Often when I go out shopping or otherwise browsing in stores I find myself surrounded with people who really don’t care. They don’t care about the customer, they certainly don’t care about their employer, obviously they aren’t really all that concerned with keeping their jobs. Poor customer service and commonly a huge lack of my money being spent is the result.
As a small business you cannot afford to loose a valuable customer because of an indifferent employee. I personally have received poor service at almost every single type of business that could exist. Small stores, large enterprises, the standard bad McDonald’s service… the one thing in common between all of these places is I don’t come back.
The interesting thing with bad service is that it often doesn’t directly emanate from the teenager taking my money. Actually I would say that the majority of instances where I was particularly upset with the service was when it came from someone who should have known better.
One example of a service failure occurred a few years ago for myself. At the time I was in love and religiously purchased flowers for my then girlfriend. I loved to purchase the flowers and quite simply my girl loved receiving them. After some searching I found a wonderful little flower shop that provided me with excellent service and a great price. Since I was quite organized and often short of time on the day I required my flowers I made sure to preorder and even prepay my orders. This worked quite well for me since they managed to create amazing arrangements of flowers that wowed. Unfortunately for this flower shop, a few months in they decided not to put together my preorder and just waited until I arrived. This not only meant I ended up with a half quality arrangement but I was also late for my appointment (I had expected not to have to wait). This disappointment caused me to find a new flower shop that was willing to deliver the quality I required.
You may read this story and think, wow high standards. Or you may think what an ass of me to quit on this small business because of one failure. I believe there is one thing a small business can do that a larger business just cannot deliver upon and that is the customer relationship. When I build a relationship with a business it causes me to rely upon that business to deliver the same quality they have always delivered. I default and select this business even if others may be better priced or easier to access (within reason). A business deciding to throw that relationship away is the number 1 failure in my books.
The true moral of this story is anyone can sell me flowers. Its the one who decides to provide consistent and quality service that will win my money in the end. Do not allow your employee’s or even yourself to through away valuable customers by not providing the service that made you the go-to.