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2 things you ought to expect in customer service

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=salesman&iid=3751540″ src=”2/2/4/c/Consumer_Confidence_Index_c98c.jpg?adImageId=7966807&imageId=3751540″ width=”234″ height=”156″ /]Let’s set a situation: a three-day event that includes an area with vendors booths.  You are an attendee to the event eager to purchase from several vendors who carry the merchandise you’re looking for.  This scenario is quite common:

  • cat and dog shows: cat and dog owners hope to garner ribbons and awards for their pets and vendors sell a variety of goods that have something to do with cats or dogs – sweatshirts with cat/dog images, cat/dog-shaped teapots, paintings, notecards, scratching posts, dog beds…a huge variety
  • model train expos – besides model train displays, vendors carry train cars, display setup materials and a host of items for sale that model train enthusiasts look for
  • outdoor art shows and festivals – these offer people the opportunity to view and enjoy art, much like an art museum experience, and also the chance to purchase art from the artists with booths at the show

There are plenty of other examples.  The point of this post is to explore what you, as a consumer, ought to expect in the way of customer service from a vendor.  Vendors are businesses.  The person in the booth either is the business owner himself or is a representative of a parent company.  In either case their desire is to sell merchandise.

As a customer entering a vendor booth you look around, look over the merchandise and make a selection.  What might you expect in the way of customer service from the vendor?  At minimum, in my opinion, the vendor should provide:

  1. attention– this is a golden opportunity at the point of sale between the vendor and the customer.  The customer has the potential of representing many more prospective customers.  Don’t rush the encounter.   And don’t pressure the customer.   Try to have the customer feel as though they are valued and not just another “sale.”
  2. respectbe gracious and courteous. Your customer has value to your business and deserves the niceties of please and thank you and is there any other way I may serve you?

Both of these expectations might not be what you thought I’d say.  Usually I say these things about customer service:

  • give your customers quality and value
  • give your customers enough information to make an informed decision as to whether to purchase the service or product

I mention attention and respect because this past weekend I did attend a two-day event which had many vendors selling a variety of merchandise in which I was interested.   The vendor in one of the booths had quite a bit of interesting things but I couldn’t get the person to give me the necessary information I needed to make a good purchase decision.  In fact, I couldn’t get the vendor to even acknowledge my presence.   There were only two vendors selling the merchandise I was looking for.  And in this booth especially were some items the other vendor didn’t have.  And I had cash money.  I was a paying customer.  Here’s why I left without buying:

  • no attention – the vendor stood talking with the only other person in the booth – who was the vendor of the adjoining booth…not even a customer
  • no respect – basic courtesy should have brought the vendor out of his stupor and to my side asking if I had any questions.  I actually had a couple pieces of merchandise in hand, but when it became clear I was going to get no service, I just put them back down and left the booth

Made me wonder if some business owners, whether with tiny businesses or huge businesses, feel they have an entitlement...entitlement to commerce if-you-will.  Some business owners convey an attitude of not needing any one particular person’s business because they have so many other customers.  I think this is a dangerous attitude to have for longterm business health.  Why?  One of the “rules” of commerce:

  • an unhappy customer or client is guaranteed to tell someone about his/her dissatisfaction…that alone could lose the unlucky business current and prospective clients and could hurt the business’ reputation

One thing important to remember, again my opinion only, is that our customers are the lifeblood of our business…it is basic mathmatics:

  • customer plus cash equals sales equates to profit equates to business health and future longevity in the marketplace

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4 Responses

  1. I think entitlement is a problem with a lot of businesses!

    Dr. Letitia Wright
    The Wright Place TV Show
    http://wrightplacetv.com
    http://www.twitter.com/drwright1

  2. I have to say lack of attention is the thing with most businesses that drives me straight out the door.

    Love it when you do get good customers service with great attention.

    Rich

  3. Hi Rich – I was fortunate this past weekend to enjoy the “luxury” of personal attention while shopping – and this close to Christmas! You can bet this store will get my business again. I wonder if business owners and the managers of businesses realize that all commerce is hinged upon personal interaction and not just numbers. Have a wonderful holiday season. – Linda

  4. […] involves cats.  And purchasing Christmas gifts.  And it is the antithesis example of the bad customer service I received from a vendor at an event […]

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