Can customer service be trained?

Of course it can!

End of blog.

Not really… I have more to say on the matter.

I was in the bastion of customer service that is the Post Office on Saturday morning and had a shocking experience, delivered by Frank, the Post Office manager.

The queue was out of the door and, naturally, I was in a hurry. There were two cashiers working and Frank was clearly wandering about doing ‘important’ things. (I know his name was Frank not because he was wearing a name badge, but because one of the cashiers called out ‘Frank, can we have some help, please?)

Frank disappeared out the back faster than a rat out of an aqueduct, but returned a few minutes later to begrudgingly serve on the counter. Lo and behold (surprise beyond surprise) the queue began to move quicker. It was my turn and as the person in front of me vacated the window where Frank was based I stepped forwards. I can only replay the conversation to you now how it actually happened (in front of about fifty people who were in the queue behind me:

Richard: Hi. Can I send this letter by first class, please?

Frank: I haven’t called you forwards yet.

Richard: Oh, sorry. But now I’m here, can I send this letter by first class, please?

Frank: I’m not serving you until you return to the queue.

Richard: You are kidding!

Frank: (silence and a stare)

The queue: (snigger, snigger, snigger)

Richard: Are you ready to serve me or not?

Frank: (silence)

So, my tail well and truly between my legs, I returned to the queue. Frankly promptly shut his till and left the counter leaving me, the other cashiers and most of the queue flabbergasted.

A voice chimed out: ‘Counter number four, please’ and, in a daze I moved forwards. There was a young guy behind the counter, looking slightly apprehensive. Here’s how the conversation with Asif went (Asif was wearing a name badge):

Asif: Hello there. I’m sorry we’ve kept you waiting. What can I do for you today?

Richard: Can I send this letter by first class, please?

Asif: Of course. Is there anything valuable in the letter?

Richard: No

Asif: Okay, that’s £1.57 please… and can I just tell you about the benefits of the Post Office credit card?

Richard: No thanks.

Asif: Okay. Thanks for using the Post Office and we’ll see you next time.

Richard: Yeah, thanks.

Exit stage left, still slightly dazed.

So, we have two examples of customer service in cameo… Frank and Asif. Frank is clearly far too important to consider the impact he is having on customers but Asif was professional, slick and friendly… and you can’t tell me that he took it upon himself to ask about Post Office credit cards! He’s been on the Customer Service training course and, boy, did it show!

The difference was immeasurable and I have to say that I am looking for an alternative to the Post Office because of Frank… but I‘m not looking too hard because of Asif.

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