Today’s article is from guest author Margaret McCaffrey
A friend of mine recently changed jobs. When I rang to congratulate her on her new position I wondered if I’d swapped planets.
The receptionist at her new job couldn’t have been nicer, indicating in a pleasant tone that they were pleased with their new appointee and that my call was welcome. “Can I check the spelling of your name?” she asked. “Things are looking up,” I thought.
In my friend’s old job there was a labyrinth of departments and hierarchies that I had to wade through in order to make contact. When they finally did track her down, I usually had to settle for leaving her a message on voicemail.
What a difference the first point of call makes.
I realize that management experts make a business of reminding companies of this fact, but I sometimes wonder if the managing director just rang their own office – from an outside line – or visited their shop in search of their own product, they could save themselves a lot in consultancy fees, and improve sales at the same time.
Whether it is service at the make-up counter of a department store, a call to your stockbroker, or an inquiry about train scheduling, it is all the same thing – the first impression creates a lasting impact. People care about how they are treated. Good service – along with fine product – turns an enquirer into a buyer; a browser into a customer.
Customers may not always be right, but my guess is that success in the marketplace goes to the company that makes them think they are – or at least makes them feel good about being wrong.
And besides, if all other forms of persuasion fail, just remember that you never know when the customer on the other end of the phone or on the other side of the counter is going to be your boss.
About the Author:
Margaret McCaffrey is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia and a keen observer of human interaction and communication. She is currently researching and writing a book on the relationship between the children of World War II veterans and their fathers, and the impact war has on families.