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In this day and age, good customer service can kill your business. That is because outstanding customer service has become an expectation, especially for small business owners. Outstanding customer service is the best way to stand out from your big competitors.
Today I saw the negative impact of mediocre customer service habits first-hand. I took a water sample to a local pool store to have it tested and get some advice on what chemicals I needed to add. The clerk looked to be about High School age, and was sufficiently professional and pleasant when I asked for help. She computer tested the water and printed a report. She advised me that my pool water needed to be stabilized, and the report suggested I add eight pounds of stabilizer to my pool water. I immediately questioned this, because I own a small pool and thought that sounded excessive. But she assured me that the computer had taken the pool size into consideration when analyzing the water. So I purchased the stabilizer as she had recommended. Such a large amount cost nearly $30. She also provided me with a copy of the water sample test results.
When I got to the car, I glanced over the test results and noticed that the test results had in fact suggest adding 8 OUNCES of stabilizer, not 8 pounds as the clerk had said. I re-entered the store and waited for her to finish with another customer, then explained that she had made a mistake and showed her the test results. She apologized profusely, but I told her it was fine. We all make mistakes.
She then proceeded to explain that it was their store policy to only give store credit for returns, and that she could not give me cash back. I only have a small pool and do not make many purchases at this store, so I was not pleased with the idea of store credit, especially for an amount I would most likely not spend there by the end of the season. So I politely asked her to make an exception, especially considering it was her error that that caused me to purchase more than I needed, and the transaction had taken place less than 10 minutes prior. She said she could call her boss and ask him to make an exception, but he was normally very strict on this policy and would most likely refuse. So I asked her to call her boss.
By this time she had clearly become angry. Her body language had changed and she had begun to raise her voice toward me. It took her two calls to reach her boss. I assume he instructed her to make the exception and return my money, because she did just that. But she would not look at me or say a word. She obviously felt I had done something wrong to her.
In the end, I was satisfied and got what I wanted. I felt no disdain for the clerk for making a minor mistake. But the way she responded to her mistake caused the experience to become rather unpleasant. While the business owner did the right thing, I left there having made the decision that I would drive a few extra miles to the next pool store in the future. I would find it very awkward to do business with that clerk again. I also drove straight to my own store and recounted the experience to three of my employees and explained why that would be completely unacceptable in our store.
This is why at Shisler’s, our employees are trained to provide nothing less than outstanding service. Whether you choose to do business at our brick and mortar or online store, your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Beyond insisting that our employees provide outstanding service, we do our best to provide a pleasant work environment for them, in which those service habits develop naturally. If you ever receive anything less than outstanding service, please give us the opportunity to correct the situation and let me or a member of our senior staff know.
We appreciate your business. “Without you the customer, we would not exist.”