I live my days looking out for quality service – within businesses, shopping malls, schools, churches, market places, you name it. I just can’t help it. I could actually be one of the world’s richest persons if all of the mental notes I’ve taken to this end led to the delivery of some ‘mystery shopper’ consultancy service for all the owners of the business places and/or organizations whom I’ve come in contact with!
To me, it remains gravely perplexing how businesses do not see the fundamental connect between their bottom line improvement and the quality of service they provide to customers; that there is a direct correlation between the experience a customer has whilst within a business and the sustainability of that business; that the entire customer experience has to be thought through as an end-to-end process and one exhilarating experience for the customer; that it is this degree of thoughtfulness of the business in delivering a worthwhile experience that largely motivates a customer to make a repeat patronage!
My staff almost screeched the car to a halt, I had forgotten to ask him to stop by the pharmacy just along the road. Once we were at a safe spot, I quickly alighted and made for the store entrance. But I saw no one in sight, so I made some noise with the gate expecting someone to come attend to me.
I saw no one, instead from somewhere within the store, I heard [perhaps] the harshest voice I ever heard in a ‘seller-buyer’ scenario; “What do you want?!”
My first thought was to lash out at the invisible insolent speaker; “I’m not a thief, I’m someone who intends to purchase a product from your store! I’m a c-u-s-t-o-m-e-r!” Truly I have never been more pissed!
A recent trip to one of the stores in my area gave me an understanding of how store owners perceive persons who patronize their outlets. By observing the way the store staff/attendants behave, I could tell what manner of orientation they have regarding people who walk through the store’s door every single day.
They appear to have ample training in ‘Customer Surveillance’ [as opposed to ‘Customer Service’] and have mastered the act of ‘shadowing’ every customer as they shop and move around from aisle to aisle.
It is unbelievable that business owners would fail to go to the ‘ends of the earth’ to ensure that a potential business opportunity reaches them without any hurdle whatsoever. This realization was quite overwhelming a discovery for me to make; and I didn’t have to go on a research endeavor to come to that conclusion, I simply had the need to make some crucial enquiry myself to discover this.
It is not only small businesses that have service delivery challenges; today even corporate entities are goofing.
Have you observed the queues in the banking halls lately? Yes, the queues are back in the ‘new generation’ banks!
And no one seems to care or even take notice. These days, it is common place to find an aggrieved customer yell out in frustration right in the middle of the banking hall – with the bank tellers and officials keeping a straight face as though that is the acceptable and typical response for situations as these.
Barely had I stepped into the store than the lady across the side counter sprung to her feet, beaming with smiles, she walked toward me seeking to assist with my choice of cake. I had gotten used to receiving this warm gesture at this confectionary outlet, its not the kind of reception you would ordinarily see or receive in a typical business premise.
As I scanned through the selection of cakes in the show cases, it became clear that there was none that appealed to me. I would normally walk in and pick a cake as opposed to ordering one.
More and more businesses are being transacted on the virtual space. Still, there remain businesses which you cannot [and may never be able to] transact over the internet say, fixing your hair. It is most unlikely that you’ll ever be able to fix your hair remotely.
You will [most likely] have to seek out the services of a hair stylist for this purpose. As a business owner say, of a hair salon, think about how many times women make their hair within the space of a month and then consider the amount of injustice you do to your business if say, you cannot retain the customers [or prospects] who need your services.