When you get it wrong, there’s an opportunity to build customer loyalty: well done British Gas


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Here’s a great example of an Organisation that hasn’t historically had a world class reputation for service, that proves the point about how you can turn problems into opportunities (a subject I teach about in my ‘We Boobed’ classes).

We manage a block of flats as landlords agents: all these flats have contracts with British Gas for boiler maintenance: this seems to work well in the main, and we have few issues.

However, 2 weeks ago, one of the tenants complained:

‘Can you help: I’ve got no hot water, British Gas have been out 4 times, and have told me it’s a problem with the plumbing’

I go down to see what I can do to help: water is pouring out of the boiler pressure release valve, down the outside (luckily) wall. I arrange to meet a plumber there asap and tell our tenant to get BG in immediately to stop this waste of water from the boiler immediately. She does this. The next day:

‘Help: the engineer has been, can’t fix the boiler and has told me to call a plumber asap, as the main stopcock is leaking’

I go down again: water all over the floor inside because the stopcock has come loose (with all the turning on and off): it takes me 2 minutes to tighten up the stopcock with a spanner (and half an hour to empty out all the water from the kitchen, and remove the kick boards which are soaked). Why did the BG engineer leave it leaking: more than his job’s worth I expect!

The next day, our plumber arrives. We spend half an hour checking things, and it’s obvious that there’s nothing wrong with the plumbing (I mean there’s no hot water from any tap!), so I call BG and ask for a senior engineer to attend.

Then I email our contact at BG head office.

2 things then happen.

1. The Senior Engineer arrives promptly and sorts out the problem with the boiler in an hour or so (why did it take 5 visits from other engineers to fail to do this?)

2. BG head office react quickly and positively: I get a VERY polite and caring answer machine from the local manager, and call him back. He doesn’t give me any flannel, he listens and shows he cares, and the aim of his phone call is to 

  • Find out the full story
  • Find out what he needs to do to put it right
  • Gather as much info as possible, so he can take this back to his team and work on ensuring this kind of thing never happens again

I said to him on the phone: ‘The way you have handled this has increased my opinion of BG, not decreased it. Yes, the service received has been truly shocking, but you have reacted to the problem so constructively and so helpfully, that I now have complete confidence in your operation, because I know, if a problem occurs in the future, there will always be someone there to resolve it constructively’.

And that’s all it takes!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Guy Arnold
Guy is the author of 'Great or Poor' (www.greatorpoor.com ) … a simple and effective system for delivery of consistent and continually improving customer experiences, 'Go the Extra Inch' the effective way to empower your people, and 'Sales through Service' (www.salesthroughservice.com ) how to sell more through repeat business, referrals, round sales and reputation (the 4 R's). Guy helps Organisations large and small to systematically make more sales for lower costs, through 4 simple principles.


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