Eyes Wide ShutMaybe I expect too much.  I like it when I am made to feel special when I enter your store.  Yeah, yeah – touchy feely kinda stuff.  But don’t you deserve to be treated like more than just a number?  Especially in today’s marketplace.

Today, I took a 1/2 hour to get a few errands done around town.  My first stop was to a retail store* where I had a box of blinds to pick up that were ordered online.  I stopped in and said, “Hi, my name is Steve Gasser.  I have a box of blinds to pick up.”  Her comment, “Excuse me sir, I only know you by your phone number.”  In shock, I gave her my phone number and she proceeded to disappear to the back room.  When she returned, I was handed my blinds with a receipt and told, “Thank you.”  Nothing else.  I was just a number.

Why do I shop online?  I ‘feel’ like I am more than just a number.  I am greeted by my name when I browse through the online store.  My preferences are remembered.  I even see recommendations from other people like me.  This really helps when I don’t quite know what I am looking for….

After picking up up the blinds, I drove through a fast food joint to get something quick to eat.  At the drive through, I was greeted with a friendly, “It’s a GREAT day at xxxxxx*!”  Wow, nice to hear.  I responded, “It is a great day isn’t it.”  Silence – for a full 30 seconds.  “Sir, may I take your order.”  Yes, even personal greeting are an auto-response.  When did we forget how to be social and care about other people.  Is it easier to do that online?

So whose fault is this?  The employee, the business owner, the last customer that just ruined the sales person day?  You can blame a lot of factors – but in the end there are excuses or their are results.  Blaming others just makes you a victim – take ownership of the situation and change it!  If you are a customer, demand to be treated as a person.  If you are a business owner, train your employees to care.

A friend of mine ordered a CD online.  This is the auto response he received:

Tom –

Thanks for your order with CD Baby!  Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.  A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to make sure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.  Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterward and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Thursday, April 15th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.  Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year”. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music

There is a tremendous opportunity for you TODAY!

Offer a new level of service to your clients.  I have always believed that we need to give the client a choice on how they want to work with you.  Some like to come into your store, or talk with you on the phone.  Others are looking for ways to work with you online – and even offer your advice on how to improve your level of service.  Give you customers a choice on how to work with you. It is too easy to forget that good old fashioned service is still expected.

What is your customer service story – good or bad – please share!

* I left the business names out of this article because the names do not mater.  We can all relate to the stories.  Pointing fingers was not the point of this article.

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