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It’s time to stop the Covid blame game

Written by Charlie Mullins on Tuesday, 10 August 2021. Posted in Insight, Analysis

We’re living in a Covid-centric world. It’s dictated how people live their lives for the past year and a half and I, like pretty much everyone else - am sick and tired of it.

It’s time to stop the Covid blame game

We’re living in a Covid-centric world. It’s dictated how people live their lives for the past year and a half and I, like pretty much everyone else - am sick and tired of it. But, what I’m also bored of is this virus taking the blame for everything that goes wrong – it’s become the UK’s personal scapegoat and it has to end!

Businesses have been using the pandemic as an excuse for unacceptable service and some are even starting to blame the virus for their poor quarterly sale figures. The UK Institute of Customer Service has found consumers were initially tolerant of delays but now they’ve had enough. The number of complaints is at its highest since 2009 with a quarter of the 10,000 people surveyed saying that the organisation in question had blamed poor service on the virus. The list of culprits are what you would expect: transport, local public services - such as GP surgeries, councils and police services, and telecommunications. 

I don’t for one minute want to suggest the coronavirus is not real or to minimise the damage it has done to the country, and to people’s lives, but it’s time to stop blaming every little thing on the disease.

Reasons for bad customer service that aren’t Covid-centric

If Covid isn’t to blame for bad customer service, then what is? We should certainly turn our heads to the working from home culture that’s emerged in the UK.

The pandemic forced many employees to stop their daily commute to the office and exchange their desk in the city for their kitchen table. How can staff be in the right head space to work when they’re working in their pajamas and can hear the beeps of a finished dishwasher in the background? 

Staff are less motivated when working from home as they’re distracted, sadly delivering top notch customer service is not on their priority list when their boss is not in ear shot and they can see a dirty pile of laundry that needs doing.

Working from home has also left many workers feeling less stimulated, with a recent study from insurer Aviva finding that workers care less about their jobs now than they did pre-Covid. The study also revealed that a lack of clear boundaries between work and home life could be to blame for this emerging trend. Again, how can we expect people to deliver good customer service when they simply do not care about their job anymore?

Working from home needs to go and I am a strong advocator for everyone getting back to work. A return to the office will help motivate staff again, which means better customer service, leading to more loyal customers. And every business leader knows that loyal customers result in a better bottom line.

Follow the Pimlico way

At Pimlico Plumbers, we pride ourselves for delivering the best service our customers could ask for. We do this by ensuring our staff are happy and motivated at work by giving them fantastic work perks and by only recruiting the best, most dedicated talent. 

For example, throughout the whole of lockdown, all our engineers continued to go to work with a smile on their face. As a thank you, staff received a bonus, free lunch and we’ve even started having BBQs on the roof terrace again. We acknowledge the work our plumbers do and thank them throughout the year. Other companies should take note!

As a result of the team’s hard work, Pimlico Plumbers recorded its best sales year to date, making £48 million in the year to the end of May. This further proves that Covid is not an adequate excuse for why some businesses are failing, rather an opportunity to work around the virus and become resilient to it, like Pimlico Plumbers did!

It’s time businesses think about how they treat staff in order to ensure they are dedicated to delivering the best customer service possible. Once businesses follow this business model, I’m sure they’ll also follow suit and record their best sales year as well! The sooner businesses stop making excuses because of Covid, the sooner they can step up and start serving their customers properly again.

About the Author

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins

Charlie Mullins is founder of the UK’s largest independent plumber, Pimlico Plumbers and we're lucky to have him as our go-to guy on everything from growth to government.

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