The best marketing tool that anyone can use, regardless of your business, is word of mouth. And that applies to both good word of mouth and bad. Nothing sinks your company ship worse than bad PR. You treat your customers like shit, and they won’t be coming back. In our stores, we work are butts off to take care of our customers, because they’re really more like friends and close family than just customers. A lot of our regular shoppers are known to our crew by first name, and most of them can tell you what car which customer drives, how many kids they have, what part of town they hail from, and of course, what their favorite wines are. It’s the attention to detail that is important, and we are always striving to be better.
Granted, our Covington store is old, claustrophobic and dirty (thanks to being right beneath one of the busiest overpasses in the Midwest), yet our customers keep coming back to their “favorite little liquor store.” Believe me when I say that keeping that store clean is a full-time occupation.
I worked in restaurants for over 15 years, and have spent the last 9, and I’ve done all sorts of other jobs where customer service is an integral part of the business (trucking company, landscaping, data processing, even some construction) and the bottom line is you have to take care of the customer FIRST, otherwise, you might as well go ahead and close the doors.
It always blows me away every time I read bad customer reviews like the ones Lisa posted on her blog, and it just blows me away. I think of the time my wife and I went to a chain restaurant (I know my first mistake) and we were sat in a section that seemed to be devoid of any life whatsoever. After 15 minutes of waiting without anyone coming by to take our order, say hi, or tell us they’ll be right with us, we left, went to the restaurant next door, where we were greeted, and treated with way more respect than the first joint. It is remarkable that anyone lacking simple yet good customer service skills expects to be open for any length of time, and expects to make any money. It’s amazing. But there are countless businesses running with the personae of pond scum that seem to be plodding along though I am sure they want to make more of a profit.