Surviving Customer Service

Last week we talked a bit about how challenging customer service can be and how inconsiderate some people are. Everyone has bad days and are allowed a few meltdowns in their lives, but the number of people who are inconsiderate around the world on a daily basis is, in my opinion, unacceptable.  So this week I spent some time thinking about this and how we businesses can combat this in our own way.  We can’t change everyone or force everyone to behave in a certain way, but there are some things we can do to help avoid these situations as much as possible.

First, communication.  I included communication last week but it’s an important aspect for this week’s discussion too.  If we took the time to properly communicate what we offered, what we don’t offer, what ingredients were/weren’t included, how our process works etc., we’d be able to weed out a lot of the questions and issues. Yes, we’d still get some people who are too lazy to read what we’ve so kindly written up, but it helps resolve many issues.

Second, provide good value.  Providing something of good value means people will be happy to tell others about what you offer.  It should be presented in a neat and tidy way, with a clear price and with good lighting if appropriate.  A confused or uncertain buyer usually won’t bother.

Third, atmosphere is important.  Very few people want to shop in a store that is dirty, has outdated products or makes them feel uncomfortable to interact with the employees.  If you want to be successful have a clean store, make it welcoming and comfortable for people to be in and be attentive to things like the employee’s dress and attitude, the lighting of the store and the volume of the music.

You’re probably saying to yourself how simple and stupid some of these things seem.  Yet time and again I work with businesses that can’t be bothered to change the trash, hire employees who never learned any manners and sell products that I wouldn’t want to pass along to starving children around the world.  If these simple things can make such a big impact on our bottom line, why don’t we do them?

“It all comes back to the basics. Serve customers the best-tasting food at a good value in a clean, comfortable restaurant, and they’ll keep coming back.”  Dave Thomas

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