Friday, August 26, 2011

Customer Service or Customer Bother

The other day my wife and I were shopping at a major department store in the local mall. I was trying to find a certain item so I decided to ask one of the sales staff where I could find it.

I walk up to two members of the sales staff who were talking to one another in the middle of the department. I stood there not wanting to be rude and interrupt their conversation thinking surely they would acknowledge me. After a few minutes of being ignored I said to them, “Excuse me, but could you tell me where the ‘such and such’ is?”

She responded with her back to me, “It’s over there, a couple of aisles over.” She did this with a flip of the hand in that direction and then went back to talking to her partner.

I told my wife, “Let’s go. If I am that much of a bother I don’t need anything from here.” We left and I may not go back to Macy’s, in our town again.

On the way home we stopped at our local Publix grocery store to pick up something for supper. Again I had to ask for help finding an item.

I asked the stock boy, who was down on his knees stocking the bottom shelf, where the item was. He immediately jumped up and said, “It is on Aisle 5, let me show you.” Even though I said I could find it he went with me and showed me exactly where the item was.

Did you catch what I just did in the above two paragraphs? I named the places of business where I was shopping. I named the store where I had the bad customer service experience and I named the store where I had the good customer service experience.

How many times have you heard someone say I going to buy a new car at Big Time Auto Emporium and heard someone else say, “I wouldn’t go there. My brother had a friend who heard they were rude to customers.”

That is what generates the most results from a customer service incident. It is not just one customer you lose but it could be all the potential customers they talk too.

When I worked in the consumer products industry we were told for every one customer complaint received, you lost one hundred other customers. These were either people who received poor service and did not complain or who heard about the other person’s problem and took their business somewhere else.

The same is true for good service. People will recommend companies and sales people who they get good service from to their friends and family.

If you have been in direct sales or service for any length of time you know a large part of your business comes from referrals. “Word of mouth” recommendations from friends and family are one of the leading sources of referrals.

Which type of customer service do you offer your clients?

1 comment:

  1. See, Larry- the problem is not the kind of customer service WE offer. It's the kind of customer service we train, expect, and demand from our staff! The key is rewarding them for that service we so want for ourselves.