Customer service is the topic of this blog, or rather the lack of it.

We’ve been working with ‘retail guru’ Angi Egan – a coach who goes into businesses large and small and shows them how to give their customers more while improving their business.

One of her key messages is that, as a nation, we Brits suck at customer service. It should be so simple but we seem to get it wrong time and time again.

One example of this is the hairdressers appointment I had back in October. HCUK in Birmingham cancelled my hair appointment two weeks in a row and tried to mitigate through offering money-off vouchers – which doesn’t help if they can’t give you an appointment to spend them.

What they say is that they “believe in being a good friend… every individual should leave the salon looking and feeling fantastic.” And, what I say about them; HCUK might be good at cutting hair, they might do all the things that a hair salon should do, and you might leave feeling fantastic… but none of that matters if they can’t outshine their competition in terms of customer service.

You expect a hair salon to be fantastic at cutting and colouring hair, you shouldn’t have to comment on it. What makes them stand out is whether their actions live up to their corporate mission and values.

What makes any company stand out is being able to provide exactly what you want exactly how and when you want it.

For that, try BintheCity – who not only made me an appointment to cut and colour my hair within hours of calling them but also made me feel so relaxed that they were able to up-sell their beauty treatments upstairs.

So, for sustainable public relations activities, we need to be part of the ‘dominant coalition’ – the people calling the shots for the overall business strategy. We need to make sure that our clients are providing exactly what their publics want how and when they want it. But, we also need to make sure that they go above and beyond – customer service should be at the forefront of a PR practitioners mind as our employees, colleagues and publics are our ambassadors.

And, with digital technology, what other people say about you can spread half-way round the world in a matter of minutes.