Happy New Year to all of my blog reading friends…..I hope the festive season was enjoyable and that Santa treated you all well.
It’s been three weeks since I blogged – I dared to take some time off! – and thought I’d kick off my 2013 blogs by asking you what impression you believe your business leaves on your customers?
Those of you who know me or have read my blogs before will know that I’m rather keen when it comes to customer service and all things connected. I like to think that my clients leave with a good impression of Data Bubble, either happy that their business list contains good data quality, or that they have received direct marketing advice they can rely upon. After all, if they don’t leave with a good impression, how can I ever hope they will buy mailing lists from me again?
Over the festive season, I’ve taken advantage of several shops’ January sales. I have to say, the impressions I left shops with differed greatly from store to store and whilst there are some I wouldn’t hesitate to re-visit, there are many that I won’t go near again and you’d be surprised if I told you the names of some of those stores!
One well known high street department store, for example, had a perfume counter with four staff attending. I was alone in that area, so was surprised that when I passed the product to the girl at the till there was no eye contact, no smile, no “how can I help you”. Instead, she took the goods from me, turned to one of her colleagues and began to have a conversation as she bagged my goods. My husband Steve walked away in disgust!
When making one purchase, free gifts were advertised, only after the deal was done and payment had been made, I found out that I hadn’t met the terms applicable so was not entitled to the freebies. Now that left a bitter taste I can tell you and a complaint ensued which did eventually result in some freebies. Imagine for instance if I offered free email lists, only to turn round after the client had paid to say sorry but actually your mailing list doesn’t qualify…..social media is a powerful tool, beware!!
Now on the flip side, I entered a pound shop for some wrapping paper – the lady at the till could not have been more attentive with her smile, happy greeting, chit chat and grateful goodbye.
Another place – a bistro – had seating outside, which is something that as a dog owner I have to look out for if I want a coffee or something to eat. That bistro not only had outside shelter, overhead heating and a dog water bowl, but they had also placed blankets on the back of every seat, so customers could use them to stay warm. A wonderful yet simple touch that really created a welcoming atmosphere (they had lovely mince pies too!!)
Given the state of the economy, how can any business big or small, upper market or budget, hope to stay afloat if they’re not taking care of the basics? Plus, for some of the larger stores, how much money spent on direct advertising or otherwise is wasted through getting customers into the store, only to let them down at the point of sale?
Now, we’re not all customer facing as high street shops are, so the number of senses we can take advantage of to give a positive impression of our business to our clients may be limited. Shops can engage the eyes, the ears, the nose…… Those of us like me who do most of their business on the telephone or by email don’t have that luxury. For this reason, it’s so important to ensure that the way you engage with your clients is exactly that – engaging – such that they leave with the best possible impression.
So for my first blog of 2013, I urge you to think, as I am now doing, how you are engaging with your clients. Are you creating the best possible impression such that they will buy from you and return? Is your customer service second to none? What more could you do to enhance their experience? If you’re unsure or feel you may fall a little short, put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask yourself “would I be happy with that?” Most importantly still, take action – don’t rest on your laurels. Only too often customer service is all that sets you aside from your competition!
As always, I welcome your comments, tips and suggestions……
May I wish you all a very happy and prosperous 2013.