I recently visited The O2 for the first time; and, I must say, the customer service experience was about as good as it can get. Let me explain.
We drove up to The O2 on a Friday afternoon, a high risk decision for three reasons: first, it was a Friday afternoon; second, it was the start of a Bank Holiday weekend; third, it was raining. Driving through Tunbridge Wells is never easy but then we had the stop, start, stop, start of the M25: all in all, it became clear that we hadn’t set off a minute too soon. As it was, the journey through to North Greenwich was less painful that I thought it might be.
Driving into Car Park 1 at The O2, we were met by a hi-vis clad car park attendant who directed us to the pre-pay lane with a smile; by pre-booking a parking space I’d saved £8. As some would say: result.
As the rain continued to fall, we made our way to the venue; on walking through its doors, we found ourselves in a veritable cathedral of leisure consumption. The choice of places to eat or drink was impressive; opportunities to buy branded merchandise were everywhere. We’d already passed many branded restaurants outside the venue but decided to get inside post haste so we could get our bearings. Tickets still safely tucked in my top pocket, we sought some pre-concert refreshment.
Now at this point, although there was a wide selection of eating spots, almost all the restaurants appeared to be full to bursting. We were put off visiting Pizza Express by its long queue and we went over to Zizzi instead. Here we were offered seating outside, or inside at a small high table: we chose the latter. Obviously others had rejected the small high table but we took our chance. The place was heaving, but to their credit the staff seemed to know exactly how to handle the hungry throng. It is, of course, possible that the various chains select their very best managers and staff for The O2 and, if this was the case, it certainly showed. Nothing seemed to faze them: large parties – no problem, obscure order – no problem, slightly tipsy ageing rock fans – no problem; they’d seen it all before. The delicious pizza was perfect fare for our evening: we were looking to re-fuel. In short, the meal did what it was supposed to do; the customer service was quick, unfussy and delivered with a smile.
We took a quick wander around the venue to see what else was there before making our way to our seats. Again the staff were upbeat, pleasant and full of smiles. (The only experience that jarred me was when we bought some bottled soft drinks: without explanation, the tops were removed and binned by the server. Did she think that I was going to throw the bottles at the stage? Had she seen where we were sitting, she would have known just how unlikely this was to happen!)
After the event, it was more of the same: smiling, friendly staff. There was a long queue at merchandising, but again no problems, and no hurry; the sales assistant was happy to help and let me try on something for size, even though by now it was after 23.00; I’m sure she would have liked to have been on her way home.
“Thank you for coming,” said the security man, as we left the venue; and, to cap it all, a friendly wave from another attendant as we left the car park.
So, what is the moral here?
Perhaps we were just fortunate, but from start to finish the customer service experience was near faultless. Could it be that all the staff had had special training? Could it be that everyone recognised The O2 for what it is: a world class venue, and they wanted to give world class service? Was the 2012 Olympics feel good factor still at work?
Whatever it was, the overall impact of great customer service means that not only am I more likely to visit O2 again but also I am more likely to tell others about it too: you, the reader, for example.
‘But what about the concert?’, you may ask. Well that was pretty good too…