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My Rant: Why Your Customer Service is Killing Your Business

I don’t know what’s in the water, but I have had more than my fair share of bad customer service experiences lately. Sure, I’ve been a little busier and dealing with more venues and shops than typically, but I also think the standard of service has dropped. Today, I thought I would share my thoughts on why the customer service (or lack thereof) is killing businesses across the country. I’ll be honest – it’s part rant and part … well, it’s mostly just rant.

First things First – The Client is ALWAYS Your ONLY Client
I hate to say it, but no one cares that you’re really busy. I’m sure it makes you feel all self-important to say it over and over, but the customer does not care. Your potential client is coming to you and looking to spend money on you and your time. If you give the impression that you have too many other people to take care of, or worse, more important people to take care of, you might as well kiss that client good-bye. No one wants to believe that they are last on your to-do list and it’s your job to suck it up and put on that smile and appear calm, cool & collected for your clients.

The Client is ALWAYS your priority
I went bridal shopping with a client (and friend, yay!) of mine last week. We went to David’s Bridal which has, in my opinion, some of the worst customer service ever. I made the appointment early and they asked the bride to go online, create an account and “favorite” the dresses she likes so they can pull them when she comes in the store. I loved the efficiency. However, when we arrived, they looked at her list and rather rudely began crossing them out. “We don’t have that one, we don’t have that one, no, no, no”. I was already angry, but I politely asked if they had anything similar to the dresses she chose. “Nope.” was the only answer I got. I went on to tell them that she already tried on a dress that she loved, described it to them, went on to tell how it went perfectly with her mom’s veil from 25 years ago and asked if they had anything similar. Again, “no” was the only response!

I don’t care if you don’t have anything that I’m looking for, but as a client coming in looking to spend money at your store, you better have options and you better have good reasons for me to try those options. There’s nothing that gets under my skin more than businesses not going out of their way to find what you want and need (or the closest thing to it, at least).

The client is always right
There’s a store in the NY/CT area called Stew Leonards. For those of you who haven’t been, it’s like a mix of Chuck-E-Cheese, a farm, and a grocery store. Okay, so that doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a cool place. I usually suffer from a slight amount of sensory overload when I visit, but it really is nice. What I like best about it is the sign that greets you as soon as you enter “Rule 1: The customer is always right. Rule 2: If the customer is ever wrong, re-read rule 1.” It’s the foundation of their business and something that should be modeled in all businesses. Whether you are right or not, it’s most important to listen to your client’s needs, identify where you can help and do everything in your power to make it right.

Let’s make a commitment to think of our customers first – to remember that they are the ones who keep us in business. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Let’s put aside our stress about the amount of work we have to do or the lack of funds coming in and get back to the basics – our clients. Let’s treat them well and serve all their needs. Then, I’m convinced our businesses will flourish and will be sustained even through the worst economic times! That’s it for my rant, I hope it was enlightening and called you to action. Enjoy your clients today!

Liz King

As the owner of Liz King Events, a social media integrated events company, Liz writes on topics ranging from events to social media to business development. In 2010, she won the awards for Most Thought Provoking Blog and People's Choice Blog in the #Eventprofs blog awards. Visit Website | Connect on Twitter

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