First published Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Today (Tuesday 29 April), Pembrokeshire has been hosting a Royal visit, welcoming The Queen and HRH Prince Philip to the county as part of their two day tour of South Wales. The weather has been on best behaviour, with sunshine and warmth bathing the county, helping to show the area off in its best light. Excited children have been waving flags, and no doubt there will have been a few adults straining to catch a glimpse of the visitors on their way past.
Obviously, there will have been some preparation going on behind the scenes to ensure that everything was looking as good as possible, and the cutlery and crockery used for lunch will undoubtedly have been washed, washed again and then polished up, inspected for any slight sign or dirt or wear. Listening to radio interviews this afternoon, and seeing a range of photographs on local news sites and social media, it would certainly seem that all has gone well, and the nerves will have now settled as everyone involved reflects on their part in the day.
Without wishing to sound like a slightly grumpy old woman, I do feel the need to ask however, why it is only on occasions such as this that we feel the need to really go the extra mile in terms of the effort and service we put in and provide as part of our day to day activity. Obviously it is important that the royal visitors get to see things in a positive light and are welcomed appropriately, but why should we reserve that kind of ‘first impression’ solely for them?
Every year thousands of paying visitors come to our county, bringing family and friends with them, be it for a day, a few nights or even a fortnight. They don’t arrive on a royal train, nor are they driven around by security guarded chauffeurs, but they do come and spend their hard earned cash here. Additionally there’s a good few thousand people living in the county who also move around within the area, spending money on days out, or a meal, or even just topping up with diesel at their local garage.
Yes, this is a topic I keep returning to. Yes, providing good if not excellent customer service is something that I believe to be very important. Yes, there are already a number of great businesses doing just that throughout the county. No, it’s not consistent. No, not everyone ‘gets it’.
Today, three of the team here in the office have been attending the World Host training course, the same customer service course that underpinned the training for the Games Makers at the 2012 Olympic Games. When they return, that will bring the total number of staff here trained on this particular course 5 out of 6. Each and everyone of us, regardless of our job role and responsibility, understands and practices the basics of good customer service. We’re not perfect, and yes sometimes things don’t go quite as they should, but we know how to handle those situations and ensure that mistakes are put right and that we learn from those errors. As such, we are getting more and more positive feedback about how we interact with our members and the broader trade, and we as a team take pride in what we do. In the next few days we will also be sharing news of another award we have received which recognises the investment we make in our people, and we are determined to lead by example, and encourage other businesses to achieve the same.
We believe that good customer service should be something each and every one of us can experience and offer. Regardless of the type of business you operate, or where you are located, or how you interact with your customers, the simple courtesies of a smile, please, thank you, and a few kind words along with an awareness of keeping the premises tidy, clean and welcoming, really aren’t that difficult to achieve.
Of course, we all have off days, and difficult customers who can really test your patience. No doubt there will have been some nervous mumblings or errors made during the royal visit today, and no one realistically expects perfection 100% of the time. It is probably impossible to offer 100% perfection all of the time, but that’s not to say we shouldn’t strive for it.
So, as we wave goodbye to Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh, maybe we could all take a moment to think of all of our visitors as being royal, and aim to deliver top quality service every day?