IELTS Cue Card Sample 403 - When you received a good service from a company

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe an occasion when you received a good service from a company or shop.

You should say:

  • what the service was
  • when you received the service
  • where you received the service

and explain why you think it was a good service.

Model Answer:

Hmm, this is a hard.  It is a sad fact of life that it is a lot easier to think of examples of terrible customer service from companies or shops, than it is to think of good service.  However, there is one company I can think of which has an excellent reputation for customer service and based on my own experience, I think it is well deserved. So, I’ll try and describe to you what the service was, when and where I received it and in doing so, explain to you why I think the service was exceptional.

The service was very simple really, but it became quite complicated, and it was the way the company resolved it which was so impressive.  The company is a British Company called John Lewis.  They are a little bit unusual in that the workforce own shares in the organisation, so that means every individual who works there take pride in doing their job as well as they can, and takes a share of any profits.  John Lewis is basically a very chain of upmarket stores, supplying everything from quality household goods and furnishings through to clothes and gift items.  The situation was simply this.  My Dad had become very ill, and I needed to order some extra bed-linen for him whilst he was being nursed at home. However, he and my mum live in London, and I live in Sheffield which is two hundred miles away, so I was having to order goods online to be delivered to my parents many miles away, without knowing quite what it was they wanted.  To cut a very long story short, I got the order horribly wrong, I was feeling quite stressed, and I just chose the wrong products, and then I found that I was too late to cancel the order, and I was worried that if multiple parcels arrived at my parent’s house they would get very confused about what was what.  Also, I was quite skint at the time, and couldn’t really afford to pay for both sets of products, especially as only one order was really needed.  It was an absolute mess – and I was utterly to blame.  I’d acted in a hurry and so made mistakes, and I couldn’t see how to untangle it.  It’s true what they say ‘act in haste, repent at leisure!’

I rang the customer service line.  Everything that had gone wrong was entirely my fault. I had ordered the wrong goods, I had left it too late to cancel and it was me who had got the delivery details wrong.  I telephoned and explained all that had happened, and why it mattered so much.  At the end of the day it was only a couple of sheets and some towels, but at that moment in time they were really important because they were much needed.  The person I spoke to was absolutely lovely.  They managed to somehow by-pass their systems to cancel the order which had been made in error by contacting the courier company direct.  They reimbursed postage charges that I’d incurred for requesting ‘express delivery’ for the original order, and arranged for a new delivery of the correct items.  They even waved through the second order at a lower cost than it should have been to speed things up by converting the first order to the second for the same price.  To them perhaps it was a minor issue for me to be making such a fuss about, but to me it made an enormous difference.  As a consumer, I had no rights in this matter, everything they did was out of good will, not legal obligation.  I can’t tell you how grateful I was!

So, why do I think this was such good service?  Because they were kind to me when I had really been quite ‘stupid’ to get things so wrong.  They empathised with my situation in that I was so far away when my parents were in need of help, and I was panicking because the one thing I had tried to do – get new bed linen – had gone wrong.  They worked really hard to go the extra mile to sort things out even though they absolutely didn’t have to because the error was all with me.  The people I spoke to presented a very human face of what is a large organisation, and I remain a very loyal customer to them still.  It is easy to think of companies as impersonal and anonymous, but in fact all organisations are staffed by people who are just as human and individual as you and I at the end of the day.  They helped me out when I needed it, and that personal touch proves that the people who work in shops and companies are not unfeeling automatons, they have compassion too.  In some ways, it wasn’t really about ‘good customer service’ at all in the end, it was about kind people helping someone else who needed it.  They provided the help because they could, and they must have felt it was the right thing to do.  You wouldn’t think getting the right sheets could matter so much, but in a time of crisis it did.  These people recognised this and saved the day.  It was comforting, not just to get the much needed bed linen, but to know there are such kind people in the world willing to go the extra mile when it was needed.  John Lewis, I salute you and your staff for what you did that day.  Insignificant as it may seem, it made all the difference!

[ Written by - Lucy Marris: Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

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