THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

Taking responsibility for customer service

I know I’ve said this before – but it bears repetition. Although I’m eating carb-free at the moment – and the press would have us believe that Pret a Manger are killing us all with the salt content of their sarnies… I love walking through the door of their stores and soaking up the jazz music, the hustle and bustle, the original sandwich choices and the “can do” attitude that they seem to instil in their team members. On Friday last it was Pret in the City of London as I took a break from my coaching day with James Goolnik and the team at the very excellent Bow Lane Dental Group. Here’s what was printed on the postcard I picked up by the cutlery stand:

My name is Maria Cortina I’m the General Manager at this Pret Shop. My team and I meet every morning. We discuss the comments you’ve made, the good, the bad and the ugly. If we can deal with it ourselves, we will. If we can’t, I’ll forward this card to Julian Metcalfe back at the office. I know he’ll do what he can. If you have a minute, please do ask to speak to me or one of my team right now.

I so love the way these people think and operate. Roll on Pret a Manger. Wouldn’t it be great to see a card like that in the patient lounge of a private practice? And a daily huddle where feedback was up for discussion? On a different but related note – arriving at the Watford Hilton last evening (after a 2-hour battle across London traffic), I rather jokingly remarked to Chris, the duty manager, that I’d like a “Presidential Suite with jacuzzi and sea view” – if you know Watford you’ll know how ironic that is. He duly checked me into room 283 – and my jaw dropped as I then opened the door to my brand new, recently refitted suite – complete with separate lounge area and – yes – jacuzzi bath. So there I was last night – all fur coat and no knickers – lording it around my enormous room. Couldn’t resist a quick bubble bath last night before bed – although on top of a rib-eye and a few glasses of rose I’m not sure it was the best idea. Ah well – being President for one night was fun – off to deliver my workshop shortly and then I suspect my week’s accomodation standards may decline a little. But big thanks to Chris (expressed earnestly last night after I finished bouncing on the bed in my underpants) for taking the initiative and making my evening so much fun.

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