies that really care about this stuff, smart efficient channels to accept feedback, interpret it and act on it.
Uservoice is doing similarly - for on-line services. See previous post re Uservoice here. .. 'suggestion box for the web'.

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  1. As you say, in France it seems to be a deep routed problem. I have never done business in France, but it would seem like a great opportunity to set up a Zappos like business in France as it would stand out so much.

    Ryanair astonishes me. The last time I flew with them they played out very loud adverts for their on-board energy drink over the loud speaker over and over again. I guess they are protected somewhat by the fact they are the only carrier that fly on many of their routes. It would be interesting to know how successful they are on the routes where they go head to head with easyJet.

  2. Living in Paris at the moment, I have the exact same experience and, unfortunately, you get used to it !!
    I still think that if an economic incentive, French businesses would become better however, in most of them there is none - you still go to your local butcher because he's the closest not because he has the best service...
    Until money pushes it, it won't happen I'm afraid....