59°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Businesses need customer service or they die

Nothing like walking into a business to spend your hard-earned money and have the person who is supposed to be helping you act like you are bothering them! Offering good customer service is both the easiest and least expensive improvement that any business can make so why is it so hard to find good customer service anymore? Is it because in our mobile and online world purchasing has become a task devoid of human interaction and therefore no longer personable? Possibly, but there are other reasons also.

In a small town, the need for good customer service is amplified. There are fewer new customers so a business needs repeat customers. Even large companies with many locations need to have good customer service in a small town. I have traveled Highway 95 between northern and southern Nevada way too many times over the years to count. Tonopah is sort of the halfway point and a convenient place to stop, grab a quick bite, hit the restroom, and then get back on the road. At the south end of Tonopah was McDonald’s. For years, there really wasn’t too many other places to stop in Tonopah so the McDonald’s got a lot of traveler business. But it was consistently an awful experience. The person taking your order was generally busy talking to some friends in the lobby and barely paid any attention to you, the food was often poorly made, and you frequently had to wait far too long for “fast” food. I really dreaded having to stop there because I knew it was going to be less than pleasant. As new businesses come to the area the McDonald’s poor reputation for service cost it business and one day, it was gone!

So why was is customer service so bad?

It is not being taught to employees. Most jobs, you are lucky to get any sort of new employee orientation and your training might be a couple of hours with someone that knows the essential duties of what you need to know to work. Companies would be far better off taking time to properly train new employees on customer service. And monthly meetings to refresh current employees is an innovative idea too!

Not hiring the right person. I think it’s more important to hire the person who has the personality to fit what the job requires and not worry about skill set. You can teach skills, you can’t teach personality.

Companies not creating a culture of customer service. It starts with sharing the company’s vision with employees and letting them know how important all their roles are in the company’s success. If all departments within a company do not understand that everyone shares in delivering great customer service, those who are on the front lines dealing with customers will feel like they aren’t supported by the rest of the employees. That goes for the person at the top of the company also. If they aren’t available to solve problems and help with customers then they are not setting a good example.

Profits may take precedence over customer service. Many companies would rather focus on sales to drive more profit — as they’re afraid of bankruptcy — than in customer service. Well, they hold a misconception on that. There must be a balance between gaining profit and delivering a great service experience. Bad customer service will eventually run customers away, effectively driving profits down. Focusing on price instead of customer service is backwards. Deliver great customer service and price becomes less important if it’s reasonable and fair.

“It’s not my job”. Yes, it is if you want to stay employed and in business. Apathy from employees can kill customer service and drive a company down faster than just about anything. All too often employees feel that they are just putting in their time. “Hey, I’m making minimum wage and my boss is making big money, let him/her deal with the customers.” Everyone has a role in a business. Sometimes that boss that is making big money is also dealing with many other issues that you are not even aware of and working long hours to do their job. You can be a star to your boss by delivering great customer service and a good manager will reward those who shine brightest.

Being kind, polite, smiling, and interacting with a customer, showing that you want to be helpful really takes no more effort than being sullen, frowning, and shying away from helping people. Yes, there are some difficult and unreasonable customers. Fortunately, they are in the minority.

If you receive great customer service let that person know, it would really make them smile knowing that their efforts are appreciated! All too often we choose to rant and not rave when raving is far more beneficial to everyone!

Tim Burke is a businessman, philanthropist, educator and Pahrump resident. Contact him at timstakenv@gmail.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
COVID-19 and how residents are ignoring the self-quarantine

Some residents of Nevada ignore the call for voluntarily self-quarantining and social distancing. There are still a lot of people out in the community, and traffic on the roads is still substantial. If you make a quick trip to pick up essentials at the grocery store, you will see that stores are still being overrun by shoppers madly searching for the ever-elusive rolls of toilet paper and paper towels. Head into a big box hardware store to pick up repair parts, and shoppers fill the aisles who have no idea what social distancing means. Bored at home and seeking something productive to do, homeowners have decided to occupy their free time by tackling projects around the yard and house. Signs around the stores asking shoppers to maintain social distancing are largely ignored by many as they go about their business. Yes, you will see some residents wearing surgical face masks. You will also see some wearing homemade masks of cloth or windsocks pulled up and cover their face and nose. Some shoppers, as they navigate down crowded aisles, will move to keep at least six feet between them and other shoppers. Then there are those shoppers who crowd in on top of you as stand waiting to check out without any regard to the prominently places signs asking them to stay back at least six feet. For them and for others who are not heeding the request to stay at home and for social distancing, the COVID-19 virus is not a real threat.

By the time we notice we’re hungry, it may be too late

“As the top U.S. watermelon-producing state prepares for harvest, Reuters reports, “many of the workers needed to collect the crop are stuck in Mexico …. Without the workers, crops could rot in fields throughout the country,” starting in Florida and California where major harvests begin in April and May.

It’s not the zombie apocalypse we were promised

For years we have all watched the movies and read the books about a global pandemic that would herald the end of mankind as we know it. When the virus was first reported, I was alarmed and was very glad that the president at least stopped flights from China. What happened next still puzzles me.

California Lottery

No one matched all five numbers and the mega number in the Wednesday, March 11 drawing of the California Super Lotto. The next jackpot will be at least $10 million.