Some days I just don’t get it. I don’t think I expect bells and whistles when I go to a restaurant but I’m amazed how people behave. I often think, that must be the owner, otherwise they would be fired! Or how come they don’t say hello.
An event occurred yesterday that made me shudder. I downloaded a photo of an ice cream shop that was supposed to be open but wasn’t. In fact, I downloaded the sign that said the times they were going to be open. I looked at the sign, looked at my watch and said, “Where are they?” While I was reading the sign another car stopped and asked if it was my shop. That’s two customers lost. It was so hot and I was so disappointed–as was my companion Vickie.
This last Saturday Vickie and I went back to the ice cream shop. We knew the day was right because there were lots of people at the tables eating ice cream. I went to the window and said, “We missed you Wednesday.” I didn’t think it was a bad question but she said, “I was here.” I was flabergasted and turned to my friend who also had a smirk on her face and asked, “Weren’t we here Wednesday?” Of course she replied, yes we were. No, they weren’t there at the appointed sign.
Of course I asked the woman again about Wednesday and she replied we were here after 3PM. Okay, so I read the sign three times, asked Vickie to read it and checked it with the other woman dying for ice cream. They are only open for two hours on Wednesday, could they have decided not to show up?
Why put a sign out if you’re not planning on being there? Earlier we went to Radio Shack and there was a sign that said, “Family emergency, sorry, left at 4PM. Back tomorrow at 10. Sorry for the inconvenience.” Now that’s a good sign. The only thing missing was his cell phone number.
What to do if you can’t be at your business?
Put a huge sign on your door with an emergency phone number. Why not? Who’s going to call you anyway? If I call you for an ice cream cone give me a coupon and tell me to bring a friend!
Do you realize your customers count on you? I think businesses don’t realize that customers count on them. It’s like having your own special clock! I just love going by your business and know you’re there. I think of you as a friend. I know you have a life but I really don’t care.
Compensate customers for inconvenience. Give them a coupon to use at another time. Tell them you had to close last week so you’re compensating all of your customers. This is something Southwest Air would do and have done. I remember being given a free ticket because of a scheule change. I remember saying, “You don’t have to do that,” and being told, “Yes we do, you’re our customer.”
Post a note on Facebook. Want to know if anyone is paying attention? Post a note and a coupon on line; see how many people respond.
Take your business seriously. Your customers do.
Lisbeth Calandrino helps business build loyal relationships with their customers through sales and customer service training. To have her speak at your next meeting, call 518-495-5380.