You know, I am a big fan of stellar customer service. Companies complain that business is slow due to economic conditions whereas the reality is more based on customer satisfaction levels. Jeffrey Gitomer wrote a book where the title says it all. Customer satisfaction is Useless. Customer loyalty is priceless.
So I spent the month of January in Florida and experienced amazing customer service which highlighted the not so amazing customer service in Quebec. I didn’t realize how bad it was north of the border until I witnessed the opposite.
Customer service starts with simple kindness and is essentially an attitude. I walked into a Publix grocery store and within 5 minutes walked past 5 employees. Each and every one stopped what they were doing to acknowledge me and ask if they could help or just say good morning. If I were to walk through a grocery store in Montreal, I would be ignored. I one asked a clerk who was filling a fridge if they carried a certain brand of beer and she said I don’t know and went right back to work.
Every time I walked into a restaurant, I was greeted by female waitresses as babe, honey or love. And I found it to be very endearing as well as sincere. And you didn’t have to ask for a refill of diet coke; it was given even before you glass was empty. The employees seem to actually care about their customers.
So I just got back to Montreal this last weekend and my first customer service experience is at Tim Hortons. I walk in to pick up muffins for a sales meeting. There are 2 people in line ahead of me and 2 people behind me. There are 3 people behind the counter and no one is looking at the customers in line, rather they are focused on the drive through. I stand for 5 minutes and no one is acknowledging the people in line. Finally a young kid comes up to the cash and nods his head, in other words, what do you want? I asked the lady behind the counter why it was so slow and she responded we only have three people today.
Well if you know me, bad answer. So after 15 minutes, no positive greeting and a lousy excuse, I leave exasperated. Will I go back? Probably not. So please don’t blame the economy, serve your customers and they will continue to patronize your business. It’s not rocket science. Wake up and smell the coffee.