Serve Them Right: A Guide to British Customer Service

Title: Serve Them Right: A Guide to British Customer Service
Author: George Poppleton
Price: £8.99
Publisher: Harbour Books
Pages: 64
ISBN: 1905128010

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George Poppleton’s pocket-sized booklet takes a satirical look at customer service in the UK. Structured into thematic, witty cameos, one to three pages in length, this book overflows with sardonic observations from behind the counter on the travails of contemporary retail life.

It is difficult to say who is likely to be the main audience for this book, and whether it will be successful as a result. So while the text will touch on many of their experiences, it is hard to imagine retail employees buying it.

For this group, the author might have employed more of a punchline style of joke rather than the chosen narrative format.

The text’s wistful tone is likely to be well received by some academic and social retail commentator communities. It may even find an audience among a wider public, although cartoon strips might have worked better.

Overall, those who read the book are likely to enjoy it. However, they are also more likely to dip into it and laugh at a poignant observation of the retail jungle than read it from cover to cover.

There is a sense that Serve Them Right may turn out to be one of those well-written, occasionally witty, yet in essence ephemeral, books of the contemporary moment.

This is the sort of text that will find you quietly and cynically smiling behind its jacket title sleeve but is unlikely to inspire you to take up the cause of enhanced customer service.

Useful? 3 stars
Well-written? 4 stars
Practical? 3 stars
Inspirational? 3 stars
Value for money? 3 stars
Overall 3 stars

All ratings out of five stars

Reviewed by Dr Peter Stokes, senior lecturer, Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire

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