Sometimes it can be hard for me to be the customer. While I shop I am either looking for ideas to make my own company better or else critiquing the business where I spend my money.
Unfortunately, I find myself doing more critiquing than finding ideas from other companies. It makes me frustrated and confused but also upset.
I don’t understand why so many business owners don’t seem to take pride in something they’ve built and that has their name attached to it. I also don’t understand why they don’t spend time training their employees who represent them.
Consumers are part of the problem. We are failing business owners. We’ve started to expect subpar service. We’ve actually become OK with staff not making eye contact with us or not being educated about the product they offer. When we actually get good customer service, it blows our mind.
But it shouldn’t. If anything, that’s the way it should always be.
As a consumer, I realize I’m part of the problem. At least five times I have told myself I am not going back to a local grocery store. I get angry every time I go in there. From its absent customer service to rude employees and a lack of cleanliness, this place just drives me crazy.
My longest boycott lasted about four months until I finally gave in because of convenience. They won. I lost. It’s still the same service, same employees and I am still frustrated. But for some reason I still give them my money.
If customers don’t care why should you care?
Because times are changing.
I’m challenging you to take a big step back and look at your current business. Are you satisfied with the way your customers experience your business? Are you proud to have your name on the door? Would you trust your employees to handle crisis situations if you went on vacation for two weeks?
I hope the answer is yes.
If you think you can do better, take heart. Since most customers have such low expectations of good service, it won’t take much to wow them.
Here are some simple things you can do to stand out above your competitors:
No cell phones. Make sure your employees don’t have cell phones that a customer can see. There’s nothing more annoying than watching an employee check a text or post on social media when you are looking for some help.
Smile. Everyone is entitled to a bad day. It happens. But nobody gets inspired or wants to buy something from the person who has a case of the Mondays on a Thursday. If it is truly that bad, perhaps your employee shouldn’t be at work.
Greet everyone. Ever walk into a business and everyone looks at you like you are interrupting them? Customers are guests in your house and they should be treated with respect and welcomed with open arms. No exceptions.
Thank you. These are two simple words employees often forget to get use. When someone spends their hard-earned money with your business, they deserve thanks. They had a choice and they chose you. Forget to say thank you and maybe they will go somewhere else the next time.
Customer service is pretty simple when you think about it. Just treat people like you would want to be treated. Spending time on the little things with your employees will go a long way for your company. If your employees aren’t willing to make the small changes, let them go work for your competitors.
Nic DeCaire is the owner of the Newark business Fitness Fusion and a member of the DBT40 class of 2014.