As Steven Tyler of Aerosmith once said, “Anything that was worth doing was worth overdoing.” I sure wish this statement were true when it comes to providing amazing customer service at my local retailer. Unfortunately in most cases (where bottom line rules), customer service typically falls far below our basic expectations as a consumer. Let me give you a recent example that illustrates my point…….
I recently visited a local convenience store to buy a bottle of water. I visited this store due to its convenient location and proximity to my gym. Although the store was clean and well-stocked, the customer service I experienced was average at best. The cash register was unmanned, and the only available associate was fixated on their mobile device texting away while I was trying to get their attention to make a purchase. “Hello, can you ring me up???” Yes, I understand it’s only a bottle of water, but come on…..
As frustrating as this is, it’s probably what most of us have come to expect from retailers today. Many have stripped down their operations in the hopes of improving their profitability. As a result, most stores we visit have fewer and fewer associates who are now being asked to manage multiple roles (including stocking, cleaning, cashiering – even supervising the floor!). Customer service typically takes a back seat and we ultimately pay the price. Something has to change.
As consumers, we have the ultimate authority in determining where to spend our hard earned money. If service is poor or the prices for the things we want are too high, we can choose to shop elsewhere. This may be another store in your neighborhood or an online storefront easily accessible with the simple click of a mouse. Unfortunately for many consumers today, the option to shop somewhere else is never made and poor customer service is typically accepted (without question). In order for retailers to change and customer service to improve, consumers must expect more from their retailers of choice.
I don’t think it’s too much to expect a friendly smile and welcome every time I enter a store. I also don’t think it’s too much ask to have an employee stop stocking the shelf and actually help me find what I came in for (vs. pointing me to the general vicinity like they are Mickey Mantle ready to knock one out of the park). For customer service to get better (and stay better), consumers have to take action and flex their “retail muscle”. If you don’t get the service you expect, immediately tell someone at the store (supervisor, manager, etc.). Let them know how you feel and what you expect from your shopping experience. If poor service continues during future visits, make the easy call and take your money elsewhere.
At the end of the day, it’s up to each of us to decide where we shop. As consumers, we must rethink how we spend our money and expect more in terms of the customer service that we receive. Sure changing stores may be inconvenient, but it’s we’ll worth it in the end. There are so many amazing retailers out there that will go the extra mile to serve and satisfy you (Nordstrom, Whole Foods, and Zappos immediately come to mind). Greeting, assisting, and thanking you for shopping at their store should be commonplace. Expect more from the stores you shop and hold them accountable for the customer service they provide. Then maybe we will begin to see the “overdoing” of customer service that is all but absent in most retailers today.