By Randy Snyder
This is my tenth piece promoting the theme of” Paying it Forward” and one that I hope will change your actions regarding your expectations of products and customer service. Advocacy per Webster is: the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal: the act or process of advocating something.
My motivation and inspiration for expressing this advocacy was due to several recent experiences as a customer. With so many social media possibilities available, people find it difficult to express themselves or communicate one on one, and too often tolerate bad service and inferior products. Some companies and owners do care about the consumer and want feedback from dissatisfied customers!
One of my experiences was in a national health food chain store. We were looking for a product we knew they carried. We came within arm’s reach of an employee twice while looking but we were not offered help. We were the only ones in the store. We left the store and did not make a purchase. The second situation took place the same day in a restaurant. The employee put us at a table for two whereby we could not sit side by side and/or face the view we preferred. We asked for another table and despite only two people being in the establishment, he said those tables were for larger parties. We left and found another restaurant. Lastly we visited (while on vacation) a large resort facility. We came within eye space or closer with nine different employees. Only one of those employees acknowledged us despite the fact that we were guests – (key word.) On another occasion, one local car dealer’s service department overlooked our tire and battery problems that existed. In the subsequent two weeks the battery died and the tires had to be replaced. I wrote the service manager to no avail, next the manager, was disregarded again and finally the owner. After not receiving a response, I advised them they lost a customer and a buyer as we bought a vehicle from that dealer!
The ensuing actions I took are the point of this piece. I contacted the health food store and provided specifics including, date, time and name of employee. I heard back, got an apology and a coupon for future purchases. I contacted the restaurant owner and he offered an explanation and an apology. I contacted the resort, provided details and also got an apology. I will never go back to the car dealer! In essence, I am no longer going to be apathetic about treatment or products that not meet my expectations. I encourage readers to do the same!
Most responsible, well managed companies appreciate the consumer, but do not hear from consumers who have had a bad experience. They realize that without the consumer, their business will fail. Those same companies endorse the adage that “the customer is always right”. They uphold the axiom that without customers, they will go out of business.
You, the customer are doing businesses a huge favor “Paying it Forward”, by taking the time to contact them and providing details of your bad experience or below standard product, no matter what the situation or product. In a large facility that has several employees working, there is a good chance a manager is present or at least a supervisor. In that case request a correction on the spot by asking for that person and conveying your issue with them. In a situation whereby only one employee is available, go online and contact the business through its website.
The general line of thought is “one complaint from one customer can’t possibly make a difference.” Conversely, adopt the philosophy that you will be doing the establishment, owner a favor with a random act of kindness and “Paying it Forward” by bringing a deficiency to their attention, giving them the opportunity to improve business product, customer service and relationships.