Drug testing

Whats The Customer Service Buzz About Your Business?

If you're a regular reader of my column you know that my number one pet peeve is bad customer service. Nothing chaps my backside more than paying hard-earned money for a product or service only to have the provider of said product or service become apathetic, obnoxious or just downright rude after the transactional smoke has cleared.

The bottomline, my entrepreneurial friend, is this: it doesn't matter if your product is fast food, slow food, retail goods, computers, lawn mowers, books, real estate or automobiles, if a customer is willing to pay you good money in exchange for your product or service that customers deserves to be treated with gratitude and respect, before and after the sale. Period. I'm constantly amazed at how many business owners and the frontline employees who represent them seem to forget this simple fact.

It's like the old saying about getting a little respect in the morning. If you court me before the sale, you'd better respect me afterward. Just because you have my money in your pocket and I have your product in my hand, that does not mean that my needs have been fully satisfied or that my expectations have ceased to exist. To the contrary, our relationship is just getting started. It's up to you how well we will get along and how long our relationship will last.

Here's the point: customer service should not stop after the sale. In fact, customer support AFTER the sale can have greater impact on the success of your business than customer support before the sale.

Nothing generates negative buzz about a business like bad customer service, and nothing will drive nails in a business' coffin faster. News of bad customer service travels like lightning and spreads like wildfire. Think back to the last time you were on the receiving end of bad customer service. I'd be willing to bet that you immediately went out into the world and told everyone you met about the experience. You probably also warned them to "never do business with those &^%$ or you'll get treated the same!"

As a business person, it should be your mission to make every customer a repeat customer, and one of the best ways to do that is by delivering superior customer service every time that customer comes through your door. Superior customer service leads to increased customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat business, which leads to customer loyalty. It is also much cheaper to keep a customer than to obtain a new one.

The fast food industry is especially prone to customer service problems. This is due in large part to the fact that every transaction is a face-to-face sale and the average fast food worker is a disgruntled teenager who would rather be lying on a bed of nails than standing behind a fast food counter schlepping fries.

However, that doesn't always have to be the case. This is not meant as an ad for Chic Filet or as a slam at Taco Bell, but the difference in customer service between these two fast food titans is astounding.

I used to frequent both establishments (fast food is my crack), so this is the voice of experience speaking. Behind the counter at the local Chic Filet are young people who seem genuinely happy to be of service. They are clean cut and polite. They don't wear their baseball caps sideways or have anything visibly pierced. They look me in the eye, they smile like there is no place on earth they would rather be, and they ask for my order in clear, concise English. They thank me profusely and invite me to come again. Excellent customer service after the sale.

Inversely, a recent trip to a local Taco Bell almost ended on an episode of Cops because the young lady behind the counter grew angry when I politely pointed out that my nachos were stale and asked for a fresh bag (pet peeve #132: stale nachos). Miss Mary Sunshine snatched the offending nachos from my hand and slam dunked them in a trash can, then tossed a replacement bag (which were also stale) on the counter in front of me. She then gave me a look that clearly said that if I had any further complaints she'd be happy to escort me outside to discuss them in detail. I like nachos, but not so much that I would risk getting my behind kicked by a disgruntled teenage girl wearing a sideways Taco Bell cap. Not-so-excellent customer service after the sale.

Now, which restaurant do you think I will go to the next time I feel the need to feed my fast food monkey? And which restaurant do you think I enthusiastically recommend to my friends? The one that understands the importance of good customer service before and after the sale, of course.

The worst customer service experience I've ever had involved the purchase of a vehicle at a local used car lot. I purchased the used Ford Expedition on a Friday evening and when problems arose with the vehicle over the weekend, I went back to the dealership on Monday morning to speak with the sales manager. To say the least, the sales manager (who acted like my best friend on Friday) was not thrilled to see me on Monday. To make a very long story short, when I pointed out that he wasn't being very helpful after the sale he came around the desk yelling at the top of his lungs and waving his hands in my face. By the time the receptionist managed to calm him down, the sales manager had gone so far as to call me "a retarded idiot" (which may be considered redundant) and had instructed me to do something with the vehicle that I believe is anatomically impossible. It was an Expedition, I'm a little guy. Use your imagination.

