The other day, I dropped into a local cupcake shop on the way to a concept development meeting (because eating cupcakes while getting creative is pretty nice really).
One of my dragonflies was with me, and we approached the counter and greeted the sales girl.
Blank stare. ‘Yes?’
We did a double-take but proceeded to choose our cupcakes – which took all of 30 seconds (okay, maybe 40) – while she stood there with her eyes rolled to the ceiling… Clearly we were taking up her valuable time.
When we made our choices, she put them in the box, dumped it on the counter, snapped out the amount, and took my money. She handed back the change, again without a word, and we both stood there gobsmacked. I wanted to say, ‘I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want the cupcakes anymore’. But I didn’t.
Instead, we both walked out of that cupcake shop with a bad taste in our mouths. I wonder if the business owner realises how much custom the ‘face of his business’ is turning away?
I’m sure you’ve got your own stories to tell, including great experiences you could talk about.
Talk and tell are the key words here. Because that’s what we do – about the good, the bad, the ugly customer service.
And that brings me to branding. Businesses will pay a lot of money to build brand recognition, while the human ‘face’ of their business may be undoing all that good work.
Why? Because customers talk, and word of mouth is the best, most cost-effective, and most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal.
What does the face of your business look like? Are your people’s attitudes consistent with your branding efforts? Do customers get the experience they expect from you – every time?
Customer service expectations need to be clearly communicated. It’s not enough to expect your employees to know how to act, or to know that the way they behave is an important factor in your business’s success (and therefore their jobs…).
It’s vital to regularly evaluate performance too, and to recognise and reward good performance.
Think about cupcakes. No matter how great those cupcakes are, we won’t be going there again. Which is good for our waistline – but not good for their bottom line.
Is it time to look at the face of your business?