At some point I’m sure, like me, you will have received a letter which starts, Dear Valued Customer. And I’m also fairly sure that, like me, you then tear the letter into many pieces before unceremoniously dumping it in the waste paper bin. I don’t quite know what training courses marketing executives go on which suggests this is a good plan, but clearly its not a good one! My initial reaction to such a letter is to get very cross and bemoan the fact that I cannot be a valued customer if the company concerned don’t even know my name. But then, sometimes they do know your name and that often makes it worse. Letters starting Dear Jules Addison, are clearly written by a piece of mail merge software and are no more personally addressed to me than something delivered to Buckingham Palace.
Now I am not an expert in customer service, although I would hope I do manage to treat all my customers with respect. However, one thing I do know is how to spot a company which gets their customer service exactly right. For me that company is TM Lewin and most particularly the Bath Store. Admittedly I do help this by being quite a regular visitor to the store. This was evident a couple of weeks ago when I went in to collect a coat ordered the week before and the manager upon seeing me enter the store disappeared into the store room and came out with my coat before he even greeted me. Things moved to a whole different level however last week when my Fiance went into TM Lewin in Bath while I was busy working in order to buy me a pair of gloves (I managed to leave my gloves in Paris!). Despite the fact that Elizabeth is not always with me when I visit Mr Lewin, it seems the Manager knew exactly who she was and asked if Sir was otherwise occupied this week. Furthermore she then got a discount on her purchase.
This to me is what being a valued customer is all about. I am often branded a snob for liking 5 star hotels, nice restaurants and Jermyn Street Tailors. But it remains true that such establishments know how to look after their clientele and will therefore continue to receive my custom.