It doesn’t cost more to treat people like they matter, but when you provide exceptional customer service they don’t mind paying more. Increasing profit margins can be had in multiple ways but it’s best to start with treating your customers well. You’ll gain more loyalty and make ambassadors of them that will sell your product for you. Make it your mission to sell not just a quality product, but quality service as well.
Pleasing you, pleases me – A lesson in customer service
Customer service really does matter. Back in 1983 I worked for a company called Taco Bueno. The first week I was hired, I was told my goal was to earn a pin on button that said Pleasing You Pleases Me. Taco Bueno’s policy was every customer was always right, even when he was wrong. You were to greet a customer with a friendly voice, a smile, and to always ask if they were dining with us when they were walk in customers. You were not to ask if the order was to go because that implied you didn’t want them to stay.
I worked at the number one store for the fast food chain. Located in South Arlington, our store consistently beat out every other store in the nation. Why? Because my manager, Palmer, made sure we followed policy number one at all times: take care of the customer, no matter what.
Sadly, that policy is no longer their priority and it shows in their service, and quality of food.
Chick-fil-A oozes customer service
A company you may be familiar with these days that has similar policies is Chick-fil-A. Chick-fil-A is the number one most popular restaurant chain in America. You know why? Customer service. Chick-fil-A is a cold hard reminder of how poorly the other chains perform. Walking into a Chick-fil-A versus a McDonald’s (or Taco Bueno) is night and day. A harsh truth to how far customer service is on the scale for most owner’s today. A welcome respite from the usual dour faces at other chains.
A lesson every business needs to address is how their employees treat their customers. After all, those ‘annoying’ customers ultimately keep the business open and the paychecks coming in, right? It would make sense to treat them well. But far too few do.
Training in customer service at the start
When training employee’s, businesses forget to include common sense customer service. While every employee is an individual with their own personality, a company can train employees in how to treat customers during a variety of situations. Not all customers are friendly, I get that, but how an employee handles simple day to day communication is an easy lesson. And one I don’t think many companies address today. They’re far too busy slinging tacos or sacking groceries than they are in friendly communication and common respect.
Cheap versus value to the customer
Many businesses make up for their lack of service by being the cheapest. You may want your Big Mac, or your Sam’s Club Cola, and you may want them because they’re cheap, but the experience will leave you frustrated, irritated, and swearing never to go back. Only to go back next week, because they’re cheap, and then complain about it after you leave. Again.
Is that the legacy you want to leave for your company? People come to your business because it’s cheap, not because you provide a good experience?
People go to Chick-Fil-A even though their prices are higher. They like the service.
People go to Target even though their prices are higher. They like the service.
People will pay a little more for good service
Is poor customer service hurting the bottom line of their cheaper counterparts? No, not really. Because…they’re cheap. They’ll always have customers who want or need a bargain, but the customers pay for that bargain in return by absorbing, ignoring, and overlooking mistreatment.
But is it hurting Chick-fil-A’s bottom line to be more expensive? Not at all. You can provide a good product, exceptional customer service and raise your rates if you’re providing the customers what they want. To be treated like they matter. Who wouldn’t pay a few cents more to be treated well?
Where does your business lie in the customer service debate?
What do you do in your business? Offer the cheapest, or offer the best?
It’s an uncomfortable question, especially if you haven’t addressed the issue, directly and specifically, with your employees.
In my business, I could offer cheaper rates, do a half assed job, deliver a pretty website that won’t sell a thing, and consider it a job well done while rushing the client on their way and out of my hair. But why would I do that? I could treat my clients poorly, delay their projects, not care when something isn’t right, ignore them when they need me, and I could probably still convince a few more schmucks to buy my services while tossing the finished project off to the side.
Instead, I’d rather provide my clients with the best possible service I can for as long as I can. Be there for them when they need me. Approach their projects with respect and with a listening ear to make sure we do it right. Do these things because it pleases my client, and because…it pleases me to provide a job well done.
It doesn’t cost more to treat people right
The Walmarts and McDonald’s (and many others) of the world could use some customer service therapy. Today on Facebook I stewed about how I was treated on a recent trip to Walmart long after I left there. It doesn’t hurt or cost extra to be nice to your customers. To act like they matter.
A simple concept, but pays huge dividends in customer retention and loyalty. You could put two businesses side by side that sold the same thing, and the one with exemplary customer service would retain all the customers. It’s a simple concept.
One that, somewhere, got lost in the service world.
Do yourself and your business a favor and add customer service back in to your training program.
Imagine the difference in experience a trip to Walmart would be if the owners had made customer service a priority. They’d be unstoppable.
Make customer service a priority in your business, regardless of industry or competition. [click_to_tweet tweet=”Make customer service a priority in your business, regardless of your competition. Base your company on value, service and integrity. And most of all, treat your customers with respect and dignity. via @mrshaffly” quote=”Base your company on value, service and integrity. And most of all, treat your customers with respect and dignity. “]After all, they are the ones who keep the door open. Even if they (or you) have had a bad day.