This weekend I spent some time meandering around malls in the Raleigh area and was amazed at the level of disinterest I received when walking into retail stores. Not that I want to be rushed by a salesperson, but a simple “Good afternoon,” “Hi,” or even a smile would have been nice. Instead, I encountered employees too busily engaged in their own conversations to even notice that I entered the store, a girl texting on her mobile phone, and, at one store, an employee resting his head on the checkout counter with a blank gaze toward the front door.
From a marketing perspective, it pains me knowing how much companies invest in brand building and how quickly these investments can literally disappear into thin air based on a terrible in-store consumer shopping experience. And the worst thing about this is that providing great customer service is essentially free . . . it just takes a little training and a company conviction that nothing short of excellence is acceptable when it comes to the customer’s experience.
So remember, consumers have options, and if you want to be “the brand of choice,” make sure that every customer touch-point results in a positive experience. Employees who demonstrate through their actions (or inactions) that they don’t care about the customer should not be on your front line. In reality, they shouldn’t be anywhere in your organization. Demand excellence when it comes to customer interactions, and your brand will most certainly stand out from the crowd and yes, even thrive during trying times.