It was the holiday season and I wanted to buy a present for my dad. I had already decided what I wanted to buy so I only needed to go to the store. For that particular item I had the following options: stores A and B (of course A and B aren’t their real names) which are well-known local stores very specific on their products and niche, and other stores that are more generic but that usually sell the item I wanted. Here’s the thing with stores A and B: B is more focused on gifts for men and has a wider range of products but their prices are super high. Store A sells specifically the type of product that I was looking for so they have a wide variety of brands and therefore prices. Sounds perfect, right? Well… not so much. They lack “people skills”.
So, my first option was to try on the more “generic” stores. I went to three of them without any success. Finally, the employee in one of those stores suggested that I go to store A. My answer was “They are so rude that I’m trying to avoid them”. She laughed and replied that I wasn’t the only one to tell her that.
Since I wasn’t having any luck I decided to contact store A through their fanpage. To my surprise, they were very fast with their answers. They had the item I was looking for and they told me the prices and options available fast and politely. “Maybe they’ve changed,” I thought. I went to the store the following day full of optimism. My renewed hope was quickly destroyed. Yes, they had the item. Yes, I bought it. But they were still as rude as I remembered them. Instead of feeling the joy of buying something for a loved one, I felt like a hostage: if I wanted that product I had to deal with their lack of manners.
Back in the day, I used to work as a customer care rep at a call center, I’ve been trained to do my best to assist a customer, so I have to confess that I can be very particular regarding customer care issues. And mostly when I am the customer. I don’t know if people from store A are aware of their bad reputation. Maybe, since their products are great they assume they already gained customers’ loyalty so they don’t pay any attention to customer satisfaction.
Since I don’t want your business to have a bad reputation regarding customer experience, here’s what I would suggest:
Establish a relationship:
Don’t think in terms of quick sales. Think about what would benefit your customers. If they perceive you as a contributor instead of as a salesperson (even if they know that you want to sell), sales will come along.
Develop your empathy:
The more you can walk into your client’s shoes, the more you’ll be able to determine what they need and to better serve them. When people notice that you’re doing your best to assist them, they will become happy customers even if you weren’t able to solve a specific inquiry.
Become an example:
If you have any collaborators or employees, don’t just tell them how to treat your customers. Instead, communicate your brand’s culture, assist your customers the way you want your employees to do it, and most of all: treat your staff members exactly the way you want them to treat your clients.
Remember, everything you create around your business is part of your brand experience. Your customer service, better said as “customer experience”, is an important aspect to keep in mind. The way you assist your clients can boost or destroy your business reputation.
If you haven’t done it so far, take a moment and think: how do you want people to feel about your brand?