I’m sure you all read a post like this elsewhere at some point, so it wont be a big newsflash to most. So, let me start off by saying: I am huge on customer service. I expect quality customer service everywhere that I shop, sadly reality is different. I firmly believe that customer service is critical to long term business success and this is coming from a double business owner. How can business owners hope for customer retentions with poor service? Sadly, a lot of business owners who offer F grade customer service hope to retain you as a customer. What’s in it for me I say? More, bad customer service! No, thanks!
I’ve always tried to stay out of the big box stores by shopping at independent stores and support the small business owner. However, my experiences at big box stores have always been more pleasant. And I’m not referring to more pleasantry due to larger selection, better prices or fancy displays, but simply because there was someone to answer, guide and help me with my questions. And they always did it with a smile.
I’m sure you heard the phrase – “the first person a customer sees or speaks to sets the company image”. This is even more important to the single small time business owners, who are the only face of their business. I am one of those business owners. I make all the sales calls, answer inquires and attend to any discrepancies along the way. Furthermore, it’s my duty to have my two employees (yeah, a whole two employees) project the proper company image of my business.
I’m sure by now, you’re probably wondering what got me onto this rant. And, that’s a fair question. However, I won’t name any names here, but will say this: If I email you with the intent and desire to purchase your service/product, please be efficient in getting back to me. I totally get it, we’re all busy, but at the end of the day if you want my business, put some god damn effort into it. It’s your job to chase me and not the other way around, especially if you’re a new business (say, a few months old).
I was fine with the initial response (which by the way, was a copy and paste email template), but now I have more questions and would like to commit to doing business. However, your response time (going onto 5 days now) simply blows. Sadly, if you’re reading this, you have lost me as a customer.
I totally get that we all get busy, computers break and life happens, but if you’re serious about your business, than don’t half ass it. Go borrow a computer, stay up until 3am and buy a god damn organizer, but make sure you reply to your customer.
For similar reasons, like the one above, I refuse to shop at Rona or Home Hardware. Yes, both are within a walking distance from my house and I still refuse to shop at either one. Service is horrendous. If I’m going to ask you about the location of an item and you tell me it’s in aisle 45 and it still takes me 15min to find the item, well we’ve got a problem.
This could have been easily resolved by the customer service associate walking with me, making small talk and directing me directly to the item. Unfortunately the reality is different. We get service associates who can’t crack a smile and who half ass their jobs. The customer suffers, eventually decides not to do business there anymore (like, me) and the business fails to retain the customer.
So, to conclude my rant, as a customer never forget that if you’re in a position where you feel that you’re needs are not being met, don’t be afraid to ask for another customer service rep or move to another business who will offer you quality service you demand.
For the poor customer service businesses, here are seven recommendations to up the ante:
- Pickup up your phone or email
- Always do it with a smile, even when you don’t feel like smiling
- Pickup the pace and be super attentive to your customers needs
- Be friendly and not impersonal
- Provide a personal touch, something that distinguishes you from the rest
- Get social – be the first one to reach out to the customer, after all they are in your territory
- Let customer service be #1, by following numbers 1-6
Consumers (like me) are more demanding than ever when it comes to customer. Get it right the first time and customers will pay more and remain loyal to your business. Providing poor customer service and the clock is ticking while the customer is busy finding another company to spend their money with. In order for any type of business to remain relevant they have to be able to respond quickly with consistency.