Shop Local Talk – Customer Service Part 1
Recently I ran an article requesting feedback on local customer service in my town of Ashland, Oregon. Here is one submission I received back which I think you might find interesting.
Should employees receive pay raises based on how many customer they know?
I spent many years in the hospitality industry in a southern state. THE SWEETEST SOUND TO ANY PERSON’S EARS IS BEING RECOGNIZED BY THEIR NAME. IT MAKES THEM FEEL VALUED AND WORTHY. At a private club in which I worked, the rule that was emphasized and enforced was that when a member appeared, that member should be addressed by his/her name THREE TIMES while they were there on that particular visit.
What’s your number one Pet Peeve with local customer service?
Employees or part-time employees of local stores are too busy with their personal agendas, (I-Phones, primping, looking important, acting like they are busy, etc.) When a customer enters their place of business, that customer should be greeted immediately!!!!! “Hello! How are you today? Nice to see you again! So glad you are here today. Are you looking for anything special? Can we help you with finding something? Let me point out something really fascinating that we just received this week here in our store!
OR….. “Are you visiting our store from another town/city/state/country…..or do you live here in Ashland? Oh…..what an unusual/beautiful/unique (item of clothing, jewelry, etc., you have!…..” Or…..”You look familiar……you’ve been here before, haven’t you?”)
Nope…..don’t get any of that here in Ashland!!!! At the best it is usually an off-hand comment (when they get off their cell phones) of “Let me know if I can help you with anything.”…..and then ignoring you.
As an addendum, however, let me add: IF I, AS THE CUSTOMER, ENGAGE AN EMPLOYEE WITH QUESTIONS OR IN JUST A GENERAL CONVERSATION, THEY ARE GENERALLY ACCEPTIVE, AND HELPFUL. BUT WHY IS IT UP TO THE CUSTOMER……INSTEAD OF THE EMPLOYEE TO MAKE THE CUSTOMER FEEL WELCOME????
If you owned ‘THAT STORE” what rules would you implement to insure that you received more local customers?
I’d run this ad in all the local papers during the winter months: “HEY ASHLAND RESIDENTS! WE LOVE YOU! YOU ARE OUR BREAD-AND-BUTTER FOR TWELVE MONTHS OF THE YEAR. WE LOVE THE TOURISTS, BUT WE LOVE YOU THE MOST! COME INTO OUR STORE/RESTAURANT ANYTIME OF THE YEAR…… SHOW US PROOF THAT YOU LIVE HERE, AND ARE PAYING OUR EXHORBITANT TAXES, UTILITY BILLS, ETC., ETC., AND YOU CAN GET 10% OFF ANYTHING, YEAR ROUND.”
Who’s doing it right…..and why?
Almost no one in town. I’ve lived here for 20 years, and it took over 10 years for the drive-in bank teller, the grocery produce manager, etc., etc., to personally acknowledge me as a regular customer. Clerks and employees at local stores are either too temporary, or just too focused, selfish and involved in their own lives to care about customer relations in this town. Their attitude projects this: “Hey….you customer! You are so lucky to be here in our store AND in Ashland itself…… and we don’t care whether you buy anything or not. We are just here to take your money and send you on your way, and we hope you thoroughly appreciate the fact that you have had the privilege of being in our fabulous town. Now….just get the hell out of here after we have ascertained that you can pay for what you bought with your credit/debit card…..or that your cash isn’t counterfeit.”