Cue Card Sample

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

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 1:
Well, 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.  Once 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) ]


Model Answer 2:
Receiving a good service from a company or shop has become a rarity these days, at least, in places where I live. Among such rarity, however, we still “accidentally” receive some good service, just as I did about a few months ago, that makes us feel special.

Anyway, the good service, I am talking about, was provided to me when I visited a furniture store in order to buy a computer desk for my desktop. I needed that desk on an urgent basis because my old computer desk suddenly broke when I was trying to move it from one corner of my room to another in order to free some space. Initially, of course, I was a bit shocked to see my desk breaking like this, but then I realized that the desk was really old and it needed to be replaced.

So, anyway, as I saw my computer desk crumbling, I rushed to one of the famous retail furniture outlets in my country and asked them what I really needed. After carefully listening to my specification, the manager of the shop showed me a few desks and asked me to choose one from them. After choosing one, my manager assured me that my computer desk would get delivered to my home the next morning. The manager also assured me that if I didn’t like my computer desk for any reason, the shop would replace it with another one without charging any extra money for the delivery cost. The next morning, they did deliver my computer desk just on schedule as they promised, and needless to say, I did like my computer desk.

Anyway, the service, I received, was indeed very good because the manager and the staffs at the furniture shop treated me like a “person” instead of just some “customer”. They were very polite, courteous and tried to find out very patiently about what I exactly needed or looking for. Finally, their service was great also because they stuck to their promised delivery schedule.


Sample Answer 3:
Customer care is an important aspect of the growth of a business organisation in all terms. If the customer care service is not up to the mark, it becomes difficult for the organisation to grow in business. I am happy to have the chance of describing a customer care related experience.  

Very recently, I have bought an iPhone 7 with a notable amount of British pounds from a local apple product selling the store. As an iOS user for the past couple of years, I am quite familiar with the functions and features of an iPhone. Unluckily my iPhone 7, Jet Black colour, was not responding on some of the features. I tried to reset the phone but it was of no use. So, I took the phone back to the local shop and customer care here in East London from where I bought it. The customer care is a few block away from my residence. The customer care authority changed the phone and gave a fresh one to me. I was really happy with the service.  

I bought the phone on January 18 of this year and unpacked it on the same day. In fact, I was excited to enjoy the new features of this latest mode. But I noticed some changes in the phone’s behaviour and thought that it would be for an operating system upgrade. But the behaviours continued for long. I applied a couple of ways to solve the problem. But they were of no use. Besides, there was another trouble with the charging point. The phone did not take charge properly. There was something wrong with the charging port, I think. So, I took the phone on the evening of the next day. The customer care was about to be closed. But the staffs and the branch chief received me cordially and paid attention to my problem. In fact, it was a different type of experience for me. I have never met such a skilled and professional level of customer care service so far.     

I received the service from the apple authorised customer care located in East London. I live in the same area. So, it was not difficult for me to reach the customer care point. Besides, before approaching to the point, I made a phone call to them about my problems. They invited me to have a cup of coffee with them and also assured to discuss the problem with me in person. As per their invitation, I reached there just before the closing of the customer care point. After hearing everything from me, they checked the phone set and found out that it was the manufacturing error. In fact, such errors are entirely unwanted. They were true in their statement. I know it because I have been using the iPhone for over the last four years, and there were no such issues before.  

This is really difficult to have a very smart and efficient customer care service here in the UK. Everyone is busy with their own business and have less time to care for the customers. But the issue was different with Apple Inc. The company really knows how to deal with people. I have some negative experiences with the customer care of Samsung over complaining about a phone set that had a fast charge draining. They did not even hear of my allegations and the phone set is still unused at home. I could not do anything with such a phone that needs charge over eight times in a day. But I consider this customer care service as an effective and improved one. They really care about their customers. Hope such customer care service will go on always.

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Ngọc Hân Bùi
Are the two sample answers above too long for 2 minutes speaking? Maybe too difficult for 5.0 or 6.0. I think they would prefer 7.0 and above.