Customer care in the community

Virginia Matthews’ jousting with the customer service industry (MW February 17) elicited a few sympathetic groans here at The Cade Partnership.

As an agency with a good deal of experience helping clients handle customer complaints, we are only too familiar with the “how may I help you?” brigade. Telephone helplines provide a marvellous opportunity to listen to, and act on, free customer opinion, though they often merely expose the main shortcoming of the medium – being put on the spot.

So if staff can’t put up, why don’t they shut up? Angst is much better dealt with by the pen than the phone. And research has shown that most British consumers feel the same way. A written reply allows time to think through a problem, consider possible solutions and ensure the complainer’s future loyalty. And not a single bar of Scott Joplin to spoil the effect.

Martin Lean

The Cade Partnership

London W1

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