Are Consumers okay with being treated like crap?

Service with a smile

Customer Service

This isn’t a rant; this is an epiphany and a question that needs to be answered.

Earlier today I walked into a vintage clothing store to check out what they had in stock. Initially the gentleman (HA!) who ran the shop seemed like a nice old man who said hello and good day. After looking around I realized that a lot of his clothes were really, really vintage. So my curious friend; who came along for the adventure, decided to ask where he got the clothes. His response shocked me..

That’s my business – not yours. 1

Ouch – Really?! — Whatever happen to being polite? Most importantly, whatever happened to customer service.

To make things worst I found out that this guy was the owner. As a business owner, I would slap myself before disrespecting a customer. While I understand that some customers can be total tools, it doesn’t make sense to snap  back over an innocent question. If this was an employee, I’d understand the lack of care – But the owner? I-ka-rumba…

What is becoming of Customer Service?

Are businesses really becoming this narrow minded? I think so. Of course not all. There are always some exceptions. Some people are just cranky, some people are extremely nice. But the main issue is that the value of customer service seems to be dropping significantly.

One blogger went as far as suggesting that the consumers should try and make the employees smile!

Tell a joke, do something funny, the point is is this: They’re not going to smile on their own. They need our help. They’re making minimum wage. I wouldn’t smile either. It’s up to us to help them live up to their multi-million dollar advertising campaign by making them smile. That way, perhaps, the people who order after us will see them smile and think to themselves, ‘Hey, they really do smile.’

I don’t buy it. Customer service still matters. Customer service is still what differentiates the great companies and the ones that are sub-par.

If you want customers to be loyal, you need to give them a reason. And making them feel as if they matter is the most effective way of doing so. If that means buying snacks for a meetings with clients or delivering a client a battery. Go out of your way to make that customer feel better. Let them know that you care.

The smallest gesture can result in a lifetime commitment.

1 I think he gets his clothes from dead people.

Creative Commons License photo credit: alancleaver_2000

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