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Thursday 8 May 2014

Delighting your customers..or when a mission statement is just words on a website

Starting to think that it is time I went south to visit my Mother soon we have been looking at a suitable marina to moor Yarwood while I am away. Joe wanted to get the boat plugged in to shore power to condition the batteries whilst he concentrated on getting some boaty chores done without me under his feet.  There are two marinas close to the Anderton boat lift so on Tuesday we went into Anderton Marina, a ABC Leisure Group enterprise, to enquire about a temporary mooring next week for a 5/6 days or so.  We spoke to a young man who was polite, if ineffective, but unable to deal with our query but he assured us he would get someone to call us so we left leaving our phone numbers.  A couple of hours later as we were passing the Marina we called in again to see if anyone was about to deal with our request; the office had an 'open' sign but the door was locked so we waited for twenty minutes or so and then abandoned our mission and went back to the boat.  The following morning at 9.15am I phoned and left a message on their answer machine asking them to call me and restating our request with my phone number.  At 14.00 I called yet again and got the answer machine.  At 16.30 I called again and spoke to the same young man we had encountered the previous afternoon. It was like speaking to a blancmange but we were assured that he would get someone to call us.
Late morning today Joe called the ABC head office and asked for their customer services. He was told if he had a complaint to put it in writing.  Assuring them that he wasn't complaining but was looking for help he was permitted to state his case.  The reaction was say that staff were on day off as they had worked the weekend and had Joe called the marina again that morning?  Clearly the mission statement where ABC wants to delight its customers was not operating today, or yesterday for that matter.  Anyway, Head Office staff person said she would get someone to call.
To date, no call has been received.
So, two personal visits to the marina office, three phone calls to the marina and one to headquarters and Nada, nothing.

We abandoned any thought of using ABC Leisure Group and visited Uplands marina where we got a good instant response from a competent person who has taken our booking and our fee; done and dusted.

So Edward Helps, MD ABC Leisure Group, perhaps you should look at the culture of your company a bit more closely because clearly the lack of genuine customer focus at operational level AND in Head Office is something I would be very concerned about if I was in your role.

ABC Leisure Group Mission Statement...
Or weasel words for the web.

Our Mission Statement:

  • ABC Leisure Group Ltd aims to be the leading provider of products and services associated with canal boats.

  • We wish to delight our customers in everything we do so they will recommend and use us again.

  • We recognise the importance of the Company's greatest asset, our employees, in achieving this.


  1. Surprised at that, ABC manage our share boat and the service at Alvechurch was very good. We have previously been at Anderton and Gayton and had good service there too. I know they have had a change of manager maybe a year ago at Anderton but maybe not for the better. We have just moved to the ABC base at Wrenbury so we will see what service we get there.

    1. Andy
      You can only speak as you find. If you have been getting good service from ABC then that is great or experience over the last two days has been less than impressive. A lack of training evident with the chap that was left to represent the company at Anderton reception, a lack of focus and courtesy from the management at Anderton in failing to return calls and this compounded by the unprofessional response at 'Head Office' level. Not impressed at all.

  2. I had a very offhand response there when I was looking for a mooring for Starcross. You should be Ok at Uplands though. I kept Starcross there for12 months and had good service. The management has changed since then but if anything it should be even better, once, that is, you've mastered the art of getting in and out of the place '

  3. Hi Jim
    That's good to hear about Uplands and it certainly was our impression when we went to see them yesterday. As for ABC Anderton...AND their HQ it is evident that training and culture are 'Fawlty Towers' influenced!

  4. Appears I'm having great difficulty leaving a message, so I'll try again :)
    It'll be strange seeing Yarwood in the flesh after the last few years reading your blog! Uplands is our home mooring, good luck with the entrance, we reverse in as it's easier as we're down the first pontoon.

  5. Hi Andy
    Well you were successful and your message has been received! Joe will be taking Yarwood to Uplands and staying there with the dogs whilst I am in Essex. Joe will be doing a bit of tidying up of scratched gunwales etc. and I think some bilge paint has been purchased as well..

  6. Thank you for your comments which I am concerned to read and I am investigating. I apologise for your experience trying to make contact with Anderton which is not our normal level of service. If you would like to email me your contact details I will respond to you in more detail. Edward Helps. MD ABC leisure Group. Edward@abclg.com.


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