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Customer service responses key to build loyalty

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 17, 2013 3:04PM



Walk into most grocery stores and upon checkout you may hear this question:

“Did you find everything?

For me, my standard response is “Yes.” Yet last week I finally was able to respond with a “No” and then I quickly added “However, I found it after much searching.”

Because the store had recently been remodeled, the signs had changed and tuna (my search item) was no longer listed on the new sign or where it used to be.

The reaction of the cashier was noticeable; he did not know what to say.

Being always curious, I then asked him what do you do with a “no” response? He recovered from his momentary stunned look and answered, “I would call someone over to help you find the item.”

Now my curiosity was really piqued and I asked him, “What do you do with response that is no, but the customer actually found the item?” This time the response was much slower and I could tell he was thinking of something to say. Eventually, he said, “I would tell the head cashier.”

While it is possible that he would take this action, I doubt it as he did not write anything down and didn’t seem to be truly listening.

The reason for sharing this customer service experience is critical to building customer loyalty. By not being able to answer my question, he demonstrated the “Did you find everything?” question was more of a surface, courtesy, feel-good question and truly not a real authentic customer service caring question.

What has happened is that now I have been tainted with the mist of distrust.

When perfunctory questions, like many of us experience within customer service, are not answered to our satisfaction, we become frustrated and that is the last result any business worth its salt wants. Frustration leads to dissatisfaction and that leads to someone like myself sharing my story in this weekly business column or worse yet in person.

Customers want real experiences, not some hollow-sounding scripts crafted by expensive customer service training firms. Eventually, those scripts are repeated like the monkey calls in the jungle and every business sounds the same.

Exceptional customer service is authentic and demonstrates your business truly cares about the buying experience of your customers or clients. So the first question to ask yourself is “Do you truly care about your customers?” The second question then is “What are you doing to make that customer service experience one of exceptional and real caring?

Next week learn about how one company keeps customer service in the forefront of all employees.

P.S. Shout Out to Frey’s Dairy Queen in Hobart and Das’ Dairy Queen in Valparaiso where it’s Pumpkin Blizzard time.



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