What’s wrong with UK customer service?!

What’s wrong with UK customer service?!

Something has troubled me for a few days now. There I was sitting at home, and this advert pops up on TV. Now, I can cope with the occasional bad acting, probably not with the slightly xenophobic views on cross-cultural word usage, but there is a certain line that grated with me:

“it’s UK car hire with US customer service”

Wait a minute… What exactly is wrong with UK customer service?! The assumption here is that the US has superior customer service and that it can’t be bettered. But it’s a horrible assumption – of course some companies in the US are better than others for customer service, but I’ve seen Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares USA and I’m reassured that it’s not all a pretty picture.

But the advert has small undertones that we can only have good customer service if it isn’t developed in this country, that we are somewhat ineffective at customer service - which is completely wrong.

The UK is a beautiful country with a varied past – we’ve been invaded, conquered and fought back. We’ve been the leading nation in the world, we’ve explored the world, we manufactured some of the best pieces of technology in the world and we even have some of the brightest minds in the world. But we also do have really good customer service, after all, a large part of our economy is service based.

Now, not everything is perfect, ask anyone who has to deal with an energy supplier, but these can be viewed for what they are. Large organisations that calculate their margins in all the wrong ways - they don’t necessarily need to pump all their investment into call centres because the problems can be fixed elsewhere – which isn’t the right approach.

Now, not to blow our own trumpet, but we’re pretty good at customer service – and I don’t just say that because I want to, I know it! Our customer survey statistics say so . By this I mean that we don’t measure satisfaction, we measure loyalty – the likelihood that someone will actually go out of their way to recommend us. Our score is world class, we’re among some of the best companies not only in the world, but the US too…

What do we do different? What makes us different to US companies? Well, we do quite a few things, but we’re not trying to state that we are somewhat better than the entire US – just that sometimes, a company can matter wherever they are based – and it only takes some small steps, to be brave in the market and want to be better than the rest. 

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