Roderick Vella sheds light on Maypole’s motivations for having customer complaints channelled to trained staff, rather than an automated messaging service.
Few local brands have managed to achieve wide-spread recognition like Maypole have. In a relatively short period of time, Maypole grew from a humble solitary bakery in Qormi, to a top-of-mind quality brand, running 28 shops in Malta and Gozo.
According to Customer Relations, Events & Marketing Manager Roderick Vella, Maypole’s beloved founder, Nenu Debono, had a crystal clear vision of where he wanted to take his business from day one.
“Contrary to what was normal practice at the time, Maypole didn’t have a van to do the usual community rounds. Instead, it focused its energies on servicing other bakeries in a revolutionary B2B approach to business,” Mr Vella explains.
Looking at opening another two shops in the near future, one in Gzira and another in Marsascala, Maypole is virtually unrecognisable to what it was a few short years back, but its core values remain unchanged. And probably no better way exists to understand this than their customer contact service, Better Call Maypole.
“Better Call Maypole is your regular customer care service, where customers are invited to get in touch with Maypole staff, make orders for deliveries or share their thoughts about a recent experience in a Maypole shop,” Mr Vella says.
However, there is a twist. Better Call Maypole promises customers to find a real person on the other end of the line, a trained professional, fluent in both Maltese and English, who will take the call.
“We wanted to create a parallel experience to our brick-and-mortar shops which would be available to our customers who might not be able to reach us physically. We take our role in the community extremely seriously, and our directors are extremely dedicated to building a community around every Maypole outlet – Better Call Maypole is another way of achieving this goal,” Mr Vella notes.
In fact, Maypole directors pride themselves in running a flat organisation, as they keep themselves accessible to all staff. It is not a rare site to bump into one of them in the shops either, as they make it a point to visit their community stores daily.
“Better Call Maypole is not the result of COVID,” Mr Vella is keen to clarify. “We launched the service much earlier than when any lockdown forced the world to go online. Long before the pandemic we noticed that several other customer care services were increasingly adopting answering machines, and other possibly cost-effective bots to manage their calls. We wanted to go counter to this, as we felt that we should keep our human touch on this front as well.”
While Maypole has a fully fledged online e-commerce platform through which customers can purchase their daily needs, Better Call Maypole goes a step beyond, combining sales and customer care in a rather unique way.
“Through Better Call Maypole, we want to help customers who don’t have the foggiest idea where to start from. Whether it’s organising a birthday party at home, or perhaps you are a busy professional who wants to order a cake while stuck in traffic, we wanted to make ourselves available,” Mr Vella further expounds.
As expected, Better Call Maypole was exceptionally useful during the COVID pandemic months, as it helped several customers get their supplies from Maypole, but not only. “Apart from providing an efficient service to customers, we also noticed how people appreciated finding someone who they could chat with on the other end of the line, and our staff were specifically instructed to never cut a call short,” Mr Vella reveals.
Though complaints at Maypole are uncommon, the customer-centric company is exceptionally geared to deal with the eventuality. “Better Call Maypole staff are trained to channel complaints efficiently and successfully. We believe that every complaint is an opportunity for growth and promise to get back to our customers with feedback, within 48 hrs on most cases,” Mr Vella notes.
And the MCCAA recognised Maypole’s constant customer care effort, as the Group was the recipient of last year’s ‘Premju Servizz bi Tbissima’ (Prize for Service with a Smile), an award for which contestants are nominated and voted for exclusively by the public.
“We were extremely pleased to receive this prestigious award as it recognises our team’s unfaltering dedication towards a superior customer experience. After all, Maypole remains a family business, and family values transpire through everything we do. Every last member of our 600 strong team is treated like family, as we believe that this atmosphere is ultimately translated into a superior service to our customers,” Mr Vella concludes.
Customer Relations, Events & Marketing Manager