So a recent study by American Express shows that people value Customer Service much more now. I could talk about how the economy dropped about 600 points, how the loss of the space program will disrupt the U.S. technological future for decades, how a bus driver lost his job for helping and potentially saving the lives of two police officers, or how an insane woman has developed the habit of eating her late husband’s ashes. Instead, I’ll talk about something relevant.
Customer service is important. But I’ve held a ton of retail/sales jobs and I can honestly say that Customer Service has always been on the back of everyone’s minds. It’s always been about making the sale, and CS comes second. Well, AMEX says this is an incorrect way to think nowadays. Since American’s are finally trying to get over the hump of this recession they’ve valued CS more than ever. Customer service should come first, and this will produce the maximum return business for any company.
From my own experience, I believe this to be true. In stores I’ve worked I’ve always seen the honest customer service to reel in customers for repeat business. But now that I work in the service/entertainment industry and my place of employment puts customer service ahead of making a profit, I see how much customer service is REALLY worth. Before this job, companies I worked for only really applied customer service toward customers that complain. But not everyone that has a bad or even mediocre experience complains. As my most recent boss put it to me, “I don’t care what decisions you make for customer service, if it makes the customer happy then it’s alright by me” and “How can we survive as a business without making customers happy?” This caused me to think about the nature of business and why customer service is so important. As the article goes on to prove, customer service is more important than a strong sales plan.
Earlier today I had a difficult customer. She was loyal to another business but only came to us because the other place was booked for the night. She kept telling me how our schedule wasn’t working for her and how she was hesitant to even try us. So we bent our schedule to our own, opened 45 minutes early for her and gave her even more stuff. Despite this she still complained and was still less than satisfied. We did everything we could for her and she caused one heck of a headache for everyone in my staff. But at one point one of her guests had used an arcade game we had, which malfunctioned and ate a dollar. He looked at the machine, frustrated, said out loud “It ate my dollar!” with an angry tone, and walked back to the customer and began to complain. Had I worked at any other store our priorities would have been to keep that dollar, since handing out money is bad, and only re-reimburse this guy if he complained. Thankfully I don’t have dementia and I don’t work in a place that punishes customer service so without him even asking I had refunded him the dollar. When I handed it to him the customer had noticed. Later in the day she told me she was so happy with us, our customer service, and our business in general, that she planned on coming back and was going to book another event before she left. I left before she did, and regardless if she booked another event with us or not, we came a long way in her mind and we at least planted the seed for future business. This is how Customer Service should be done.