How can I help you Sir? @thefuerst

By Martin Fürst


Having the masterclass “tone of voice” with Viki made me think about my customer experiences in the UK so far. What are they saying, or better what they aren’t? How is the physical customer experience designed and also could this work back in Austria?

At first, I’m going to write about my service call at Virgin Media. It took me 10 minutes to get through the automatized process until I reached a real person. Of course, there are similar service lines in Austria but you only have one step or two. But not in the UK, there are at least six steps to get through to a real person. There might be a good reason to make sure it’s you who is calling. But three times, really?
A fascinating fact is that they overlayed the phone call with some tipping noises so that the customer, me, thinks the call assistant is working very hard. You could hear the actual tipping noise and the fake one simultaneously. I’m sure there is some improvement here.
In general, it felt more like solving a tough quiz and not like a helpline. You can’t feel any entertaining and brave characteristics like you see in old ads for Virgin Media like Viki was mentioning.

Everything is digital now. It’s a bit like traveling into the future. I don’t want to disregard my country here, but we got the digital order machines at McDonald’s five months ago! I bet they installed them in London five years ago. We better hurry up! Although some things should stay the same; for example, I still appreciate talking to a human when calling my bank.

It seems like Londoners don’t like people very much. No human calling assistant on the helpline.
No cashier at the supermarket.
No bus drivers, who control your tickets.

However this is how it works in London, and I better get used to it.

Besides digital innovations, there are also some products and customer services in the UK, which I honestly admire. Two weeks ago I was at Screwfix to buy some supplies and tools. At first, I wondered how small the shop is and if they have what I need storing. But I soon discovered that you have to choose your items from a catalogue first and then order it. By comparison to Austrian DIY stores, it saves you so much time; I like it. I can not imagine how much time I spend walking around a DIY store looking for the right product. And here you directly get them delivered.

I also a big fan of the crisps packages. The fact that in one large bag are nine small ones is stunning. You don’t have to eat a whole large bag like in Austria because you can easily divide them into separate ones. For each day one or one for each friend who is watching a movie with you. I wish this would exist in Austria too.

Thanks to Viki I’m now listening and watching very closely when I experience new stuff. You can find tone of voice nearly everywhere.
It can also be what people say, how people behave or what’s written on the order list. Good job Screwfix.

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