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TSR Blog

Five of the Best! (And a few of the Worst…)

- Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Working in customer service for a living is fantastic. Providing the best service we can is something we work on every day, and because of this, for better or worse, customer service outside our business is something I notice as second nature.

This “sixth sense” that has slowly developed over many years in the hospitality industry is great, because I’m constantly the lookout for fresh talent, a wonderful experience, or a new business to reward with my loyalty because of their great service. On the other hand, bad service sticks out like a Collingwood supporter at AAMI Stadium, and unfortunately for business owners such as Jason and myself, it's usually (though not always) the employees that let the business down.

Having noticed my quota of both exceptional and poor examples of customer service across the average week, i have outlined and graded ten examples below. Enjoy!

Top of the Class

A+ Coles Trolley Boy
Apparently gone are the days of torn jeans, a pantera t-shirt and the token headphones on the car park trolley boys. This young man was dressed as one of the Coles 'team members', had a great smile, and proudly unhooked and presented each customer with a trolley as they approached. First class introduction to the shopping experience! (courtesy

A- Fruit and Veg Market Cashier
Maybe a little over the top, but proud, passionate and genuinely happy at work (or a very good actor!). Fast and efficient, and even asked if I'd found everything on my list. I hadn't, and the young fella grabbed both items I was missing. Great upselling technique.

A- Subway Sandwich Artist
In a weak team (I know because this store is a great convenience to me), my new best friend at my local Subway is a shining light. So fast, it takes her about 13 seconds to have your 6 inch chicken fillet wrapped and the offer of a 'meal deal' before you, all with a fantastic smile. Superstar!

B+ The Servo Bloke
This is one that really gets me. The single line when there's four staff, the "2 for everything" (I only want one!), and the guy so bored he's rating this week's Picture Homegirls in order of bust size. 
 What a nice change the independent owner operator is. Cheaper fuel, a good bloke, a quick chat and out the door. A refreshing change from the supermarket servos, and nice to support a businessman that is capable of uttering more than those two words. "Twenny Mate."

B KFC Drivethrough
Yes, we all have a few beers on the weekend, and yes, we all have our miracle next day cure. In this case- KFC chips.
Given the mood I may approach the drive through on a sunday afternoon, the notoriously painful KFC experience is slowly turning the corner. In the past fortnight I've been treated to some great service from all windows flying the Colonel's red and white flag, in particular the usually disinterested female staff. Almost worth the extra pint. 

A lot to Learn

C Call Couldn't Wait
My local is a top little pub, and all in all the staff are pretty good, which is why this manager stands out for all the wrong reasons. I understand a manager's role, and how many things are happening at once, but answering his phone while pouring beers, talking for a while, and putting a hand out for money with no words or eye contact is not the way to make friends. Shocking example for his staff too.

D The Subway Owner!
This bloke is not who trained my superstar Subway girl, but is probably the reason she is the only ace in customer service he holds. Very rude, blunt, slow and a slob- a reason to never return. (thanks again,

And repeating this year...

F The Virgin Mobile Salesman
Honestly, I'm not really sure what to make of this one. I thought phone companies set pretty challenging targets for the sales and contracts they expect of their staff, but maybe I was wrong??
When I asked which iPhone plans were available, I was told pretty bluntly that they were all "way expensive, as most of the plans here are", and to try Crazy Johns (Vodaphone) downstairs. Nice one.

F Owner/ Operator Newsagent
As I said above, it's often the employees letting the business down. Sadly, not in this case. This man (who I know is the owner) was listening to a race during my (and 7 other people's) visit, and only started serving once his race was over! Ignored the queue completely, clearly lost his bet, and seven potential customers in the meantime. Shocker!

Thankfully the world of service is rotating the way it should for me this week, though if I keep visiting newsagents (or try and buy a pie at AAMI Stadium!) I might change my mind...

We love to hear stories (good and bad) regarding customer service at TSR, so please email us yours, or comment below! We'll publish some of your experiences in our next newsletter, and send the best entry a bottle of Yarra Valley Pinot. Thanks for reading!

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