The family has been busy this month setting up our websites, putting the final touches on our products, photographing and uploading, it just doesn’t stop. LOL In the mist of it all, I begin to think what do I want to teach my daughters about this business life? I made Ahle research ecommerce, choose a product, research the product, research the competition and give me a report. After that we agreed upon a small loan and the terms of which she would repay. Her boutique is www.boujeedreamz.com. Not bad for a 15 year-old. Make sure to check it out. That will be for another post but I started to think what do I want her to learn that is not only business related but also real life. This is what I shared with her. But first I have to share this story.
So, here is my story for the day. I walk into Qdoba around 10pm tonight…. Wait, let me back up. I try to place my order online at Qdoba.com for dinner and got the dreaded message, “This site is not taking orders to be filled at the time specified”. Ok, so I’ll have a coworker hold my phone and run over there, no problem. I know they don’t close until midnight. I pull into the parking lot and for a split second I think; maybe I should go to Subway instead. Naw, I really want queso. No one has queso like Qdoba! I reach for the door and read the sign, “we are out of Queso and Impossible”. Really! I should have just turned around but the customer service here is always amazing. I walk in. No hello, welcome to Qdoba, smiles or eye contact. Huh. Oh well, I head to the counter to order my food. I notice there are only three employees; two on the assembly line and one cashier. This is not uncommon for a Saturday evening. Plus, three is better than one and there are not many people in the restaurant. I only wait a few seconds while the lady ahead of me ordered. Then it was my turn. The first employee on the line just stares at me, no words or smile. For a split second, I thought about waiting for a proper greeting. Forget it, I told her what I wanted and she began prepping my burrito. She did not look pleasant, happy or inviting. She actually looked pissed. “How are you doing this evening?” I asked. She gave me the what-did-you-say look. I repeated myself a bit louder. “I can’t talk” she mouthed and turned away. The lady that had ordered before had been watching and we made eye contact. I said, “I hope she isn’t sick and making our food”. As I moved down the line to have my toppings added I thought for sure this lady will be more pleasant. Yea right! The lady before me added corn salsa to her burrito and I asked, “Is that sweet?” The employee shrugged her shoulders “Never tried it” was her response. It was not what she said; it was all in how she said it. By this time I was over Qdoba. I wanted to turn and walk away but I had on hospital scrubs and my name badge. At that point I was a representation of my place of employment, my hospital. I was not Angel Jones, the woman that usually demands customer service and have been known to give small pep talks to grouchy employees. Reminding them there are ten people at any given second that would love to have the job you have been blessed with. I always end my pep talk with “by the way, I am so happy you work here because I really needed what I was purchasing.”
All hope is not lost. The third, employee was a young man. He had the look of please-forgive-my-fellow-coworkers. I could feel his pain. He had the look that said, you get to leave but I have to stay here with these unpleasant crazy ladies! He thanked me and I told him to have a great night.
So, what is the point of this post? There are three points I want to share.
#1. Great customer service should be expected from every single place you spend your money. People don’t care what you are going through in your personal life. When they are in your presence, spending their money, they want to be treated as number one. Remember, there are hundreds of other places they could have gone.
#2. Humans live off of memories. We are more likely to revisit a place where we had an amazing experience than to visit a new place. Make your customers visit memorable, exciting and worth telling others about. This also applies if you sell strictly online. Respond to your customers in a timely manner, keep your word on delivery dates, and send personalized thank you notes. These things may seem small but they do give lovely, lasting impressions.
#3. Don’t let the barrel be spoiled by a few bad apples. I know this is not how the saying goes but this is how I want my daughters to live. There are going to be people that are negative, always complaining or just are downright nasty. You have a choice on how you respond to these people. You can ignore them or join them. I can assure you, if you join them your business will not survive. If you will encounter unpleasant customers this is unavoidable. It is how you deal with them is what makes the difference. I do not believe in the “kill them with kindness”. I do believe in sticking to my morals, the values of my company and not all money is for me.
In conclusion, I want my girls to know exceptional customer service is a must. Treat them like you want to be treated. Give your customers a memorable experience and they will return. And don’t ever feed into the negativity. I have always taught you better than that!