Have you ever waited in line at the checkout at the grocery store only to be ignored by the checker when it was finally your turn? Have you experienced that weird situation where you are the customer, but the checker is talking to someone else the entire time she is supposed to be paying attention to you and your purchase? Makes you feel like the Invisible Man…makes you want to hop up and down, waving your arms in front of her face and yelling, “Hello? Can you see me? I’m your customer!” This has happened to me. I left the store double-checking my receipt [how can I be sure she even payed attention when scanning my goods?], feeling ignored and slighted [I thought cash-paying customers were important] and wondering if I had any real options about changing grocery stores.
You could argue that the checker was not the store manager or store owner. You could argue that the checker was an hourly employee and what did it matter anyway. You could even argue that a grocery store is a large enough business that the loss of one customer is no big deal.
However – You can also argue that every employee of a business is the face of that business to the consumer. How every employee treats and deals with customers is a reflection – in the mind of the customer – of what the business values. You can also remember that when a person has a good consumer experience the hope is he will tell one or two people – this is the essence of referral business. But you can also remember that if a customer has a bad experience, he is likely to tell about 10 people. Bad news travels faster and farther than good.
Let’s contrast that with another true-life example. The other day I went to a little taqueria – my part of California, in fact my community, is home to dozens of little Mexican cuisine eateries. You get basic good food- tacos, burritoes, ceviche and other words I cannot pronounce because I don’t speak Spanish. But I know good food when I taste it.
I go to this little taqueria because the food is extraordinarily good and the prices are low. [If you follow my blog you probably have picked up that for lunch out I favor high quality food at low prices – sometimes a challenge to find.] My favorite is the “super taco.” It’s small, but full of really good flavor and their salsa is “to die for,” to put it in the vernacular.
I went in for a late lunch a couple of days ago and as soon as I opened the door, I was greeted with a smile and “Hello, how are you today?” from the owner/manager/chef. I was shown courteous service…and made to feel like a valued customer. As I sat eating my chips, salsa and super tacos and sipping my Tamarind soda, I noticed that every customer who came in was greeted equally warmly. Even the fellows with the Bluetooth apparatus in their ears stopped talking to the air and acknowledged the wam greeting with one in return. Now this was customer service.
What if your business is an online business? Same courtesy should be extended to every customer. Make sure you follow-up in a timely manner with every sale, every question, every inquiry with a friendly tone and use Please and Thank You. Make your online customers feel that they were valued.
I don’t know about you, but I love having happy customers for my business.