When I was 19 years old I saw an ad for a new portable cassette player that caught my eye. Sony Walkmans had been around a few years, but when the Aiwa T600 came on the scene I knew that was the one I had to have. It looked a lot cooler than the Walkman and was a smaller and included a 5-band equalizer. I spent the summer cleaning pools for my father and eventually saved up enough money to purchase it.
I was so excited to finally purchase my first good quality portable cassette player with “Auto Reverse”! I didn’t realize how hard it would be to find a place that carried the model I was after. I called around to a few electronic stores before locating one that had it in stock. I got my cash together and headed to the store which most sold higher end audio products.
The sales person made it clear that since I was only looking at portable units instead of high end audio he only interested in providing the very minimal amount of service. It took a while before he could locate the key to the glass case which held the Aiwa. I was not a priority and felt I was putting the guy out by asking questions. The quicker he could get me to leave the store the better. I bought the player and left the store feeling like crap due to how I was treated. What should have been a fun experience left me feeling like my business wasn’t appreciated.
That experience would turn out a lot different today. Although I could still be treated poorly, the end result would be different. I wouldn’t hand over my money to someone who didn’t value my business. But I’d be sure to take down the salesman’s name and blog about it when I got home. So instead of telling a few friends about my bad experience, my blog could reach hundreds if not thousands of potential customers. The salesman was in charge back then. The buyer is in charge today.
The internet and blogging have drastically changed the transaction process. It’s no longer good enough for merchants to display their wares and take your money while relegating service to the back burner. Those companies that provide poor service will be exposed and many will fade away while companies that provide excellent service like New Egg, Amazon and Starbucks will thrive. That means each customer inaction if more important than ever. Your bad sales people can no longer hide behind the counter cherry picking the big spenders. Conversely, those sales people who treat customers with respect and appreciation will be valued now more than ever.
Does your company value each customer interaction?