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Lousy customer service is a virus you can’t afford

MedicineNet has a pretty good definition of virus:

  • “…Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. Infection with a virus can cause a person to develop symptoms….”

Last week I had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, one that serves Mexican cuisine and is the sort of eatery that is considered a “dinner house,” as opposed to a small taqueria or coffee shop-type.  It’s one of my favorites because the food is almost always prepared well, the ambiance of the place is great [lighting, decor] and usually the service is good. Not this time.  In fact, this time the service was so bad that I may think twice about going there for lunch the next time I’m in the mood for fish tacos.

Lousy customer service – for a business of any type that relies upon the good will of its customers for both repeat visits and positive word-of-mouth referrals – can be deadly.  Human nature being what it is, we may tell our friends and family about experiences like good restaurants and movies that we liked, but we’ll definitely tell them when the experiences are bad.  This is just like a virus spreading.

I’m not mentioning the name or location of this restaurant because this is not my purpose here…rather, it’s to point out that those of us with businesses that rely on the sale of anything at all must also rely upon the good will of our customers.  If we disappoint our customers they may not return. If we offend our customers chances are good that not only will they not return they are going to tell someone else about the offense.  In that case we would have lost at minimum two customers.

Good customer service isn’t difficult. Mostly it’s courtesy and the small things. In a restaurant it’s being greeted politely and looked at directly.  It’s also being served in a timely fashion.  It’s also making sure that your customer has all the needed items to make the meal pleasant – checking back from time-to-time to make sure that the beverages are full, that the food is satisfying, bringing extra napkins…little things.

If your business is a home-based business and you interact with your customers via the internet or telephone or by snail mail, good customer service involves timeliness of response, courtesy [please, thank you, how may I help you], being prompt to answer any questions or concerns.

Lousy customer service can spread a virus of negative comments that can result in loss of customers and damage to a business’ reputation.  Once this virus has begun it takes a powerful antidote to combat.  There is a saying that goes, ‘it takes ten positives to override one negative.’

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One Response

  1. I agree customer service is crucial in running a business. I’m sure most of us would be able to give examples of a time we had bad customer service and hopefully a time we had Great customer service. I believe with the use of blogging and other new uses of technology good and bad (especially) news travels fast.

    Wired2lead.com has a great tool that will calculate the value of a customer. Many people who treat a customer poorly does not think about the ripple effects. This “what is a customer worth” calculator puts into dollars what that customer was worth to the company. It is a great tool to use for your own personal awareness and for training others in your business.

    Again the website is http://www.wired2lead.com. The information about it is on the front page, there is also a link on the side for “value of a customer.”

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