The Rise and Fall of Customer Service in America

America needs a reality check. If you own a small business, you don’t exist without customers. That’s business in its simplest terms. The formula goes something like this: small business – customers = out of business. It’s pretty simple; you don’t have to be Plato or Socrates to understand the formula.

Unfortunately, employees of small businesses don’t understand the formula. Without customers the business will fold which means employees are out of jobs. Again, it’s a pretty simple concept to understand. So, why don’t small business owners and employees get it?

Providing horrible customer service is a guarantee way to send business to your competitors. People will not stand for rude or poor customer service. They’ll just drive a few miles to your competition and spend money for goods and services.

Perhaps customer service has taken a nose dive because of the economy, Americans values, or employees being fed up with working hard and long hours and not receiving the pay or recognition they deserve. If small business owners don’t appreciate their employees, why would employees appreciate customers?

Customer service can make or break your business. Word-of-mouth travels fast and is still a viable means of advertising. Don’t treat your customers right will result in the phone not ringing and your website sitting idle in cyberspace!

Without customers you business will shrivel up and disappear. If employees are disgruntled find out why. Your receptionist (if you have one) is the first point of contact with customers. She sets the tone for your small business. If your receptionist answers the phone with a “frosty” tone, you’ll hear about it from customers. Take the time to find out why your receptionist is not friendly. Perhaps she’s going through a rough time at home or found at that a loved one is sick. This is not an excuse, but it will give you insight and you’ll be able to address the situation in a professional manner.

Many people will pay for customer service. For example, a woman working at a local McDonald’s provided excellent customer service that it landed her on the 5 o’clock news. People were driving miles to this particular McDonald’s because of the customer service. These people had a McDonald’s around the corner from them but they chose to drive a few miles just to be greeted by this particular employee. That’s the power of exceptional customer service.

If your small business isn’t flourishing as you’d like it to, you may want to look at your employees and assess their customer service skills. You may want to send them to seminars and conferences on customer service. The sooner you “nip this is in the bud” the better for you, your business, and customers.