Four Step Customer Service Approach


Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Reflections produced by our Managing Director, Pete Waller“Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the customer gets out of it.” – Peter Drucker

I’m not someone that goes to the pub often, but on Sunday afternoon I was in my local having a quiet pint relaxing before the new week started. My Zen state was then abruptly interrupted by panicked phone calls from both my wife and son shouting that water was pouring through the ceiling. I hastily gave some instructions on where to find the stop cock and shut the water off and then rushed home, my relaxation in tatters.

When I came home to water running down the living room walls and dripping from the ceiling it took me a while, and some probing questioning skills, to fully comprehend what had happened. It turns out my 7-year-old daughter was in the bath and couldn’t get the tap to turn on so called for help. My 14-year-old son then came and “helped” but in doing so splashed the walls with water. Which, to be fair to him, he wanted to clean up. Now, we have a free-standing bath on legs and as he couldn’t get his hand behind the bath to clean the wall and decided the only solution was to move the bath. So he preceded to lift the bath, full of water and my daughter and move it about a foot away from the wall, I know this as the is a big foot long scratch on the floor. He cleaned up, moved it back and then left.

When my daughter went to get out the bath she released the plug and the whole bath then fell onto the floor as the plug hole was no longer connected to the waste pipe. This is when the screaming and panic ensued, and my pint was ruined. On questioning my son, not very calmly, why he moved the bath his response was that he just thought it was a bit of furniture and didn’t realise it was connected to pipes – he is very bright, although I am questioning his practical logic.

I wasn’t happy and really layered on him that not only has he clearly discounted the waste pipe and damaged the bath but that he may have pulled out the hot and cold pipes, but this would be under the floor and if we had to rip up the floor it would cost us thousands – this didn’t make him feel much better about himself.

So the reason for sharing this story is that having shut of the water, I messaged a plumber on Sunday evening laying out the challenge. Not only did he respond immediately but he agreed to come round at 8 am Monday morning.  He then turned up on the Monday, early, and spent several hours assessing and fixing the problem. 

Whilst he was here I reflected on our customer service programme and gleefully ticked of all the steps within it as he so perfectly demonstrated them. He acknowledged my issues in responding to me and coming round as soon as possible, he took full responsibility and accountability of the issues, turning up when he said he would, he demonstrated true empathy in dealing with, what for me was a difficult situation, both in his messages and when he was here and he showed true expertise, knowledge and experience in sorting the problem out and putting me at ease. 

Our programmed has a 4 step approach (Acknowledge, Assist, Answer and Advice) which can be delivered in tiered capability or experience levels – bronze, Silver, Gold. Our plumper certainly got the Gold award my son on the other hand owes me his paper round money for the next 20 years.