Thursday, May 28, 2009

Doing What You Say You Will

As our economy deteriorated, I posited that one factor might be poor customer service. Shoppers are likely to spend less money at and might stop patronizing businesses that provide unsatisfactory assistance. (You'd think vendors would ensure that their employees were well-trained, especially in these difficult times when customer rentention is even more essential.)

IMO a related problem that's frustrating and inhibiting consumers is people who don't do what they say they will. I just hired a name brand cleaning service to do a move out clean, and specifically requested that they wipe down the kitchen cabinets. But visible fingerprints remain, plus you can clearly see swoop marks where they stopped wiping 6 inches from the top of the doors. And it's clear they didn't even touch the inside of the freezer. Yuck.

Because I respected their brand, expected them to do what they said and do it right, I didn't stay and hover over them. Now I have to call and complain. They didn't do good work and I have to pay someone else to clean. Not only will I not hire this company again, I won't recommend them.

Another recent example: a salon offered 20% off certain services. But they charged me the full amount. I wasn't as diligent as usual, being in a pleasant fog from a most relaxing facial, and forgot about the discount. Now I have to call them back to get it. Has it become the consumer's job to remind businesses of their pricing? Or do they hope we won't notice mistakes?

It seems that doing a great job the first time around and providing satisfactory follow up have become the exception, not the norm. Maybe sales and service people don't think they're paid enough to care. Maybe some companies are so huge that bottom-of-the-food-chain employees think what they do doesn't matter. Maybe they're demoralized because their managers don't do what they say they will.

Think how good you feel when a transaction goes smoothly and on time. When it exceeds your expectations. Or when someone makes a mistake, but accepts responsibility and goes out of his way to compensate.

Perhaps this is a "pay it forward" issue. If I do what I say I will, then you will, then he will...

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