Mom and Pop were right

This is a post about retailers.  Perhaps more that in other industries, customer service makes or breaks a retail experience. As the insightful article in The Gourmet Retailer, “Commit to Superior Customer Service” by Rick Miller,  points out: “By and large, the overall quality of customer service is declining, but individuals and companies that deliver exceptional service will stand out and be rewarded at the expense of those that don’t.”

It turns out that Mom-and-Pop stores were doing it right. That is, they were working hard to ensure their customers were satisfied. Why? Because they understood that customer satisfaction could make or break their business. In many retail stores today, clerks are bored and uninterested, and uncaring. There is no personal stake in keeping customers happy, or even in helping people out.

How many times have you walked into a store just to be dismissed by a surly employee? It happened to me just yesterday. I entered a store and said a cheery good morning. The employee was on the phone and grunted at me, yes, he grunted at me. Needless to say, I am not encouraged to ever go back to that store again.

There are solutions to this. First of all,  retailers need to understand the importance of customer service. Second, retailer need to relay this importance to their employees. And third, and perhaps most important, retailers need to provide adequate training to their employees about customer service skills.


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