Friday, 15 April 2011

Manners Maketh the Man

I was asked a little while ago by one of my friends (if this wasn't you, it was the other one) if I might be able to write an entirely positive post. Would I be able to quit my bitching for one day? Could I find something to be happy about or thankful for rather than just ranting and raving at the ills of my world? I said I would try, and I have, it has just always been the post I was going to write when something really got my goat.

Today, I have stayed at home. I woke up and all was well. I gave the house a thorough spring-clean and sat down to some admin. I intentionally spoke to nobody and ignored the news lest something get on my nerves. I wondered whether or not to have the Monte Carlo Masters on in the background in case something on it offended my delicate sensibilities. My love of tennis won in the end and the risk has proven well taken; Murray is even playing well. You see, when I went to bed last night, I had been reminded of something nice to write about and I wanted nothing to spoil that before I could get to the computer. And here it is.

A month or so ago I bought an inflatable roll matt for camping from Millets. As with anything under £100 I inadvisedly discarded the receipt. Night one went fine. Night two not so well. I woke up on a flat mattress with a slightly hurty back, to use the correct medical term. It appeared the screw top valve had failed. I briefly looked for the receipt when I returned home. On not finding it I simply thought I would chalk that one up to experience and throw another £50 at the problem next time I needed one.

I realised that I would require a matt for a camping-based stag weekend recently. On seeing my sad looking crumpled mattress in the corner I thought I would have a shot, no matter how unlikely, at exchanging it or securing a refund without a receipt. I called Millets who simply asked for the date I purchased it. I gave them a 2-3 day window and they said they'd get back to me once they had gone through their receipts. That they did and we found mine in no time. All I needed to do was pitch up with my bank statement to show the same total amount.

Along I trotted to the store where they were happy to either give me a full refund (not store credit) or a replacement. Whilst he processed the refund I picked up a camping first aid bag off the shelf. I had been looking for one for a while, but swamped with the myriad of choices, had yet to make up my mind. I was happy though, and filled with warm feelings towards these kind strangers, so I just bought it. You see, good customer service not only is something we should aspire to as pleasant behaviour between us and our fellow man but it more than often costs nothing, and many times will bring many benefits in tow.

The staff at Millets didn't have to act like that, and I am pleased to say they are not alone. My future brother-in-law recently got home from The Scottish Restaurant and found his bag one McSomething-or-Other light. The lady he spoke to simply took him at his word over the phone and gave him a code for a free meal next time he popped in. It heartens me to see this sort of behaviour, and especially in large companies. As much as I transfer between banks or mobile 'phone companies it seems they almost all prescribe to the "if we're all equally bastard-like you'll still give us your business because it's too much hassle to change to another bunch of equal bastards and you know it" way of doing business.

So that little piece of negativity aside, let me just say I like it when people are nice when they don't have to be. Whether it is out of Christian fellowship, a good upbringing, or a feeling that it will do them better in the long run financially, I don't care. As they say, good manners, like good grammar, are free, and that is all good customer service is really. Take a man at his word and you will be rewarded more times than you are stung, and you'll be all the better for it. Another strand of the Big Society? Maybe not, but a society where everyone behaved like my Millets men I'll wager would be less broken.

P.S. Normal griping service to be resumed shortly. If you haven't the time or inclination to comment on these posts, please use the voting buttons below so I can gauge your general opinion on individual posts (and duly ignore them).

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