Thought Leadership


By Colin Walls

As I have mentioned on a previous occasion, I am always interested in approaches to customer service and I do endeavor to provide feedback, whether good or bad. How that feedback is received and responded to is often a good indicator of the company’s culture and attitude.

I will give you a couple of examples …

A while ago I was traveling to Israel on a red-eye flight with British Airways. We were nearing our destination and I asked if I might speak to the Cabin Service Director. In due course, he came along rather meekly and he addressed me by name. This was a strong positive point – he had taken the trouble to check that. He was clearly expecting me to complain about something. It was very entertaining to see his body language change as I spoke to him. I explained that I just wanted to give feedback: it was a great flight. The food was delicious, the service was excellent and we were on time. I would be getting of the plane in a better state than I got on.

If only life could always be that pleasant.

I was recently visiting the city of Bristol with my daughter and her boyfriend. We went for lunch at an up-market burger place, which I have enjoyed many times before. [I won’t name them here – email me if you are curious]. I placed the order for the food, pleased to be able to exercise some BOGOF vouchers – nowadays I always check on the Internet before visiting a restaurant to see what offers are available. I also ordered some drinks, of course. The restaurant was very busy, so we were not expecting particularly prompt service, but we were not in a hurry. In due course, the food arrived, but no drinks. I enquired and the waiter asked what I had ordered. He then came back for confirmation of what I ordered. So I had actually placed the drinks order three times, even though they had a record on their computer from the first time. I was unimpressed. Eventually the drinks arrived. Unfortunately I was not too impressed with the food either, as mine was really not as hot as I would expect – not quite cold, but heading that way.

Later, we were preparing to leave and I asked to see the manager. I gave him my feedback, saying that I would probably be back at some point, but was disappointed on this occasion. He apologized profusely and refunded the cost of the drinks. I think that was good enough – do you?

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at