The object you see in the picture was waiting for me when I walked in.
Now, if you’re from a younger generation, you might even wonder what this thing is. You don’t see too many of them in stores anymore.
This yellow fellow is a bell placed on the counter, and it’s used to get the attention of whomever is supposed to serve you.
Now, I want you to take a close look at it, and tell me what strikes you. And no, I don’t mean the smiley face, although it is very cute.
The thing that’s unique about it is, that it is as CLEAN as can be. Either it has been cleaned because of COVID, or it almost looks like it has never been used. It could even be both. Either way, what does that tell you about the level of customer service at this café?
CLIENTS ALWAYS COME FIRST
My service was prompt and personable, and I enjoyed it so much that I am writing about it now. If you run a business in the service industry, that’s exactly what you want. Of course you want your product to be exceptional (especially when you ARE your product), and you want people to remember and mention it, long after they are gone.
Let me ask you this:
What kind of store do you run? What does it look and feel like?
In the digital age, chances are that you don’t have a physical store but a website. There’s no fresh coffee and muffin smell. No comfy chairs to hang out on. Most importantly, you don’t interact with your customers in person. In other words: there is no connection.
And no bell on the counter.
HOW’S YOUR SERVICE
How long do your customers have to wait until they hear from you? And when they do, do they receive a generic automated message programmed in by the web designer?
I once contacted a colleague using the message box on his website, and received the following email response (including the spelling mistake):
Thank your for cotacting [company name]. Your business is very important to us. We will do our best to contact you within 24 hours.
Four days later I still had not heard back. Not a word. And there was no bell I could ring.
Let’s say I’m a client hoping to find a talent with a quick turnaround time. Would I hire a person who’s not responsive? No way! If you think my business is not important enough to get back to me within your self-imposed time frame, why would I want to work with you?
If you can’t be bothered to spell-check your messages, how can I trust you to be detail-oriented when it comes to my project?
And what’s this thing with addressing oneself using the royal “we”? “We will do our very best…” et cetera. Who is we? US wants to know! I mean, could it be more impersonal? And this is coming from a person who is supposedly a communication expert?
Think about it. Could the way you communicate affect how your business is perceived?
Did I really need to ask that rhetorical question?
Is the Pope Catholic?
THIS TIME, IT’S PERSONAL
Let’s say you run a business in the USA and a client from Germany reaches out to you via your contact form. What would happen if, instead of sending a terrible computer-generated message, you pick up the phone and call that client personally? Of course I assume you are mindful of the time difference.
How would the client respond when you go above and beyond to establish a personal connection from the get-go?
Would that be memorable?
Would that make you come across as someone who gives a damn?
Your voice is your product, and from the very first interaction, you give this client an opportunity to experience that voice not on a generic demo, but as a real person.
Would that make them smile?
I have done this many, many times, and every time I make that call, I can’t believe how pleasantly surprised the person on the other end of the line reacts. It tells them that you’re not some dummy on a demo, but someone who truly cares.
It’s simple things like this, that build a sustainable business.
Forget all the bells and whistles.
Deliver a good product and customize the way you interact with clients.
It’s your business.
It’s your call.