Customer Disservice – How About a Hello and a Smile

I am constantly amazed at how businesses invest so much time, money, and effort getting customers to literally walk in the door of their business, and when the customer gets there the greeting is less than enthusiastic or non-existent. Today was a perfect example of customer disservice.

Note: Merriam-Webster defines disservice as “something that harms or damages someone or something”.

I arrived at a restaurant that has more and more competition. In the past six months, seven new restaurants have opened their doors within the same shopping center. The new restaurants are shiny, new and welcoming, from the exterior appearance to how they greet customers.

Counter Culture

Today this well-established business with torn vinyl booth seats and décor that reminds me of the 1980’s didn’t greet me at the door. They didn’t greet me at the counter. They didn’t smile. They didn’t say “hey good to see you again.” Instead, I walked up to the counter unacknowledged by anyone. I stood for a moment and when no one asked how they could help, I ordered a fountain drink. “$1.94” is all that was said to me. Still no smile, or “great to see you” was heard. In fact, the staff walked away from the counter before I did.

Now if there was more than one customer in the place, I would perhaps have understood a bit more. Yet after a half hour sitting in the restaurant, a total of three people have been in and out. I still have not seen a smile nor a thank you for coming in or by.

The lack of customer appreciation and service tells me that with the competition in the neighborhood it won’t be long before this business will have to change or close its doors. They are not alone. Too many businesses take for granted the customers they have while they go all out to get a new customer.

ROI on Customer Service: A Lifetime Investment

So before you kill your business with customer disservice, be sure your team is not just serving the customer, but valuing the customer. Businesses have to realize that the value of a customer is not in a single purchase no matter how large (or small). The value of a customer is in the loyalty, the longevity, and the lifetime relationship developed with the customer. Today I may only purchase a $1.94 beverage, but I may be testing this business to see if they are suitable for catering my next live event that will require $1,940 in food and beverages.

A smile and a “good to see you, thanks for coming in” costs you very little time, effort and money, but can be invaluable to showing each and every customer that comes in the door that they matter. If you don’t make the time and effort to show how much you value your customers, then don’t expect them to continue to value your business.

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