Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005
Do you remember the last time you went into a shop and the person ‘serving’ raced over to you, greeted you with a lovely smile, heaps of enthusiasm and said, “Welcome to our store, what can I help you with today?” And then listened attentively to what you had to say?
Doesn’t happen very often does it? In fact, while I was writing this, I couldn’t recall when I had experienced it. I’m sure I must have yet it would have been so long ago, I can’t remember.
Let me tell you what happened this week…
I belong to a well-known trade exchange which I have found very useful for my business. I wanted to purchase a suitcase from a particular store which usually takes trade dollars. From time-time the store will limit the use of trade dollars if they have reached their maximum for the month. Anyhow I quickly discovered this wasn’t going to be my lucky day.
I walked in and the assistant who was sitting down behind the counter (and remained there), didn’t smile. She barely acknowledged me with what looked like a scowl. I had interrupted her reading time. (She was so busy, there was no-one in the store). I then politely (yes I can be polite sometimes) asked her if they were accepting trade dollars as I wanted to purchase a suitcase. She turned around to the owner who was sitting behind her doing some bookwork and repeated my question. The owner stayed seated, didn’t look up and told her assistant “No”.
The assistant then relayed to me that “we are not accepting trade dollars at the moment, but we have good deals for cash”.
She remained seated all that time. I didn’t answer and walked straight out the front door with my cash sitting in my purse.
No matter how good their “cash” deals were going to be, if I was going to spend my hard-earned money anywhere, it definitely would not be with them!
The ‘Colour- blind to service’ Copy Centre
I had spent thousands of dollars with a printing company over a couple of years. A couple of times I was told by one of the staff, when they’ve been snowed under “Mary’s too busy to speak with you at the moment, I’ll have to get her to call you back when she’s got more time”.
It was the same company who sent me a Christmas card with an invoice inside it!
Whenever I had to pick up my order, the business owner would whinge about how hard business was…any wonder why?
Needless to say I didn’t remain with them.
The ‘Cant’ do that’ Café
We went to a local café which we hadn’t been to for a while and I was told by the waiter that “no, we can’t do that”. I wanted a particular type of sandwich which wasn’t on the set menu. I informed the abrasive young waiter that “yes, you can”. That got him scared and the order I requested turned up within 5 minutes.
Are Customers Important to Business?
Of course they are. No customers, no business. Yet why are businesses deliberately driving customers away? It’s ridiculous isn’t it?
It’s The Business Owner’s Fault
That’s right. The person who owns the business is the one who’s responsible for the way their clients/customers are treated.
They are usually too busy working in the business and have not allocated time to working on their business. They’re often very disorganised and have no idea what is really going on.
Call it what you want…personal productivity, time management, personal organisation are crucial skills everyone needs to know and apply to their daily lives. Otherwise you run around filling your day with activity, most of which doesn’t help you achieve your goals.
Five Ways to Improve Customer Service and Increase Profits
If you own or run a business, here’s what you can do:
Treat your prospects and clients like royalty. Make every contact they have with you an enjoyable and memorable experience. Be proactive with your clients. Stay in touch. It is up to you to contact them regularly. Not just wait and react when they have a problem.
Look after your own staff. If you look after your own people they in turn will look after the business. Praise, reward, and invest in their on-going development. Send them off to various courses and seminars on communicating, sales, time management etc. Even if you have your own internal people who do the training, it’s important that your team hear from outside experts who are specialists in their field. They know what they are talking about.
Continually invest time and energy into yourself. Lead from the front. Keep developing yourself.
Get regular feedback. Ask questions. Ask your clients/ customers what they like about your products, services and people. Find out what they dislike.
Get regular feedback internally from your people. Find out what works well, what doesn’t, how can things be improved.
The Final Word
Of course to take action on these ideas, you have to plan for it to happen. So pull out your diary now and plan to make sure that your business continues to stay in business and becomes more profitable.
About the Author
Lorraine specialises in working with businesspeople showing them how to dramatically boost their productivity, reduce the stress and the mess in their lives and have more time for enjoying their life. email@example.com