I had just finished a long workout at the gym after a long day of work and was walking into a national grocery store chain. I was super pumped because I had cleared my schedule for a “me” night, a night where I cook one of my favorite meals and do whatever I want just for fun.
Sometimes I’ll make music, other times I’ll read or sometimes I’ll just waste away my brain and watch television.
This particular night I had decided I was going to barbecue some rib-eye steaks, so I made my way to the meat department. Just as I was walking up I could see the meat guy starting to cover the meats as one would when closing. I looked at my watch and it was 8:55pm – they close at 9pm. I still had 5 minutes before they closed. I very politely asked if I could grab a couple rib-eyes and he was quick to say, “We’re closed”. I replied, “but my watch says I still 5 minutes left”. “Well, I guess your watch is wrong” he snorted.
I was floored. I couldn’t believe it.
I simply grabbed some of the pre-packaged meats and went on my way – bitching under my breath.
A couple of days later after my workout I was talking to my training partner about my experience there and he said, “no way, my girlfriend had a similar experience happen to her there too!”
But, my customer experience doesn’t end there.
At this very busy supermarket, at night, they close ALL check out lanes except for the self-service ones. So you have no choice, you have to ring yourself up. Do you think I want to ring $100+ of groceries myself? That’s what I pay them for!
Most people think that customer service means greeting the customer with a smile and answering the phones with a pleasant hello, but it’s way more than that. It is more of a customer experience. It’s an opportunity to show your clients that they are more than a number and that you genuinely care.
Unfortunately, at the moment, where I live there isn’t a lot of convenient alternatives, but soon there will be a whole foods and I will be changing where I buy my groceries.
Poor customer experience is EVERYWHERE!! At my gym, there was a clip that was installed incorrectly and eventually, due to the amount of stress it takes, would snap and somebody could get seriously hurt and not to mention, potentially open up the gym to litigation.
I informed one of the in-house trainers and he didn’t even acknowledge that he understood me – he just looked at me, sorta grunted and looked away. So on my way out I mentioned it to the GM.
She thanked me and assured me she would handle it.
The next day I came in… still not fixed.
The day after that… not fixed.
Finally, after it had reached a point where I didn’t feel comfortable using the machine, I took a picture of the problem and told the guy at the front desk to tell the maintenance guy about this. He was shocked and assured me he would handle it.
The next day, he had stayed true to his word and it was fixed.
But the damage was already done.
How does this happen?
One reason is lack of proper training. With properly trained staff, the experience could have so much different.
When I reported it the first time, the trainer could have said, “I understand your concern, I will report it to the right person and ask them to take care of it as soon as they can.”
That would accomplish 2 things. First it let’s me know that he actually understood my concerns and secondly, that he was willing to try and do something about it.
When it comes to customer service it’s more than just being friendly and accommodating, it’s about fulfilling on your promises to your customers.
I think another reason is business owners simply don’t care about customer service. They wrongly assume it doesn’t matter. That’s part of it. And another part of it is people are lazy by nature.
So let’s pin it on lack of training, laziness and apathy. But identifying the cause doesn’t eliminate the problem.
To combat poor customer service in your organization you must make a very active and sustained effort. And the best way to do this is to initiate a culture of CANE improvements (Constant And Never Ending).
You must commit to creating a culture of taking what is working and make it even better. This means asking the question, “How can we make customer service even better?”.
Setting a new standard of customer service isn’t easy and has to start at the top. Whether you are the CEO or you are a one man shop, you MUST champion the importance of constantly improving the customer’s experience with your organization.
You must view customer service as something that, if left alone with disappear.
Coincidentally, as I am writing this article, I just received a phone call from Kinko’s. They were following up with me to ask me how my experience was with them during my recent transaction with them? How cool is that?
They are obviously a company that believes in and invests in making sure that doing business with them is a great experience.
There is definitely a negative ROI on POOR customer service too. Remember the old saying, if your client is happy with your service they will tell a few, if they are unhappy they will tell the world?
You have worked hard to attract and acquire your customer so what are doing to make sure they are having a enjoyable experience with you and will come back to you? Please let us know below.
Loving, Living, Giving Large,