When “Good” Business = Bad Customer Service

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While out and about lately, I’ve noticed a few things which strike me as decisions made from a “business” standpoint with little regard for the customers.

It’s true, we need to pay attention to the numbers, we need to watch the bottom line, we need to care about how we “look” to others, but most of all, we need keep our customers happy and make it easy for them to do business with us.

A few things which stand out. . .

  • While at Olive Garden Italian Restaurant with my sister, they gave us 3 breadsticks.  They also gave the couple next to us 3 breadsticks.  It appeared to be a first date and neither would take the last breadstick, although both kept looking at the basket.  Someone somewhere made the decision to give us 3 breadsticks…it can make things awkward when on a date or a business dinner.  If the decision was based on cost, give 2 and offer us more if we eat in order to avoid awkward moments among diners.
  • Same evening, my sister and I ran into the mall and Lane Bryant (a clothing store for larger women).  The store is specifically for larger women and yet the mannequins were all a tiny size.  So tiny in fact that the clothes had to be pinned at the back so they would fit the mannequin.  There’s no way the clothing fit the mannequin the way it would the customer.  You’re a store for larger women — the mannequins need to reflect your customer base not some perception of what a woman “should” look like.
  • I spent almost $700 on a product.  The order form indicated that I’d be able to choose my shipping (since I was heading out on vacation, this was important to me) after entering my payment info.  Info entered, form processed, no shipping option.  I contacted customer support — they took 48 hours to respond (to voicemail and email) and couldn’t help me as product had been shipped.  It will arrive via UPS while I’m away (thankfully we have a housesitter).  If the customer can’t choose shipping options, don’t let them think they can — take the time to have someone doublecheck the shopping cart for all product setups.
  • Same product purchase as above.  The receipt never came.  I contacted customer support again and they “tried” to resend.  I asked that it be faxed as resend never came through.  It’s been 8 days and I’m still waiting.  Another email sent. . .I expect to hear back in 2-3 days.  Ensure your customer service staff is doing their job well and in a timely manner.
  • Arrived at great condo in Vermont.  They have one of those “all about us and the area” binders waiting on the coffee table.  My husband wanted to go to breakfast — I checked the binder, found a place with fabulous reviews, we went.  They closed over a year ago and the building’s been up for sale.  There was also an amazing full-page ad for a Mexican Restaurant and I was in the mood for some — it closed over a year ago.  If you’re going to give your customers “helpful” info, keep it updated.

The point?

Remember that business success is often made, or lost, with the details and how those details are affecting your customers.  Do you know your customers and are you managing the details?