My mother taught me to make sure that I got my moneys worth when buying products or services. She would send back a meal at a restaurant that wasn’t cooked properly or return an item to a department store if it wasn’t as advertised. As a result, I can be a challenging consumer and will speak up if not taken care of in a proper fashion.
I maintain that the challenges that business face today have little to do with the economy and everything to do with customer service. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote an excellent book entitled Customer Satisfaction is Useless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless.
I am a consumer of many products and services, however, I will challenge you if your customer service is less than stellar.
I walked into a Bureau en Gros last week looking for a briefcase on wheels. I found two that I like, one made by Targus and one made by Swiss Gear. First, there is no one on the floor to help me so I ask for help. A lady comes over and I ask her about the differences in the 2 products. She says I don’t know. So I have to Google the products myself. I select one and go to the cash and ask if there is any possibility of a discount of any sort. The cashier / manager says what do you think this is, a pawn shop? Needless to say I left the briefcase on the cash and left. Once I get in my car, I check out Amazon and the identical product is $ 50 less. Wake up Bureau en Gros!
Every transaction starts in a positive way, but the seller always determines the direction going forward. I walk into a Home Depot to buy window coverings. I select the ones that I want and an older associate helps by carrying them to the cash. He asks the younger associate to ring them up but he us busy doing inventory and says no. So let’s get this straight. I am standing there with a product and money and he will not open the cash. So I ask for the manager and request something for my trouble. He asks me what I want and I say 50% off the product to which he agrees. Smart manager and smart move because I will continue to shop there. But for office products, Bureau en Gros is out and Amazon is in.
I walk into a Couche Tard convenience store to buy a phone charger but the one I purchased didn’t work. Back into the store to get my money back and the cashier says that I need the bill. Well, I just bought it 60 seconds ago and threw out the bill to which she says sorry, no return. I am flabbergasted at the ignorance and stupidity of this move. So I tell her that her decision is stupid and she starts yelling at me. I stand there in stunned amazement.
Always consider the long term value of the customer. And always remember that when you play by the corporate rules without exception, you may be putting a customer at risk. Use your common sense. Employees should be empowered to make decisions that are right for the customer, not right for the company.
For more customer service stories, check out my new website at http://www.awesomecustomerservice.ca