As owners and entrepreneurs we understand the amount of work it takes to get a business off the ground and running successfully. We also know that without great customer service your clients won’t be back to do business with you again. When I talk with entrepreneurs they get it, they understand the importance, but the real question is, does your staff? Could they be turning away your clients before you know about them? This is where monitoring your staff and having trusted staff go along way into making sure you have a successful business. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Five years ago my wife and I were on vacation in the Caribbean, we had a wonderful time and went to an upscale restaurant well known in the area with a beautiful setting. Earlier this year we were back in the same location for our wedding anniversary, with no plans for dinner we decided to go back to the restaurant we had enjoyed so much on an earlier trip. Now the island we are visiting is based upon tourism, that is their major industry and with a bad economy over the last few years they have been hit hard and you can see it in the businesses that were closing down. With businesses closing down, we were there over a slow period of the year you would think that any business would be happy to have clients visiting their establishment. So we decided to visit this restaurant without a reservation. Although we weren’t dressed up in suits we did have collared shirts and shorts which is the attire in most establishments in the Caribbean. Upon entering the restaurant which only had six people in it and an empty parking lot we felt we would be welcomed to dinner. When we asked if we could sit outside we were told that they had brought in the tables and chairs due to the rain that day. I would have believed the hostess except for the fact that we had spent the day on the beach right beside their restaurant and it had been a perfect day without a cloud in the sky. When we said okay we will sit inside by a window we were told we had to sit at the bar and wait for a manager to see if they could find room. With a restaurant that could easily fit over 200 people and only six people in the restaurant this seemed like another line to get us out of there. So they won, at that point I had enough and my wife and I walked out and ate across the street. What they don’t realize is that we passed by that restaurant all night as it was by our hotel and the parking lot remained empty the whole night. We also met many people during our time there and they all have heard the story and some of them had even experienced the same greeting from the hostess. Why advertise if that is the type of greeting people will get at the door? You may as well shut it down now. Lying to your customers is a sure fire way to go out of business. Remember every negative comment costs you 100 customers. That is the average amount of people that will be touched by that one person.
Remember first impressions count and the people in your front line you need to trust they are helping your business not hurting it.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant. He helps companies improve their customer service and client base. For more information visit his website at www.outridge.ca