09 June 2008

Respect your customers

Treating your customers with respect is a theme that is repeated throughout this book and for very good reason. If you don’t treat your customers with the respect that they deserve they will go elsewhere. From a business owners point of view this can be financially devastating. It is important for staff members to realise the importance of respecting your customers and the ramifications if they don’t (ie they may lose their jobs because the business goes belly up).

I often see businesses that has been fitted out for hundreds of thousands of dollars, situated in prime locations, well stocked and well priced – everything is in their favour when it comes to succeeding, except there is a sales attendant behind the counter who has a bad attitude, preferring to virtually ignore the customers and when they do serve them, they are rude and disrespectful.

This one bad sales attendant can cost a business a fortune in lost sales, both on the spot and with future sales. The entire fit out, prime location and subsequent big rents are a complete waste of time and money if the person on the cash register has little or no respect for their customers.

Bad experiences create far more word of mouth advertising than good experience. It’s unfortunate but a fact of life. As customers we have a very advanced and active underground propaganda network that identifies and singles out businesses that are notorious for providing bad service with a bad attitude.

As a business owner or manager, it is in your benefit to sit your staff down and explain to them the long term affects of poor customer service. They need to be made very aware that their actions can impact on a lot of other people, namely the other staff that can be affected by the business not performing financially, and resulting in lost jobs.

From my own experience when you do sit people down and explain the ramifications of their actions they are often horrified, not realising the impact that they were having. Perhaps they were having a bad day, possibly problems at home, or a myriad of other possibilities. By showing them the long term importance of treating customers with respect most staff members will react positively and a change in attitude will hopefully follow.

Any member of a team with a bad attitude towards customers, who cannot be reasoned with, should have a short and very limited life in any organisation that wants to grow and be profitable.

Remember that every time a customer walks through the door, the first word that should come into everyone’s mind is “respect”.

2 thoughts on “Respect your customers”

  1. Jean Burman says:

    Hi AG… your timing on this one is impeccable! We arrived for a late breakfast yesterday at a popular restaurant out at the beaches. The waitress greeted us with menus and the unsmiling announcement “you must be the last customers for breakfast this morning… there’s only 10 minutes to go”. (Well gosh… I’m glad we made it! grin) My first impulse was to walk out and up the road for lunch… but instead we courtesously accepted the menus and sat down… knowing full well that the greeting at the next place would in all likelihood be on par. When did friendly professional service suddenly become too familiar too casual and so chock full of contempt for the customer? We did our best to nod and smile. And I’m glad we did… breakfast was delicious! 🙂

  2. Happy Childhood Hero Day Andrew. Thanks for all that you have done to raise the profile of child safety and child abuse issues. Our kids are our future customers so it pays to respect them at every level.

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