I am sure we are all blown away by how some businesses operate. I scratch my head…it’s clear not everyone is really trying to take care of clients, create positive experiences, or improve performance. Here are several of my experiences.
The crepe joint: Penny wise, pound (or franc) foolish.
There’s a great crepe joint near work. As the economy soured, I noticed changes. They stopped including a small side salad with entrées. Then they had stopped serving bread; now you have to pay for it. Challenging times or not, one wants to make sure customers see value. Cutting back or adding up-charges certainly does not build loyalty! The final straw? I only drink coffee with half-and-half. The last time there, they brought milk with my coffee. I asked if they had half and half or cream. The server checked and shared the owner said they don’t have enough. Huh? I asked about a little whipped cream. The server came back with the same answer. Then I asked for a teaspoon of vanilla ice cream. The server came back and said the owner told him there would be a $3.00 charge. I appreciate the economic challenges, but in times like this you need to enhance perceived value…offer more, include more, don’t nickel and dime. I guess I won’t be going for crepes anytime soon. Don’t be penny wise and pound (or in this case, franc) foolish.
The snack and nut store…we don’t want your money.
The first level at our office complex is a shopping village. A shop I rarely visit sells sodas, ice cream, candy and nuts. I ran down at the end of the day to buy a soda; usually I get them at the café or deli downstairs, but this shop is closest to the lot and I was in a hurry. I grabbed two sodas and headed to the counter. Then I realized I was short on cash so, no worries, I handed him my Visa. Ah, not so quick Batman. At a store that sells low ticket items like candy bars, they actually have a $10 minimum for credit and debit cards. Years ago when I was on the property management side, I was fortunate to receive great training from a top end strategic consultant (client list included companies like Pepsi). One of the no-nonsense lessons he shared that I carried with me when I started SatisFacts was, “The easier you make it for me to buy, the greater the probability I will.” The end result? I put the sodas back and went to the deli to buy the sodas with my Visa.
The book store…what don’t fathers understand?
When my sons were in middle school I bought two math books that I thought would be helpful. Turns out one was not needed, so I go back for a refund. Then the fun began! The employee shared they do not offer refunds for “reproducible” books. I asked how this book was singled out as “reproducible” since you could put any book on a Xerox machine and copy pages. At this point the line is growing behind me. She told me it was not up for discussion. OK, so it goes. Then she just had to say one more thing – what came out of her mouth next totally blew me away (and made me decide to stay until they gave me the money back, reproducible book or not!). “Yea, most fathers don’t understand this.” Huh? Fathers don’t care about their children’s education? They don’t understand what “reproducible” means? As the line grew, I asked what in the world she meant by that. Then the manager came over, interrupts me, and less-than graciously said they “usually” do not give refunds for “reproducible” books, but for me…she would. Wow, thanks. Needless to say I have never shopped there since.
I am sure you have had similar experiences. They are great reminders about the need to do things the “right” way. To make life as easy as possible for clients. To care. To always work to enhance perceived value. To treat people with respect. There is no loser when everyone wins!