Though the dealership owner later apologized and offered to take care of any problem I had, the damage to his business had already been done. The bad buzz machine started the second I left his lot.

Do you think I told everyone I met about my experience with that dealership? You bet your stale nachos I did. Do you think I will ever buy another car from that dealership? Not on your life. Do you think anyone I've told about the experience will buy a car from that dealership? Probably not. Do you think the owner and sales manager learned anything from the experience? We can only hope.

In the end, what is the value of great customer service before and after the sale?

Priceless, my friend.

Simply priceless.

Now, can somebody please get me some fresh nachos...

Small Business Q&A is written by veteran entrepreneur and syndicated columnist, Tim Knox. Tim's latest books include "Small Business Success Secrets" and "The 30 Day Blueprint For Success!" Related Links: http://www.smallbusinessqa.com http://www.dropshipwholesale.net

limousine chicago service
In The News:

3 Special Benefits Every Customer Wants

Every customer looks for 3 special benefits when they do... Read More

Transforming Disgruntled Customers into Your Biggest Advocates

"I am writing to complain about the widget I bought... Read More

My Child Has Opie Eye!

7:00 a.m., the silence in the house is broken by... Read More

CRM For Beginners ? Customer Relationship Management Basics

In order to maintain a successful business, the business must... Read More

Get Customers to Stop Calling You--12 Easy Ways to Save Money with Online Customer Support

Despite rumors to the contrary, the Web is not dead.... Read More

Dealing with People - Words to Avoid

You probably realise how the wrong tone of voice and... Read More

Customer Service: Stop Sabotaging Your Customer Relationships

If you've called for customer service recently you're familiar with... Read More

4 Easy Steps to Better Online Customer Support

Customer support is very important when you're running a business,... Read More

We Sell For Less and Our Stores Are a Mess!

What kind of image do you present when marketing your... Read More

What Every Manager Should Know About How to Learn from the Complaints of Customers and Employees

Listening to complaints, whether they're reasonable or not, is a... Read More

Leverage Customer Capital First

If you're still dreaming about raising outside capital for your... Read More

Raising The Bar For Online Magazine Subscription Services And Customer Service

After years of flying below the radar in the magazine... Read More

Managing Your Business When One Client Takes Alot of Your Time

How often has your schedule been thrown out of whack... Read More

Customers - Hold Onto the Ones Youve Got

You probably spend a great deal of your time looking... Read More

Cultivating the Trust Factor

In today's highly competitive economy, it is difficult to maintain... Read More

How To Use Your Current Customers

Jay instructed a customer of his to offer a rare... Read More

How Do You Create Customer Loyalty?

Another sad fact of life is that these days, very... Read More

What Every Employee Should Know About How to Win the Loyalty of Customers

Dr. Michael LeBoeuf, in his cassette album entitled, Win... Read More

4 Myths about Customer Value

The purpose of business is to create and retain a... Read More

Making The Most Of Newsletters

Newsletters can be wonderful tools for communicating with your customers... Read More

A New Way To Handle Complaints, Or Is It?

What a lot of money we have been wasting on... Read More

At the Carwash; The Customer really is always Right

You have no doubt heard the saying that the customer... Read More

Customer Service, the Internets Primary Neglected Business Concern

Customer service is everything to a business. Just look at... Read More

Increase in Customer Sales = Increase in Customer Service

One of the most popular questions asked in online business... Read More

Is your Online Business Customer-Friendly?

Customer service is increasingly seen as one of the most... Read More

industrial led induction fixtures garage lighting fixtures Pete's produce ..