As many of you know, I’m a stickler for a great customer experience. Deliver it, and you’ve got a loyal customer. Miss it, and I’ll still give you another shot. But unfortunately, after repeated attempts and failures, you’ll wind up on my blackball list of retailers I’ll never buy from again.
Imagine my surprise when a well-known national retailer with an upscale home division wound up on my list. From the ineptness of the in-store staff (who serve an upscale clientele whom no doubt have far less patience than I do), to the customer service people whom I have to follow up with to get any information, and don’t even respond to emails, this experience could not have been more frustrating. I’ve now moved on to the customer service supervisor (wish me luck) and emailed the company asking the Vice President of Retail Operations to call me.
The old adage about having a bad experience and telling 10 people is so 2000. With Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, a blog, and a consulting business, I now have the opportunity to tell thousands of people, not just 10.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
There’s no better time than the present to remember that the customer is always right.
And you’d better do everything in your power to make it true.
I don’t want you to do say you’ll do something and then not do it. I want you to follow up when you say you’re going to.
I don’t want you to give me excuses after the fact. I want you to alert me before the fact.
I don’t want you to read what the customer service manual says to say to apologize. I want you to say it like you feel it and mean it.
Retail is now about open and honest communication and nothing more. It’s about having an ongoing dialogue with your customers. It’s about building a relationship.
Your customers are posting comments about your business online in so many places that you’ll never be able to find them all. But if you hit the big aforementioned social networking sites as well as local business sites like Yelp, chances are you’ll see what customers are saying about you. But reading about yourself is just part of the equation. Make sure you show them that you’re listening by responding to their disappointment or frustration that they had with your business by posting it out there for the world to see. I think your customers will appreciate your honestly in the open forum.
And hey Mr. or Ms. Vice President of that big national retailer with an upscale home division that doesn’t cater to its customers, call me if you read this.
How are you building the relationship with your customers?
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photo courtesy flickr.com user brainclots