Why Your Attitude Makes a Difference
What’s the first vision that pops into your head when I say the words: “customer service”? Do you think about a smiling face? A few friendly words? Or, maybe you think of someone who went out of his or her way to help you with a problem? No matter what your thought process on customer service, I’m fairly certain that something like a sneer or an angry exchange of words does not make the list…right? Well, I witnessed something much worse than a sneer earlier this week that piqued my curiosity about some companies and their views on marketing.
I was driving on Interstate 88, just as I do every day, when I noticed a car obnoxiously weaving in and out of lanes in an attempt to go 75 mph in a construction zone. I was annoyed and I could tell that many of the people driving alongside me were feeling the same way. The speeding car was driving in the lane beside me for a brief moment and it was long enough for me to notice that there was a magnetic sign attached to the side of it (you know, the ones that have a company’s name, slogan, contact information, etc on them). Then, this car switched lanes just as cars began to merge from an exit, and it almost caused a serious accident! I was so appalled that someone claiming to represent a “customer service centered” business would nearly crash into someone on a highway. What kind of service is that? And that’s not even the point…even if the person in the car had done something minor by comparison, like flipping someone off or taking the last parking spot, I still think it’s contradictory to the customer service they claim. I do not believe that simply having your logo or company name on a product is enough; I think that companies (and employees that represent companies) should exhibit great service at all times. Just because an employee or a representative isn’t in the building of his or her employer at the time of the interaction doesn’t mean that customers won’t notice!
On an unrelated note to cars and magnetic signs, I used to work for a company that allowed me to constantly interact with a wide variety of local business owners, and you probably wouldn’t believe some of the stories I could tell you about their conduct OUTSIDE of their respective businesses. I remember one business owner in particular that had her “service with a smile” slogan emblazoned all over her promotional items, and she was one of the rudest customers I’ve ever encountered. Events like these always make me think about the marketing mentalities of some of these companies…what would possibly inspire people who specialize in customer service to act inappropriately to potential customers? It just doesn’t make any sense. So, I suppose the moral to my big drawn-out story is this: if you want to accomplish true customer service and win the hearts of your customers, then actually BE NICE to them! Yes, promotional products are awesome marketing tools, but they will be meaningless if you don’t reflect the services you claim to offer. And please don’t underestimate the power of a genuine smile – it really does matter.