Having come from a decade of jobs focused on customer service, let me tell you right here, RIGHT NOW — EVERY CUSTOMER IS IMPORTANT.
Now, before we begin, here are some other things I should let you know:
1 — The customer is NOT always right. But when they’re not (and these moment are RARE), it’s up to you to steer them in the right direction.
2 — Giving good customer service is NOT EASY. Competing with similar businesses aside, if you want loyal customers who will come back for more of what you’re providing, you have to go above and beyond expectations. You are in charge of manufacturing a memory that the customer will associate with you and share with their friends. Do you REALLY want this to be a negative one?
3 — Treat the customer as YOU would want to be treated! Or even BETTER than you’d want to be treated! If someone has come across you for the first time, you don’t want them leaving having just had a ‘good customer interaction’ — you want a ‘great customer EXPERIENCE‘!!!
It’s not something that can be mastered overnight, but these rules are some of the FUNDAMENTAL drivers behind keeping happy customers. If you run a business, or even if you’re just trying to promote yourself, these are some of the things you should DEFINITELY keep in mind to ensure that you’re a success.
With that said, on my recent hunt for new glasses, when Hakim Optical appeared NOT to want my business as a potential client, I very quickly took my business ELSEWHERE.
Let me share the story with you.
Last Thursday, Sarah and I were on the hunt for new glasses. The last time I’d bought glasses or went to the optometrist was in 2006, and I’d spent a few years without benefits at work, so now that everything had lined up, it seemed like the best time to change my look (just in time for the wedding!)
So we started with a shop that Sarah had heard lots about. When we got there, it was nice and the girl working there was friendly enough, but the frames just didn’t have any “oomph” to them. We looked through drawer after drawer, but eventually had to give it a rest and move on.
We’d only walked down the street for a minute before my penchant for fashion kicked in and some dress shirts in a storefront display caught my eye, beckoning me inside. Upon entering the store, the store’s owner Marco greeted us and offered help if we needed it. EVEN AFTER telling him that we were just looking, he STILL struck up conversation to be friendly, finding out that we were in the area shopping for glasses. Turns out that he has a friend that runs a shop in the Yonge-Eglinton Centre! Since we only had just over and hour to get there and we were due to hit a dinner party after our shopping, I got Marco’s card, promising that I’d go back to check out his wares, since it was such a pleasant experience.
And then it happened.
We stopped in at a Hakim. It was deserted and the only rep there was a mousy-looking woman at the back counter. She quickly directed us that the men’s glasses were on one side of the store and the women’s on the other. And I think that’s the last time she ever spoke to us! She busied herself with calling someone about an invitation to a party or wedding or something, and paid us no mind. We spent 10 minutes looking at glasses there, and yes, we had questions, but she wouldn’t give us the time of day! It was VERY FRUSTRATING. So we left, myself vowing never to shop at Hakim again. Thanks, guys.
After this we made our way down to Optika — the store owned by Peter, Marco’s friend. This is what he did that differed from the other stores:
- Helped us understand what frames best suited our faces and complexions
- Discussed the trends in fashion and what we might want to be looking at to be ahead of the curve
- Gave us as much attention as possible, despite the fact that he was the only one tending the store and that there were other customers around
- KEPT THE STORE OPEN LATE to make sure that our transaction was finished accurately
- Got the glasses ready for us in two business days
Overall, we were really happy to have found this guy by random chance. I can assure you that he’ll be getting my future business!
So the moral is, don’t be a Hakim. Don’t be that person who’s too “important” (read: pretentious) to give people the time of day. Everyone is worth it. EVERYONE.
–Casey E. Palmer