How many times have you said to yourself “I will never do business with that company again”? The reason you feel disgruntled has virtually nothing to do with the company. It has everything to do with the person you encounter at that moment. Client satisfaction levels are directly impacted by the attitude of the person we meet in the first few seconds…either face-to-face or on the telephone. The person’s job title is irrelevant. You may be in a doctor’s office talking to the receptionist or you may be talking to the doctor directly to immediately feel uncomfortable with the person’s manner and level of interest. You could be on an airplane, gas station, high-end fashion store, corner store, coffee shop…It makes no difference. About two years ago I made a decision to stop going to a hair salon because I felt that the owner did not value me as a client. My “moment of truth” was her attitude displayed towards myself and my wedding party. She was completely disinterested in how important this event was in my life, despite the fact that I had been a client for about five years. I realized that had the power to choose where to take my business, so I found somewhere else to go. Bad attitudes are everywhere and as a result, millions of dollars are being lost daily. Unfortunately, we are just as surprised when we receive exceptional service as we are when service is terrible.
Consider your options as a customer:
- You have a right to be discerning – it’s your money
- You have the buying power – competition is fierce
- When you express your concerns politely and assertively, you are more likely to receive a satisfactory outcome and may be surprised beyond your imagination
- Ask for what you want – A highly professional organization will recognize and reward loyalty
- Stay savvy – Educate yourself before you buy
- If you give good service, you will receive good service…most of the time
- The internet has changed everything – You can now broadcast your dissatisfaction to the world
As a business owner or service provider, here are seven questions to ask if business is not what you think it should be:
- What have we done to keep morale high and create an atmosphere where people will want to work for us?
- Have I employed people who care about my business or do I think they automatically should “get it”?
- Have I surveyed my clients to find out what they really think?
- Do we have a service culture? If not, what steps are we willing to take to build one?
- When was the last time our business invested in professional development?
- Do we see training as a waste of time – A cost rather than a benefit to growing our customer base?
- Do senior levels take responsibility for instilling an “of service” mindset at every level of our organization, or do they stay at arms length from day-to-day operations?
If just one answer causes concern, then it is up to you to decide the level of urgency to make changes. We are all someone’s customer and therefore we know what it feels like to receive exceptional or terrible service. One bad experience can “make or break” the relationship your clients have with your business. Customers have long memories of their experience with you. You and your employees are synonymous with your brand and the name of your business. Subtly or otherwise, remember that attitudes are contagious and have a powerful influence on your customers’ purchasing decisions daily.