We all have been a customer. It was when we dined in a restaurant, when we bought our mobile phone, purchased that great pair of shoes, or when we asked a hotel to organise an anniversary/birthday party for us. All these years I have noticed one thing that really changed being one of those customers, and that is…customer service has gotten worst! I do not know if it is just me and my high expectations to get good value for my hard-earned money, but it seems like good customer service is like finding a good film on Netflix. Its rare and often it is just same old, same old stuff.
I have been just recently in a mobile store to change my broken phone. When I entered this store, no one even bothered to say hello or offered any form of assistance (it was dead quiet in that store at that time). Stood there for about 5 minutes browsing through but no one bothered to ask if they can help. In short, I got out and just went online to get my new phone. But I opted for my phone to be picked up in that store and not delivered just to find out how they will deal with this. That day came and I went back to that store. Again, no one bothered to say hello or offered to help. So I approached one of the staff and asked if the phone I ordered online arrived. She went and got it for me. Suddenly, like an “on”switch flicked and she became an accommodating highly efficient staff. She asked if I wanted an insurance for my phone, if I needed cover or extra gigabytes. Wow! Score for up selling. I bet she is on commission. Well and good, but where was this interest to the customers at the first instance? I don’t think I will set my foot again in that store. If not for keeping my mobile number, I would switch to another company as easy as going to the toilet – no regrets of releasing that burden and feeling of great relief after.
I am sure all of you had some experiences when you went into a store and the staff are just gossiping and did not even bother to acknowledge you. And when they did, you got a feeling that you had interrupted them from their important conversation.What about when you entered a store or restaurant and everyone seemed to be under stress and very worked up that if you made the wrong move you will get killed? Or when in a restaurant and the staff trying their best to avoid eye contact so that you will not ask them anything? How about when you found a pair of shoes but wanted the right size and could not find a staff to ask? I remember once I took my wife to celebrate our anniversary in this nice restaurant/hotel (hint – many seasons) in London and after our meal the waiter said to me, “I am sure you enjoyed your meal as you only left the bone”. I am not a snotty, pretentious person and could have taken it as a joke but the timing was really off and the attitude was uncalled for.I will leave it to your imagination as to what happened to the rest of that night…
Do you wonder sometimes when you walk on the high streets and find many stores closed or about to close? And they say, “oh the business environment isn’t great anymore”, or “rent is too high”,” I don’t have the right product”, or “I am in the wrong location” or “too many competitors”, and so on. But I think all it is, if they got that customer service right…they will still be in business.
Being in the industry for a long time, I have served so many people from all walks of life and would not dream of insulting my customers or ignore them. Customers will keep our businesses running and in effect keep our jobs going. Also, remember that we are all customers and for this reason we must treat our customers the way we wanted to be treated. When money is hard and nowadays it’s even harder to earn it let alone save it, we put great care as to how we spend it. If an establishment will not make an effort to win us as a customer – do not spend your hard-earned money in that business.
Always remember, great people make great business!