I’m The Customer That Never Returns!

By Tom Grandy,

Like it or not we are all getting older.  It seems like there is a direct relationship between age and the number of visits made to the doctor’s office.  It may be a medical doctor, dentist, eye doctor, and/or any variety of others in between.  However, what I have found over the years is that nearly all of them seemed to have flunked the class on bedside manners.  Most are very good at what they do but customers like me are literally driven away by their lack of empathy or compassion.

When it comes to the business world the circumstances may change a bit, but the basics are still the same.  Poor customer service drives away customers.

I recently read the following comments by Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.  It’s worth reading and spending a bit of time pondering on:


                  Years ago, Sam Walton, founder of the world’s largest retail chain, Wal-Mart, opened a                        training program for his employees, with much wisdom. When everyone was expecting a                    talk about sales and service, he started with these words:

                 “I’m the guy who goes to a restaurant, sits at the table, and waits patiently, while the                              waiter does everything but write down my order.

                   I’m the guy who goes to a store and waits quietly, while the salesmen finish their                                     personal conversations.

                   I’m the guy who walks into a gas station and never uses his horn, but patiently waits for                     the employee to finish reading his newspaper.

                   I’m the man who explains his desperate urgency for a price but doesn’t complain that he                    only gets it after three weeks of waiting.

                  I’m the guy who, when he enters a commercial establishment, seems to be asking for a                        favor, begging for a smile or just hoping to be noticed.

                  You must be thinking I’m a quiet, patient, never troublesome type…don’t be fooled.

                  Do you know who I am? I am the customer who never returns!”

                  I love seeing millions spent annually on all sorts of ads to get me back to your company                        because when I first went there, all they should have done was just provide a little,                                simple, and inexpensive kindness: treat me with a little more courtesy.  There’s only one                      boss: THE CUSTOMER. And he can fire everyone in the company from the president to                      the janitor, simply by taking his or her money somewhere else.”  Want to be successful                          and have better customer service than anyone else.


The above story really emphasizes the importance of customer service.  How many times have you contacted a company that didn’t answer the phone or were rude when answering?  How many employees have you talked to in the office, or techs in the field, that mumbled to the point you couldn’t understand them?  How many times have you been told the company will call back…and they never did?  Were you the service customer who was told the tech would arrive around 9:00 AM and at noon you wondered if anyone was actually going to come?

Providing outstanding customer service really isn’t all that difficult.  Simply smile and do what you said you would do and treat the customer with the same respect YOU would expect from others.

Most companies spend huge amounts of money on marketing to get the phone to ring.  Does it really make sense to spend all that money acquiring a customer only to lose them with poor customer service?

Many years ago, I quoted a business tip written by Bob Daniels, the owner of Copperfield Chimney Supply at the time.  In summary, he interviewed dozens of happy residential customers to find out “why” they were happy.  The overwhelming number of respondents replied by talking about how nice the technician was.  When asked about the quality of work the comments were things like; it was good, very acceptable, met my expectations, etc. but all ended their comments by saying…but he or she was really, really nice.

Conclusion.  Most customers were happy because of the attitude of the tech more so than the overall quality of work.  Think about that for a moment and reflect on the impressions your office and/or field laborers are making on the customer.  If you don’t like what you see do something about it! 

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