This is a guest post by author Tara Taylor Quinn
I am a professional woman. I was president of an international million dollar non-profit organization. I am a wife. A mother. A homemaker. I am a USA Today Bestselling author of 54 books. I am a customer.
In my busy, sometimes chaotic life, I need to be able to be a return customer. I need to know where I can go to get what I need and be able to rely on the fact that I will get the service, the product, and the help that I’m seeking with the least amount of hassle. And I’m constantly amazed, most particularly with today’s struggling economy, how many businesses fail to provide the service that would earn my repeat business.
The first problem I see, over and over, is a continual and growing epidemic of short sightedness. More and more businesses seem to be making decisions based on in-the-moment thinking, or what I call “small picture” thinking. Repeat customer business stems from big picture thinking.
What I see over and over is that when a business’s bottom line is hurting, it charges the customer more. On the surface, this makes logical sense. If an item costs more to acquire, the price of the item goes up. But in big picture thinking this practice doesn’t make sense at all. How can a business be delivering good customer service when it expects the customer to carry the brunt of a downed economy or a poor business decision?
What I know, from the consumer’s point of view, is that the more you charge, the more customers you lose.
I’m not purporting that businesses give things away, or that they become charitable organizations. Rather, I’m suggesting that businesses make less money in the moment to make a substantial amount more in the big picture.
In the past two years we’ve seen prices escalate alarmingly. The cost to produce or purchase products has risen. Shipping costs more. And in many cases businesses pass those added costs onto the consumer. And many consumers quit buying.
If, instead, businesses kept prices as low as they possibly could, anyone who can afford to buy from them now will. But more importantly, those customers will be back. Again and again and again. People remember those who are kind to their wallet. And they also remember those who are kind to them. If a business takes a bit of a hit in the hard time to be fair to me, I’m going to frequent that business for the rest of my days. And I’m going to tell everyone I know to frequent it, too. It’s a small picture sacrifice for a big picture gain. And, in the end, a win for the business. But a win for the customer as well.
The second problem is the salesperson who can sell anything – and does. If I am lied to, if someone misrepresents a product to me, if I’m sold an inferior product, or if I’m pressured into buying something I’m not sure about purchasing, I will remember that. And I will never go back there. More, I will tell everyone I know not to trust the establishment.
We need honesty back in our business world. Real honesty. If a business doesn’t have what I need, and the representative tells me that, rather than trying to sell me something he does have that I don’t really need, I’m going to remember him. If he goes one step further and tries to help me find what I need elsewhere, I’m going to want to come back to do business with him. For one reason: I trust him. I can guarantee that even if I don’t buy from you right now, if I can trust you, I will be back.
The third problem I see is a growing sense of apathy. I don’t know if the work ethic has changed, if energy has changed, or if it’s just society and our “it’s all about me” thinking, but more often than not, in business situations these days, I see and hear more “No, I can’t,” than “I’ll do everything I can.” Businesses seem more concerned with their internal legalities and policies and protecting themselves than they are with protecting their customers. Rather than coming from a position of how best to serve the customer, policies seem to be driven from a “What’s in it for me?” or a “How do I protect myself?” mentality.
So often these days, as a customer, I am made to feel as though I’m asking for a favor when I solicit help, rather than feeling like I’m an honored guest. When I’m spending my money, most particularly if I have several choices about where to spend it, I want to feel as though I’m an honored guest.
Money is a precious commodity. People are even more precious. Take care of your people and you will have the money you need.
About the Author
This post was written as part of The Chapman Files International Blog Tour. There’s an item from our new book, The First Wife, hidden on the tour with us. Guess the item to enter the drawing to win it! Today’s clue: I have one that’s fifty years old. Send all guesses to [email protected] Print and E-books of all of The Chapman File Stories are available for pre-order at http://amzn.to/bmJzp4. Next tour stop: Friday September 10, 2010. http://community.indigo.ca//find/community-posts/1.html. For weekly blog tour dates, visit www.tarataylorquinn.com