Charlton reviews: It’s Personal

It’s Personal
Published by Supernova
01273 323311
Price: £899 plus vat and postage.

I once worked in a customer complaints department for a gas board in the 1970s. Customer service was an unknown concept. Customers were hapless fools who failed to realise that they were there to serve the gas board, and not vice-versa.

How times change. Now the customer is king – which brings me to It’s Personal, a video/dvd-based training package on effective customer service.

It’s set in celebrity chef land at Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant empire in Padstow, North Cornwall. Stein and his team talk about various aspects of customer care and how it’s done at his restaurant.

The video/dvd comprises three parts: It’s personal – for the customer and you; It’s personal – for the organisation too; and It’s personal – but don’t take it personally. Each part begins with an example of poor customer service, shown in black and white, which serves as an hors d’oeuvre to the main course.

Part one involves Stein and his team explaining what customer care means to them. Their opinions are split into clear categories, including having the right attitude, knowing your business and communicating positively.

In part two, managers discuss what customer service means to them. They include a financial services CEO, an NHS nursing director, and the managing director of a travel agency.

I found this part the most worthwhile. It tempered the ‘Stein-centric’ view by adding examples from the wider world, and underscored the message that customer service should be a universal business concern.

The package also includes a thorough guide on creating a customer care course based on the programme. However, it doesn’t really address issues raised by tough, or abusive or threatening complainants.

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