Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Customer Service

Today's topic has nothing to do with books or writing, really.  I guess I could make a stretch at the end but you're smart enough to see through my attempt.  No today, I'm fired up about customer services.  Customer service in all industries.

Let me back up a bit and say I graduated college with a degree in Marketing Management.  I studied all aspects of marketing and applied those teachings to real life.  First off, you have to know where to place that product and how to get your target audience in the door.  Next, and this is the tricky part, you need to keep them there and sell them the product.  Finally, once the sale is said and done, you need to have follow-up.  Make that person not only love the product, but if something were to go wrong or if they have follow-up questions, there needs to be good service. 

All of this brings me to a point. In this day with the bad economy and people being better shoppers, don't you think that customer service should be job #1?  That in order to seel the deal and hope for repeat business, don't you think there needs to be, now more than ever, better customer service?  I do.

First off, I consider myself a savvy shopper.  But a loyal shopper.  If you snatch me on the first time around and it was a great experience, I'm likely to keep coming back.  And recommend you to my friends. 

This holiday season has plagued me with bad customer service.  I understand, it's busy, I get it.  Heck, I worked retail at large department stores and small specialty shops.  I get it.  But not once did I let my mood interfere with my job. 

Today, I called my car dealer to get my car in for routine maintenance.  My car is new so this is only my 2nd time needing service and after un-stellar customer service the first time, I'm more unlikely to enjoy the second but I'm stuck getting service from this particular dealer because I paid for a maintenance package.  My bad.  Anyway, my husband also gets service from the same name of dealer, just a different shop and different make of vehicle and when he goes in, they treat him like a god which has made him purchase 2 vehicles from this dealer in the years we've been married.  First off, the service dept at my place could care less what I want.  Then when I make the comment of needing a loaner since I will have 2 kids with me and sitting at a repair shop for 2+ hours is not an option, he tells me I need to speak with my salesman.  I mention that the salesman is hard to get a hold of and last time didn't return my call and I was stuck sitting at the shop.  You know what he said?  Nothing.  So fine, I call my salesman and he assures me he'll have a car waiting for me.  I'll have to get back with you on that.  It would have been nice if the service was like "listen, I understand, he's busy but here's what I'll do.  I'll follow-up with him today and make sure he gets your message or that he knows to have a car for you."  Was that really so hard?

Next, I had to exchange a necklace chain at a locally owned jewelry store; a place I've shopped at for 12 years or more and have sent most of my friends to when they needed jewelry.  Not to mention my in-laws are customers as well as close friends to the owner.  My husband, bless his wonderful heart, had a necklace with the birthstones of me, my grandmother and my daughter made for us.  I love it!  So the lady there, and I've used her before but has never been a "fan" was like too busy to really focus on my needs.  I mean, she didn't even smile.  I almost wanted to be like, do you know who I am, but I came off my high horse and kept my wits.  Then I needed to have other items repaired or cleaned and you'd think I asked her to work late on Christmas.  If I was bothering her so much, I could take my business elsewhere. 

I don't know, maybe it's me.  Maybe I expect too much for my money.  I used to think I got bad service if I dressed poorly but the more I think about it, my appearance shouldn't matter. 

What are your thoughts?  How many times do you get bad service somewhere before you say something or discontinue going there?  I'd love to hear what you think.

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