We all know the old maxim that the customer is always right, which balances nicely with caveat emptor/buyer beware. But, in the game of public relations, the key part is public relations – yes PR is supposed to take into consideration the public, not just the media. And,for a small business, the public is its everyday customers.
How far should companies go in their effort to make the customer happy? Is there that line that needs to be crossed to keep everyone happy?Now, yes, I am one of those disgruntled customers when things don’t go right, but I am not a screamer and a yeller … because it serves no purpose, and usually won’t help you get what you want.
But, should companies and stores go out of their way? The rule of thumb is that one disgruntled customer will go and talk to seven friends, while one happy customer tells three friends. And, with blogs, people aren’t out there blogging about things and places they like, but about the places and things that disappointed them, or upset them.
Case in point: I have been wearing glasses for years, well for 27 years. I know how to take care of my glasses, because for years, I could not see without them. After I had Lasek in Scottsdale, I took my old glasses that were pretty new and had them turned into sunglasses from the same place I bought the frames: Optica.
Now, since I have had the lenses done – a gradiated, reflective lens – in less than a month they cracked and now about five months later the reflective material is fading. Now, since I have been wearing glasses for so long, I am pretty careful. I went in, they told me that it was my fault, and I was calm and nice … but decided that when I get glasses again, not to use them, especially since it took more than a month to get the lenses the first time around.
This is something that every store needs to think about, though. I did not like how they handled the situation, they lost me as a customer, and now I am blogging about it. It’s the grassroots level of public relations, to keep a customer happy. What should the store do, in a competitive market? Is it okay to lose one customer, who in all honesty, does not spend the amount of money that others apparently do at the store? At the end of the day, the answer is probably yes, in a simple cost/benefit analysis.
But, you have to weigh that issue each time you have an unhappy customer in the store.