Sometimes my mind is awash with ideas and creativity and then at other times it seems that all services are suspended. The latter was frustratingly the case this week as I racked my brain to come up with a topic sufficiently worthy for Thought-Provoking Thursday.
I scoured the internet, sought inspiration from work colleagues, flicked through some newspapers as I stood in line at Tesco but alas, my stupor of thought continued. I wasn't worried, I had a feeling that it would come to me in a blinding flash of inspiration when I least expected it and lo and behold, last night, it did.
Having forgotten to buy some milk in Tesco I nipped down to the shop on the corner of my street It is the handiest of locales and has saved me on many an occasion when lacking a vital ingredient for some cakey creation. Damu and his wife ran the shop for years until it changed hands quite recently.
I grabbed some milk and a few other bits and pieces, headed over to the counter and waited for the shop keeper to end his phone conversation and to turn his attentions to me. Without a nod, a brief "hello" or any other exchange of pleasantries he began to scan the items, all the while cradling the phone between head and shoulder. I attempted to distract him: I cleared my throat, I shuffled my feet, I tapped my money loudly on the counter and tried to look him straight in the eye. The conversation continued (loudly) and hadn't even finished by the time I walked out of the door, my blood boiling.
This is not the first time I have experienced such blatant disregard as a customer and I know for a fact that it won't be the last. The thing is, I don't consider myself a particularly demanding consumer, all I ask for is a friendly welcome, a smile and some direct eye contact. LOOK AT ME! Acknowledge that I am there and that I'm handing MY money over to you! It isn't rocket science, people!
Somewhere along the way companies and small businesses appear to have lost sight sight of that which is most importan. Emphasis is placed upon numbers, figures, statistics and sales which leaves you and I, the consumer, disgruntled, dissatisfied and dejected. Yes, dejected. When I left the corner shop not only was I indignant and quite frankly miffed at being ignored, I felt a hint of sadness that I obviously didn't matter to the shop keeper despite the fact that I was supporting and contributing to his business, albeit on a small scale.
In stark contrast to my example of shoddy customer service is a post I came across on Facebook a few weeks ago:
Even if Scott's name hadn't been mentioned I would have known exactly to whom they were referring. This guy is the epitome of excellent customer service: warm, engaging, helpful, friendly and he looks you straight in the eye!
Scott has the innate ability to make you feel special, like you are the one and only customer he is going to serve that entire day. You walk out of the BP garage with your head held high and with a veritable spring in your step and all because somebody paid you a little bit of attention. Oh, how a simple smile or a kind word can change your day for the better! I was right in my previous assessment; it is not rocket science. And customer service may be languishing, but it isn't dead. Not yet. Not while there are still Scotts (and Jonathans!) in this world to keep the flame burning brightly.
Ginger Warrior, over and out.
P.S. Please share some of your experiences of customer service, good or bad!