Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Reminder About The Importance of Customer Service

Giancaspro is a consumer reader of Scrapbook Update. She joins us a
guest blogger today to share her perspective on what is really
important to her as a consumer. You can learn more about her by
visiting her blog It’s My Crafty Life

When I was a little girl, my grandmother owned a yarn store. It
wasn’t just any yarn store. It was “Connie’s Yarn Shop,” and her
customers came from miles around to spend the day (and often the
evening) knitting and crocheting, and making all sorts of wonderful
creations. The reason for my grandmother’s success wasn’t just her wide
selection of goods and services. She also gave her customers
outstanding customer service. As soon as they walked into her store,
they felt valued, appreciated, and welcome. That is one of the keys to
operating a successful business.

Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the norm these
days. Here’s a scenario with which I’m sure many of you can relate: I
go into a large craft store looking for a particular item. I look on
the shelf where I expect it to be, but it’s not there. I look around
for a sales associate to help me, but there is no one around. I search
the store and find someone who appears to be annoyed even before I ask
her a question. After I inquire about the product, she looks at me as
if I’m crazy and says something like, “I’ve never heard of that,” or
“If it isn’t on the shelf, we don’t have it.” I look somewhere else and
find it. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, and trying to use
a valid coupon that the cashier refuses to accept, I leave frustrated
and angry.

I don’t think this is the way most retail store owners want us to
leave their stores. I believe that everyone who owns a store truly
wants his/her customers to be happy. The problem lies in employee
training and supervision. Sales associates, cashiers, and stock
personnel must be pleasant, helpful, and knowledgeable. No one can be
expected to know everything, but a pleasant and helpful attitude goes a
long way in customer service.

As a consumer, I feel from my experience that retail store owners
need to pay more attention to training and supervising their employees
so that their stores can compete in these difficult economic times.
They must hold their employees to higher standards and train them more
effectively in customer relations. They should also monitor employees
to ensure that customers are leaving their stores on a positive note.
Can every store be a Connie’s Yarn Shop? Of course not. Can every store
make me feel valued, appreciated, and welcome? Absolutely!


Linda Epstein said...

Hi Jeanette,
I'm so sorry to read that you had such a rough week. I sure hope life has calmed down for you a bit by now,and that you are feeling better from that abcess.
I read your article about customer service, and I wholeheartedly agree. As a teenager right through my early 20's, I worked at the food counters for a department store and a fast food restaurant. I have to tell you that if I treated the customers then the way that I am sometimes treated now, I would have been fired on the spot. At that time, we were periodically observed by the managers to make sure that we were doing our job the way we should and treating the customers properly. Today it seems that the managers, themselves, are very young and not properly trained. So if they don't have good people skills to begin with, they're not going to train those under them to have it either. I am constantly running into workers who have major attitude problems. When I do finally find someone who treats me correctly and goes out of their way to help, I make sure I find the manager and put in a good word for that person. There definetly needs to be more training and more supervision of both the managers and their employees. Well, I could go on and on but I'll stop here. Anyway your article was very good.
I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Linda Epstein

Jeanette Giancaspro said...

Thanks for the comments. Im glad you ladies enjoyed my post.
Check out my Blog: My Crafty Life
Please visit my Etsy Store to see
lots of hand-made crafty stuff.
2-Page Designer for If Its Groovy

Jeanette said...

The deadline for leaving comments will be this Friday, November 27th, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Thanks!

RedSquirrel said...

You're so right. I've come to the conclusion that courtesy and manners come under the heading of "authority" which it is the fashion to hate these days. As these things always do, it will turn around and go the other way again, probably to such extremes that will make us complain even more! Meanwhile we just have to lead by example. It's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling the same - and that I'm not turning into my own mother!
Rosey x

Nora Noll said...

I really enjoyed your article and totally agree with you. I think stores should have more training and higher expectations of their employees. However, manners are not valued in this self centered society that we live in. I see it in the HS kids that I work with every day.
I work a couple times a month in a small scrapbook store and I often cannot find product because it has been moved since I was last there. However, I will bend over backwords to find what the customer is looking for and the store will special order it for the customer if we don't carry it. (If the owner can even get it. Sometimes the requests can be bizarre!!) This owner is the BEST and stands by customer service.
Nothing is better then having someone greet you with a friendly hello as you enter a store and ask you if they can help you. Hopefully in these hard economic times, stores will train their employees better so they will stay in business.
Wishing you a wonderful Holiday!!

Kathy Hering said...

Thanks for the article and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!!Kathy Hering

anne said...

The customer is no longer always right. Sigh.

Kristy said...

So true! Common courtesy seems to be a lost art. However, viewing the issue from the position of those providing the service, I find that customers often have just as little courtesy. We could all be a little kinder to one another!

dee said...

I love your article and could not agree more. I am a manager and truly believe that my employees should be a reflection of my standards. It doesn't matter if you intend to spend $1.00 or $100.00 you should feel like a valued customer when you leave the store!! Not to mention that a great attitude spreads as quickly as a bad one among your employees.

tinamarie said...

I hope your week is much better now and you have a wonderful relaxing weekend.
I also agree 100% that stores/businesses really need to train employees better. They forget that without those valuable customers- they would not have job.

stampjourney said...

Your article is right on! I've experienced so much bad customer service lately that I've been going out of my way to compliment good customer service. The member companies at SCS have been outstanding with their customer service--especially Unity Stamp Co. And several ebay and etsy sellers go out of their way to make the transaction a pleasant experience. My SU Demo must be like your grandmother--it's a wonderful creative experience to go to her house and craft to my heart's content. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeanette said...

Thanks everyone. Glad you liked the article.

Michelle P said...

Ugh...customer service frustrates me. IMO, I think the big box stores (craft or otherwise) don't have much of a choice when it comes to hiring. Many young kids today have the attitude "it's all about me" and don't care about others. With the economy where it is today, maybe we'll finally see a shift and people will want to do the best job possible to keep their job. Until that shift happens, I think we're stuck with this attitude. The mom and pop stores have a better opportunity to get good employees who have the "right" attitude...and if not, do what needs to be done to correct it.