Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Do Employers Teach Today's Employees How To Serve Customers?
Sometimes I wonder if today's employers bother to train their employees to serve customers? I had the opportunity to spend 20 years working for Neiman Marcus during years when the customer was always right, the customer was always most important, and customer satisfaction and customer service were the hallmarks of the company. Employees were empowered to satisfy the customers. It was a marvelous experience and one that in truth spoiled me for dealing with other retailers and businesses. Today I went to a major office supply store. A young woman checked me out but gave me no greeting, no smile, and no thank you. Instead I greeted her, thanked her for handing me my purchases and told her to have a nice day. Then I walked next door to one of the supermarkets, filled up my cart, and headed to the checkout line. Again, I received no greeting, no smile, and no thank you. Once more I was the one who greeted her, thanked her for putting the bagged groceries in the cart, and told her to have a nice day. I will think twice about going back to either of those stores. In today's economy businesses are not in a position to turn away customers, and more than fifteen million people are out of work so every employee is replaceable. Wouldn't you think that common sense would suggest that customers need to be given a reason to return to a place of business? I have many choices for office supplies, groceries, pharmacies, etc. I want to shop where I feel my business is appreciated and where common courtesy is the coin of the realm. I would not blog about today's experience if it had just happened for the first time, but it has happened a number of times in both of these establishments. Like most customers I did not complain to management or to the checkers, but I made that silent decision to shop elsewhere (which is what 80% of customers do when they are unhappy with the service they receive or their shopping experience). For those of us who have online shops and stores, our potential and/or actual customers cannot see our smiles or hear our voices. It behooves us to do everything we can to enhance their transactions from making our websites truly user-friendly,selling quality products, packaging them nicely, shipping them promptly, having a clear return/exchange policy, and always remembering to follow up and thank the customers for shopping with us. They have literally thousands of other choices today via the Internet so we should be most appreciative that they opted to shop with us. and the employees who are fortunate enough to have jobs should be willing to work at keeping the customers returning or I feel certain some of the 15,000,000+ unemployed would be thrilled to replace them.