As some of you will know, I’ve had a busy March and April completing the sale of one house, purchasing another, packing, moving and getting unpacked at the other end. After 21 years in our last home you can possibly only imagine how much stuff we’d accumulated. Going from somewhere with a large loft and sizeable garage to somewhere with a small loft and no garage has truly been an exercise in self discipline.
From the day we identified our future home in October to the day in mid-March when we moved in, we were involved in a full-on customer service process. I’ve written on many occasions about the Three Customer Needs: to feel Understood, Valued and Reassured. Well, this experience validated that all over again, in (removal) lorry-loads.
Let me tell you five things that struck me from our experiences…
- The best customer service comes when you are given some semblance of control over the situation you’re in. Moving house is stressful because there is so little you can control or even influence. You are entirely at the mercy of others. Being given choices, even just the power of veto, were small ways we could help ourselves feel we were at least helping to move the process along.
- Being kept informed made the difference between a sleepless night and undisturbed slumber. Even on the days when there was no news, it was enormously comforting when our solicitor or estate agent touched base, just to let us know we hadn’t been forgotten and that things were still in progress.
- Receiving a phone call was a million times better than an email. It helped us to connect with everyone involved on a personal level. Words on a screen or in a letter can be so dry. Human voices deliver even disappointments so much better, and it’s so much easier to ask ‘silly’ questions as an aside to a conversation about something else.
- Skilled experts are essential. Many problems got solved without us even knowing there had been a problem in the first place. Expertise is why our wonderful removal men were able to bring our heavy old piano into the house over lumpy paths and uneven steps without a scratch on it: they had the right gear and knew how to use it. If you want to deliver great customer service, you must give your people the right training, the opportunity to practice their skills – and permission to use their common sense.
- When people offer their help, they mean it and are delighted when you take them up on it. Our friends and neighbours old and new have been wonderful, providing everything from temporary storage space to recommending service providers to popping round with a copy of the local newsletter to knocking on the door with a well timed box of Maltesers. It’s like taking customer service beyond the minimum requirement – we should all do it more in our businesses.
So now we’re here, still pretty disorganised but home and dry. Thank you to the professionals that helped us to feel Understood, Valued and Reassured. I’m delighted to attach a link to your websites below.