Monday, December 15, 2008


Four things to get through this week ... Twitter, Next Week's Post, Zac Martin and Customer Service.

1 - An update on my Twitter idea I sent to Hawthorn Football club. I sent the email but then had to send another a week later asking if they had got my email. It didn't fly and basically got a response along the lines of thanks but no thanks. They were very nice and polite about it. They did point out that Hawka is on FaceBook (I can't find him yet), are the only club to have built a multimedia studio and that they are putting thought into using Twitter.

2 - I have written to all those that have commented on my posts, or shown support and asked them to nominate a song for me to publish next week as "The Oyster Project's Christmas Hits!" (or something like that. If you want to be a contributor then let me know using doyston @ It will involve more in terms of each song but limited space here to explain. I have had a few responses so far and it has been really cool to read the different types of songs an explanations about why the people chose the song. I am really looking forward to writing that blog next week.

3 - Thanks Zac at for your kind donation to Canteen in support of my efforts on the Urban Polaris. It was very much appreciated. I owe you a beer.

4 - I was listening to episode 118 of Jaffe Juice and Joseph Jaffe he was discussing Net Promoter. Taken from their website, Net Promoter® is both a loyalty metric and a discipline for using customer feedback to fuel profitable growth in your business.The Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is a straightforward metric that holds companies and employees accountable for how they treat customers.

It got me to thinking how we treat customers at my place of employment ...

Then, with customer service top of mind I came across a pretty bizarre customer feedback situation on the weekend. I was in Myer (for those that aren't Australian, Myer is a large department store). We had to use the lift and so followed the walk way around the back of the shoe section into a little lift waiting area, out of sight, around the back. As I was waiting for the lift I noticed, stuffed in the corner, a "We welcome your feedback" stall with pad and pencils. "but we only welcome it if you can find this hiiden stand" I thought. Are they serious with putting a customer feedback stall/kiosk completely out of sight?

Then today I had to try and obtain a replacement dividend statement for some tax reasons. I called Woodside Petroleum who sent me to Compushare. I rang Compushare and was asked if I had my SRN number. I didn't know what it was let alone have it. "We'll we can't access your account information without it" I was told. "Really?" I thought. I can ring my bank and organise most aspects of my finance, I can ring the tax office and get my Tax File Number, I can even ring the doctor and get test results but you can't let me see a replacement dividend statement?

"We can send you one but we will charge $34. But if you have your SRN you can see it for free" I was told. What? Serious? You can see it and print it but if you ask the company, who you invest in, to print it and post it then you have to pay $34! Is it just me or does this sound ridiculous?

The other day I wanted a superannuation statement from the Commonwealth Bank and was told that they couldn't fax it to me. "Why not?" I asked. "We just can't" I was told. I replied with "Yes you can. It is simple, print it and then instead of stuffing it in an envelope you put it on the fax machine". I was told I wasn't being helpful!

But I must say, more and more these days I get on the phone to organise or request something like this and before I even dial I just know it isn't going to be easy. Does anyone else get this feeling? Why is it so hard to get good customer service?

But back to how we treat customers at my place of employment ...

My boss has this aspirational metaphor. He says our customers should feel like they are dropping their BMW off for a service. That is, there is plenty of parking, they are warmly greeted, they are treated well, they are known by name, their booking slot is organised and all the physical environment clues are in place. Then they get a nice call advising of the completion of the service, get a courtesy bus to pick them up and then later on they get good follow up to make sure everything was ok.

This, my boss says, is in comparison to the dodgy mechanic. You know, you pull up, no one greets you, the place is filthy and you have to wait 10 minutes before anyone comes to the counter. While you are waiting you don't feel like sitting down cause the couch is filthy and you can see through to the mechanics shop where there are posters of naked women (ok, maybe I wouldn't mind that last part). Some untidy bloke in overalls comes out and is very impolite when he takes your keys and says it will be ready at 5 o'clock (like all the cars are going to be ready right at 5!). You pick up your car and never get any follow up. Very unpleasant indeed.

Do you know any good examples of customer service that is continually repeated? Or are you like me and just know that whenever you ring to get help that they will always make it as hard as possible?


Zac Martin said...

Interesting analogy. My mechanic is definitely the guy in the dirty overalls, but his service is fantastic. Although I can't say I drive a BMW.

Disappointing to hear about Hawthorn. =(

Matt Granfield said...

Hey mate, here's a pretty sweet customer service link: - love your work. Congrats on the Moggie too!

Josh Strawczynski said...

It is amazing how often companies will try that low service stuff on you. The other side is, that society is asking for more and more, so maybe we are the also the cause!

Daniel Oyston said...

@ Josh, maybe you are right, the strain of customer service expectations may be too much for some so they just don't try hard.

But sometimes it is just the attitude of unhelpfulness that gets me.

I heard someone once say "You should treat every customer as if they were your CEO"

Morgan Coudray said...

First and foremost, the revolution in online customer service is the big names are on it.

Clearly, your post puts it well, customer service today is a great way to gauge where companies will be in 10-20 years: dead or alive?
The big ones that sit on their ass and watch the world change without getting on the bandwagon will die... and the new ones full of energy and creative innovations will blossom. With full transparency because of the internet, many are doomed unless they change... and guess what Daniel, you're doing your part.