Customer Service Beats My Extra Mileage!

Customer Service Promotes the Business Relationship - By John Hendrie

Customer Service. You would think that the concept is very easy. We all seek some care, respect and courtesy. A smile and welcome usually begin the engagement. In a homogenized, multi-branded world, that Customer Service outreach is the difference. Why then do we all continue to feel the absence? Case in point – two local hardware stores.

LRA Worldwide Customer Service.  You would think that the concept is very easy.  We all seek some care, respect and courtesy.  A smile and welcome usually begin the engagement.  In a homogenized, multi-branded world, that Customer Service outreach is the difference.  Why then do we all continue to feel the absence?  Case in point – two local hardware stores.

So many of our towns have boarded up businesses, beset by the economy or their competition.  Plus, those nefarious “big box” stores are on the outskirts, just lurking for the business.  The local hardware store probably has the toughest challenge.  So, you would think that a huge effort would be expended, particularly to retain the old customers.  Those of a certain age probably remember going to the hardware store with their Father, inhaling the smells of construction and refurbishment, handling that bin of three penny nails, sifting through those many home and lawn gadgets.  And, those knowledgeable employees, able to answer all your electrical, plumbing, lumber, caulking and painting concerns.  They made you feel welcome and not too foolish with your questions. 

For years I have frequented a hardware store about five miles away.  I was never thrilled with their customer service, but the store always had a good selection of items to meet my needs.  That was my focus – in and out with a specific list at hand.  About three years ago the local company was sold, and during the transition  I took my business to another store about twenty five miles away.  Ever loyal, I returned to my local enterprise when the new business was up and running.  What a mistake.  Their customer service was even more dreadful than with the prior ownership.  As you walked into the store, the dour sales atmosphere was almost palpable – employees sulking about, body language negative, as if I were an obligation to ruin their day.  I visited twice more to ensure my opinion was valid.  This local store no longer merited my business.

My new hardware store, even though quite a haul away, is the epitome of   Customer Service.  Often, the owner greets the customers.  His employees, who smile, are right at hand to serve your needs, even escorting you to the proper aisle.  If they do not have an item, they refer you.  Check-out is efficient with always a thank you for the business.  In this case Customer Service beats my extra mileage!  There is hope.

 

LRA LogoJohn Hendrie is the author of the LRA blog, focusing on anything and everything about customer experience. LRA Worldwide is the leading global provider of Customer Experience Measurement services for multinational companies with complex customer interactions. For over 30 years, LRA’s innovative brand standards audits, quality assurance inspections, mystery shopping programs, research, and consulting services have helped ensure our clients deliver consistent, memorable, and differentiated experiences to their customers. Many of the world's preeminent global hospitality brands, as well as companies in the gaming, dining, healthcare, sports and entertainment, real estate, retail and travel industries choose LRA to help them measure and improve the customer experience.  For more information, visit www.LRAWorldwide.com.



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