As someone who works in the service and sales industry, I have a certain expectation, when it comes to a level of service. However, I don’t think that my service expectation is so high, that I should be surprised when I receive it. I expect the basics; friendliness, consistency, caring. However, in the last week, I have had multiple beyond poor service experiences that has led me to ask“Where has all the customer service gone?”
I hear people talking about the fact they are worried about technology and automation eliminating jobs. however, the actions I see when I shop bricks and mortar do not make me want to keep going back! Jobs are going to be eliminated because people are doing them with less personality then a computer will, and that is scary!
There is a place in this world for human workers to stay, however we need to prove our worth. Computers can offer a faster experience, and one with potentially less errors. In order to stay relevant, and set yourself above the competition, what we can offer is the HUMAN component. People are better at making a judgement call, that is in the best interest of someone. The ability to offer something that is above and beyond. The ability to connect with someone on a personal level. The ability to demonstrate caring and emotion. All of these things can not be replaced by a computer or automation. Do you want your business to have something that stands out above all the rest? Then offer an experience factor that will make people talk about you for days.
Based on my experiences of JUST THIS WEEK, I offer you some of the simplest of things we can do to create a customer experience. We should be helping our employees and teams to get back to these basics.
Where have all the smiles gone? When someone chooses to walk into your store/ business; smile. Simple. If you are walking through your office/ place of business, I suggest the 10 and 2 rule. If you are within 10 feet of someone smile at them. If you are within 2 feet of them, say “hello”. This small act will have a significant impact in our busy, rushed world!
Pay attention to the small things.
I was grocery shopping yesterday. I had picked up 3 cucumbers, when I got to the cash register, I realized one was soft. I showed it to the cashier and said “this one is soft”. Her reply? “Just leave it there”, as she pointed to the next register. I happen to know the stats for this store… they get approximately 20000 shoppers per week. If every shopper leaves a $1.00 item… that is $20,000 in a week OR $1,040,000 per year in lost revenue. Why would she have not asked if I wanted another one? Or better yet, just said, I will get someone to get you another one. We need to teach our employees to pay attention to the small things, as they can add up to big things.
Everyone’s goal should be to create a repeat customer.
I needed to get some body work done on my car this week. I went to the dealership for a quote, part of my decision for this was based on the fact that I had some rust spots coming in on my only four-year-old car and thought this should be under warranty. Not only did I receive 2 outrageous quotes, there was no acknowledgement of the concern for my rust spots, AND the time it was quoted was a huge inconvenience. No offer of a loaner car, no acceptance of any concern for the car rusting so quickly, and no concern for the additional cost I would be incurring for a car rental, a cost they could have easily eliminated. This gap between the “service” department and the sales department was shocking to me. I have purchased two vehicles from this dealership, and I won’t ever again now. If we assume I purchase a car every 5 years, for the rest of my life, that is likely half a million dollars in lost revenue. On top of that they lost $3500 in revenue for the repair. At no point did they ask the impact of the repair, at no point did they take ownership, at no point did they make an offer of anything out of “policy”.
Go above and beyond when you can.
When a colleague heard about my car situation, he reached out to a friend. This friend also works at a car dealership. They had no reason to help me. They did not repair my car. They did not get a single penny from me. What did they do? Gave me a vehicle, because they could, for the time my car was being repaired. For free. What have I done in return? Told everyone. Promoted them. If I can, who will my next car purchase be from? That dealership! Sometimes we have the ability to go above and beyond, and we should. It will pay off in some way. This is something a computer can’t be programmed to do.
Reply to emails/ Messages/ Calls
My last point is simple, just communicate. A customer’s role should not be to follow up with you. You need to be the one to communicate with a customer. If you don’t have an answer for them yet, just communicate that you are on it and when you will be in touch. In a world where we are all so busy, the last thing you want to do is take up someone’s time. It is their most precious commodity and you need to respect it. Make it simple, by simply following up.
One last thing… it is a gift to serve. You don’t have a right to complain about losing customers if you can’t handle the responsibility of being gifted with their business.
End of rant!