KATIE BULMER COOKE: Customer service is important

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This week I’ve been lucky enough to do some work with the fitness team at the beautiful Ragdale Hall in Leicester.

 My goodness, what an amazing place – proper posh! It’s a spa, health club and hotel, with more facilities than you can shake a robe and slippers at.

 I was booked to meet with its personal trainers and fitness instructors to talk about the fitness industry and the possibilities for career progression and fulfillment as well as deliver a practical session to give them new ideas for their classes.

 They were a great team, full of enthusiasm and total love for their jobs.

 Once I’d finished the session, me and my mam (who’d come along for the ride on the promise of a free pamper) had the chance to use the facilities, all of which were outstanding.

 But it wasn’t the facilities that impressed me the most, it was the level of customer service.

 From the second you stepped foot in the place there was a real sense that every member of staff wanted to look after you and ensure you had the most fantastic experience possible.

 Now after all of this loveliness, you can imagine my disappointment when I came back home, popped out to the shops and was met with nothing more than a grunt from the person serving me. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, ‘Katie, you can’t expect spa level service from a local retailer’.

 I’ve got to say I completely disagree. Too often in our city, people in customer-facing roles give poor service. There’s no energy, no enthusiasm, not even a smile accompanied with a please or thank you. Honestly, it’s not good enough.

 Whether you’re a small business or a big corporate chain, you can’t afford to neglect customer experience.

 I’m not asking those in a customer-facing role to perform a song and a break dance for every customer and go OTT. I’m just saying pull your socks up, try harder and truly realise the massive impact that great service has on a business.

 I’ve been consulting for health clubs and fitness businesses across the country for years, to help them improve their service level, yet every time I come back home I’m yet to be blown away by crazy-good customer care.

 We’ve got some awesome businesses in this city, we just need to upgrade our enthusiasm at times. Imagine David Beckham was about to walk into your place of work, how would you treat him? Differently, I’m sure.

 You’d push the boat out for certain. So how about doing that for every customer who walks through the door?

 On a lighter note, this week sees me and Mr Cooke celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. So I’m taking full advantage of having my own column, and using this last paragraph to publicly say, ‘Happy Anniversary Cookey, here’s to many more happy and healthy years together.’

 Now that’s enough of the soppy stuff. Have a great week everyone.