These days business often seems to be focussed on generating new sales rather than looking after existing customers. It appears the customer is greatly valued at the point of capture, but shortly after this they are passed onto the ‘recently joined queue’ and left there to amuse themselves and pretty much ignored until the time comes to renew their annual subscription.
The beaming smile from the reception desk is reserved for new customers only and not to be given out to every Tom Dick and Harry.
I’ve always believed that if a business focuses on delivering customer satisfaction ensuring that the customer receives complete attention and enjoys their experience with you, then they will return again and they will tell their friends about you. This to me is the best method of gaining new customers; deliver a good product to your existing customers and the new ones will follow from recommendations.
Over the past couple of years I have noticed a developing culture of sales over service. So when I had the need to make a complaint as I did two years ago after a visit to Wembley to see the England football team take on Switzerland I was pleasantly surprised with the manner in which I was treated.
The stadium was vast and it felt like I was entering an enormous shopping mall. We found our seats and after staring round goggled eyed for a few minutes we sat down just as the crowd began to cheer the players onto the pitch. I won’t bore you with details of the team or the match; it’s irrelevant to my piece.
All the fun started when the half time whistle blew and we got to have a look around the see how much money they have spent on the toilets. It was the only thing I knew about the place before I arrived, Wembley had more toilet facilities than any other stadium of its size. They seemed to have enough facilities to cater for the mass crowds, to relieve them of as much cash in ten minutes as was physically possible.
Basically the theory is, get the customers in and out of the toilets as quickly as possible because when their queuing for the loos they ain’t spending money. Unfortunately after you have been to relieve yourself in the toilets you then had to join the queue for the food, which was long and painfully slow. We stood in line for ages and then finally got to order two soft drinks from the bar which were flat, mine was actually undrinkable. I tried to find someone to change my drink or take my complaint, however the staff member couldn’t find the supervisor and the second half was about to start so we didn’t bother to pursue the matter, instead we returned to our seats with a flat coke and a sprite which was made up of only water and had cost me six quid. This was about the time that I kind of lost interest in the game and my whole Wembley experience went a bit flat.
A couple of days later I decided that Wembley should get to hear about it, I sent an email to the business development manager explaining my situation. To my surprise he replied on the same day and promised to address the problem. I was very happy when they offered me two free tickets should I be planning a return visit.
I didn’t have reason to return to Wembley until some two years later, when they kept their promise and gave me two free tickets for the England vs Moldova World Cup qualifier and they even threw in a free drink and a bite to eat in Club
I am happy to say that on my return to the national stadium, customer service was back on the menu. We were given great seats, just behind the manager’s dugout and everything went smoothly including a win for England on the night.
Although at £500 a pop, Club-Wembley seats are a luxury, one that I hope to enjoy again sometime soon.