Customer Service

January 24th, 2017 | Rebecca's Spotlight

We don’t always get it right. We are human! However, I can assure you I hate it when we get it wrong.

My worst situation is when we have got it wrong for a new client. They might not know we’ve been established since the 70s. They might not know we are a family run firm. They haven’t listened to Marten’s lines over the years and heard me in the background (more than one clients has told me they remember me making noise when I was younger). If we get it wrong for a new client they might not give us another chance!

I wonder if people realise what a tiny team we are. Most days there is just me here at work. Marten works from a separate site as I generate quite a lot of noise and clutter. He loves coming to visit and we aim to always have one weekly face to face meeting in the lovely Brew Brothers cafe under my office.

Most of the time this is okay although I have to admit it is becoming harder. I don’t work traditional hours. I am rarely in for 9 more likely to be 10 and work three late evenings a week. This is so clients can call in an evening when they are at home and at busy times because we upload our Supplements/Online Previews from 8pm. We get so many emails now. I tend to have at least 30 a day and that takes time to work on. Some days I only do emails. I now have Jodie helping two days a week and I really hope that with new software being implemented I will be able to spend more time recruiting new clients and spreading the word about Marten rather than doing admin.

Whenever I leave work the office line is diverted to my work mobile. I aim to pick up all calls but if I am driving or another call I might miss them. A few people don’t leave voicemails – I get it people don’t like them. I always fear I will miss a call from a new client and the chance has been lost.

People who work in racing say it takes over – they’re right but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t ever imagine leaving work at 5 and that’s that! I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

So what can go wrong in my office? Sometimes I might miss an alternative delivery address, sometimes a client updates an email address and it doesn’t register quite right. Occasionally we don’t get notified of a voicemail or try to call a client back twice and not a third time and they’re not happy.

My theory is the way in which we resolve these issues is what keeps our clients happy. I may offer a refund/credit but still send the book with our compliments, I may offer a forthcoming publication, I will add credits to an account or I may send a card with a gift. You can be assured I will be working hard to rectify the error and keep the client. I don’t want a client to have a negative association with Marten’s name.

It’s the same for Marten. On a morning he may have a list of five horses and rule out three that go on to do well but this is life and our long-standing clients get that. He doesn’t like it though. He is annoyed with himself and works very hard to rectify things. He will think about what made him make those choices – what he could do differently next time.

What you can be assured of is that we always put our clients first and have done since the 70s. A lot of clients have been with us for many years and we regard them as friends. In fact, we regard all our clients as friends. Sorry if that sounds naff to you but it is true.

I have to think of everyone as friends as otherwise the level of customer service we offer wouldn’t be high enough. When I work evenings till gone midnight at the time of Cheltenham, Aintree or Royal Ascot I am there to help. I hate to think that someone is sitting at home attempting to download a service and having difficulties. I don’t want a client to ever associate one of our services as causing them problems.

A very tired me having a little nap on the floor during Cheltenham one year!
A very tired me having a little nap on the floor during Cheltenham one year!

Marten always, without fail, puts the clients first. If we plan a publication and have orders for it but then don’t have enough news we cancel it. We would offer credits or an alternative but Marten would never write for the sake of writing. I admire this.

If he buys a horse for Dark Horse Racing he won’t sell it till he’s happy with it. Even if this means him funding the project from his personal funds which can add up to quite a large sum! There are companies out there who would sell a horse straight away. I wanted to sell our recent acquisition straight away but Marten refused. We still aren’t selling shares in it a good few months down the line.

When I plan how to package a book or what to include as additional items I imagine X sitting at home and opening it. I imagine them the weekend before Cheltenham reading and planning their bets. When I order items for gift wrap I imagine the person – who hasn’t placed the order and therefore isn’t expecting it – receiving the post that day. I want them to feel overwhelmed. I don’t want them to just get a padded envelope with a book in it. How dull!

Sometimes I will spend half an hour preparing a book for a client to meet their needs. We have a handful of clients with visual needs and I print an in-house version of our book and then bind it. This means they are able to read it easier or their partner can read it easier to them and show them extracts. Quite often I am asked how much more it will cost.  I would never charge more to offer these items. I love going above and beyond where possible.

Enlarged size for clients with visual needs
Enlarged size for clients with visual needs




A lovely gift from a client

Last year I received a beautiful bunch of flowers as a thank you. I jumped for joy! It was totally unexpected and very much appreciated.






One challenge is trying to show clients what they get as part of our service. Our Cheltenham Festival Package is an expensive service but for good reason.

Cheltenham Festival Supplements
Cheltenham Festival Supplements

There is a HUGE amount of information. Marten, Steve and I work really hard on our advertising but still year after year I get asked “What is the package?” I am debating producing a video this year. We created this visual to try and show what our Cheltenham Supplements are.




The fact we don’t offer immediate downloads causes SO many issues. This is the final stage of our website redevelopment and the most complicated. Our website was built a long long time ago and we have slowly improved and added to it but it means we have lots of different parts that all work together. Like cogs in a factory years ago they are all intertwined. It isn’t as simple as some websites and is taking a huge amount of time and effort. I do state when things are available online. I also state that we have to manually authorise orders but people are busy and words can be missed. This is our biggest threat to losing new clients and annoying existing ones.

One client who I was speaking to about it at the end of 2016 sent me a wonderful email which is stuck up on my wall. It says:

“I feel your pain Rebecca. I wish for automated downloads for you above all others”

It made me laugh as it sounds dramatic but do you know what? It’s true! It will change my life.

On Thursday evenings I have to keep logging in and checking for orders in case someone has joined our Weekend Card and wants to download it. During Cheltenham I won’t get to bed before 2am as I am obsessively checking for new orders and authorising them. I can’t wait to have this part of our website complete and go live. It will be wonderful for clients.

Marten and I will always put you first. Whether you are a client, web visitor or someone interested in owning a horse with us. We are available to speak with you on the phone or via email and we will always listen. All feedback is appreciated and responded to.

Thank you for reading my blog and please keep in touch.