Customer Service – What??
Have you ever gone into a business and got the sense that you were a nuisance to their day? The other day I went into a body shop here in my town. I walked into the front office which was empty, but a few moments later a lady poked her head in the door and asked if she could help me. I stated I needed an estimate done and she rolled her eyes in frustration and said, “maybe in about 10 minutes”.
Okay I can understand being busy and I can even admit that when my phone rings sometimes and I am in the middle of something a “perturbed thought” can flash through my mind. But the caller gets “Good day – OTR , Ian speaking” accompanied by a smile that they cannot see but hopefully hear.
Back to the body shop, my response to her was that’s OK not a problem and walked back out the door. From there I went down to another body shop, where there was staff in the office and was greeted with a friendly can I help you? I asked for an estimate and it was promptly performed while I waited. The estimate came in at $2500 and the owner said to me he “did not think it is worth doing … not a good return for the amount required”. We did however spend $500 there on some new lights and I left knowing I had met a good place to do business and a place I could refer people and a place I would come back to.
I was on a business page on Facebook today and they had a picture up of their front door, stating people that did not pull their pants up were not welcome in their store! Here is a store owner that does not recognise that customers come in all shapes and sizes and some dress well and some often poorly and in many cases not up to our “standards.” But they all have one thing in common – they came into our business looking for a product or service or just to get to know who we are and what we are about and we had better treat them well or they will take their cash to our competitors!
Other than making us feel better about ourselves and superior to the people we are keeping out, what is the advantage in alienating groups of people that actually spend cash in our businesses?
Oh, what would have kept me in the first body-shops store? How about this scenario; Hi welcome! How can I help you? I respond I need an estimate. Answer, You know I am right in the middle of something but I can get at it in 10 minutes. Help yourself to a coffee and I will be right there. Is that OK? I’d really appreciate your patience.
Now if she had done this I would have stayed and I wouldn’t have had a blog to write today! Your comments are always welcome so please take a moment to write.
Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.