the walk" with customer service
last week, I was driving through town. I approached an intersection
for which the cross traffic had a stop sign. On the street to my right
was a truck that did one of those "slow roll-through" types of stops. In addition to his failure to stop, he turned into
the lane I was in, forcing me to hit the brakes. From there, he sped off
well in excess of the speed limit.
sign on the side of the truck told me the name, address, and phone
number of the store. Now, I know exactly whose driving I am unhappy
with. How odd that this same business advertises how it takes care
of its customers. Now I am thinking, "What you do speaks so loud
that I cannot hear what you say," instead of hearing their ads.
don't really need to be told a business offers great customer service
or that they are glad to special order something for them. What they
need is to experience it. If a business makes sure a customer has
that type of experience, customers will spend an unbelievable amount
of time telling other potential customers how wonderful his or her
favorite store really is.
as one store owner explained the sign posted on his cash register.
It stated that he would not take any checks from a certain regional
bank. "We took a check from them, and they wouldn't cash it.
THEY gave over $350 worth of merchandise to that customer."
actually happened was that the store became concerned about a check
it had taken. So, the owner drove to the bank and asked the bank to
cash it. As the check was made out to a business, the bank refused
to cash it. As the store processed the check through its own bank,
the check failed to clear and was returned. Now the store owner was
mad at the bank and decided all of the customers who use that bank
should pay for his failure to use a check-clearing service.
else do businesses often fail to take care of customers? How about
merchandise that is being returned? Realistically, what percentage
of customers do you think are actually out to beat a store out of
some merchandise or service? Maybe 1 percent? For every 100 sales
made, there would be only one person who has an intent of dishonesty.
There is no way any merchant could determine ahead of time who that
one person is. Yet, when something is returned, the customer is often
required to go through numerous "hoops and forms" before
the situation is resolved with an exchange or refund.
special orders? Do you see a special order as a labor-intensive problem?
Or is the customer saying, "I would rather do business with you
than go looking for the merchandise elsewhere? Can you help keep me
out of your competitor's store?"
When you advertise in the newspaper or on radio or TV, you are speaking
to the general public; including those who have no use for the products
or services you sell. If you are one of the progressive businesses
that has a database of it's customers, every name and address in that
list represents another potential sale. One store we spoke to has
a policy of assigning new employees to make phone calls to names in
introducing himself or herself, the employee explains that he or she
has noticed this customer has not purchased anything in the past few
months. He or she asks how the products the customer previously purchased
have worked for them, and if there is anything they can do to help
them. Of 100 calls made, this retailer reports that 2% of the customers
will identify themselves as unhappy, refusing to again shop with them.
At least this identification allows the retailer the opportunity to
mend a broken fence.
remaining 98 customers, 16 will show up in the store within the next
two weeks. The retailer reports their usual statement is, "I
just haven't needed anything lately." Of course we know that
is not likely the situation. What has happened is that the customer
has forgotten the retailer, but has responded to the invitation to
return. The saying is, "Never forget a customer. Never let a
customer forget you." For you see, what you do speaks so loudly;
I cannot hear what you say.