A fundamental tenet of good customer service was reinforced for me this week: it’s how we make people feel that counts in the long run. People remember how we make them feel.

Now before you argue with me – I’m not feeling good so on your own head be it. I lost house keys, cards, oyster card and phone all in the space of two days before a very good friend’s funeral and far from feeling liberated by lack of texts and calls I felt washed up on a desert island without hope of rescue.

Anyway back to customer service. I may be Chair of CCA Standards Council but I get it wrong too! This week, I assumed that I knew one customer well enough to know how they’d feel. To be fair I did make a few enquiries but then went ahead and made a decision on their behalf without speaking to them directly and checking what they need at this point in time. Predictably they’ve behaved unpredictably, aren’t happy, feel let down and in order to put things right I now have to undo what I thought was the perfect solution and go through the process all over again. If only I’d picked up the phone in the first place. No matter how well you know someone they will invariably not behave as you anticipate because their needs will not be the same as they were yesterday, last week, the last time you checked. You make them feel let down, misunderstood and disappointed. You have to work extra hard to undo the mistake, put the right solution in place and rebuild the relationship. Just ask!

One bright spot in the week was yesterday afternoon - at a ‘people day’ for the staff of an organisation I work with. It was brilliant and lifted my spirits. These are people on the customer service front line. It’s how they make the customers feel that reflects in the customer satisfaction measures; it’s how the organisation makes them – the employees - feel that reflects on the employee engagement survey; it’s how engaged the employees are, and how empowered they are to ‘do the right thing’, that reflects in how they make the customers feel. There were awards ranging from the Rising Star award to the Innovation award.... and although the awards themselves were small, how the recipients felt was out of all proportion to size. Maybe size doesn’t matter – maybe it is what you do with it that counts!

People remember how other people and organisations made them feel.... they don’t remember how well they performed, or how many times they had to ring back to get a problem sorted out, or how long it took....  but how the whole process made them feel. How did you feel last time something went wrong? If people pull out the stops to get your phone replaced and get you reconnected with the real world again as quickly as possible you feel good. If your house keys got posted back by caring people, and your cards reissued the next day, you tell other people how good the experience made you feel. How do I feel? I’ll leave you to work that one out. Just don’t choose today to argue with me!