Customer service is back in vogue — for some companies…
Hi guys, it’s Mark Phillips. Recently, my family ended a business relationship that spanned 10 years. Toward the end of the relationship, this business — a service provider — just wasn’t cutting it. We knew it was time to end the relationship long ago. It was one last straw that made me think, “Wait, why are we doing this?”
Over 10 years, we spent more than $175,000. To lose a customer spending that much money hurts — badly. Compound that by losing another customer and another and another, and the cumulative effect can be downright catastrophic. How do we know we made the right decision, when we told them we were ending the relationship? An email from them saying “OK, thanks for letting us know.”
OK, thanks for letting us know? That’s the kind of response I expect from a fellow motorist when they’re told they have a brake light out. Or maybe you walk out of the airport bathroom with toilet paper stuck to your shoe?
Just a few years ago, Walmart calculated that if a frustrated person left the line at one of its stores, never to return, that decision would cost the company $250,000 over the course of that person’s life. You’ve probably been to Walmart lately. If you haven’t, you’re missing something. Service is back! In 2016, the company committed to spending nearly $3 billion over two years to improve wages, employee scheduling and training. And believe me, you can tell.
Upon walking into the store, the greeters are back. As you walk past the checkout lines, employees stand at the end of empty lines and let people know they’re open. Employees greet customers. Employees ask customers if they need help. And what do you think has happened? Store traffic is up! Sales are up!
How should companies react to hearing that customers are leaving them? They should break out in hives. Their stomachs should get queasy. They may end up screaming like that famous Edvard Munch painting. But after that unsightly display, they should stop, gather their thoughts and come up with a plan to stop that customer exodus. I’m Mark Phillips. And thanks for watching.