Recently, a friend of mine had a fairly bad experience trying to get permanently scarred…OK, really she felt the sting of bad customer service from numerous tattoo parlours. I encourage you to read her blog but I’ll give you a snap shot: three tattoo parlours acted like they didn’t care about her.
When Cheryl asked for my opinion on this, I shared how unimpressed I was: “Dismissals, broken promises & indifference ain’t good”… but then I had a think after another person chimed in:
Tori’s a pretty smart person so I had to take a pause…Could goods/services trump how customers are treated in some situations? Skilled artists can sometimes have a difficult temperament because they’re dealing with a lot of creative inspirations filled with highs and lows. So, to get their best efforts, shouldn’t the customer have some patience and understanding of the creative process and perhaps lower their standards when it comes to how they are provided customer service?
Yeah, um…NO. And to be fair, neither does Tori…
Businesses need at least two things to survive: good relationships with their customers and money coming in. Sure you can be the most talented tattoo artist in town but if you’re not providing great service, anyone who recommends your work will also share their bad experience in the same breathe. But, these tattoo companies did give Cheryl plenty of warning (and two of the stores lost her business because of it). Here are 7 warning signs you aren’t a business’s top priority:
1) Not returning your emails or phone calls – your customers understand if you don’t respond right away…but not to respond at all? Your customers have questions which can lead to giving you money. Help them.
2) Not honouring reservations or appointments – if your businesses offers reservations or appointments, that’s a contract with your customer to be fulfilled. Cheryl had her agreement broken. Not the best way to build a new relationship.
3) Not keeping you in the loop – communication is key. Your customers will be so much more understanding if they feel they’re involved than if they feel left out. If something is going wrong, tell them. Also, tell them what you’re doing about it (that’s important).
4) Not making eye contact – when engaging with another human being, the bare minimum you can do to acknowledge them is to look at them. If you can’t even manage that…
5) Not stopping their conversation with another employee while helping you – you know how all those customers come in and spend their money which in turn pays for your wages so you can buy those things and pay those bills…yeah, you should stop talking to your friend now.
6) Not focusing on the customer who came in the store but rather the person who calls in – the difference between the customer that drove to your store versus the customer that picked up the phone to call the store is effort. I’m not saying don’t answer the phone but do prioritize your customers accordingly.
7) Not staffing their business well enough to have available staff – If I’m wandering up and down the aisles of your store but I’m not able to find anyone to help me, that shows you’re more interested in your business than the customer. Find that happy medium for staffing levels that makes sure your customers are taken care of.
Let’s look at this from a different way… if you met friend and the first thing they did was stop talking to you and answered their phone. Or never looked at you while you spoke. Or never showed up to your lunch dates. Or never called you back. What kind of trust or value would you place on that person? Exactly.
And now for something, completely different:
Now for someone showing they DO care: @ThriftyFoods. A friend of mine, Kevin, alerted me to a possible bad customer experience with the company only for them to quickly address it and engage with him on it. They were great at a little crisis communication 101: Acknowledge, Apologize, Fix