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Good customer service pays off

Every single customer experience counts

Women at Work - Kristen Asleson column sig
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When Rochester was our place of residence, we frequented stores, fast-food establishments and service centers quite often. Combine living in Lanesboro with a pandemic, and our trips to town are less frequent than Laura Ingalls, with Ma and Pa hooking up the covered wagon and visiting the big city.

However, with a 16-year-old son, when we do make a trip to Rochester, fast food of some sort is usually on the agenda. In our fast-food stops of late, Burger King usually wins out. Although the kids enjoy Whoppers, I enjoy the customer service.

No matter which branch, the customer service has been outstanding. Every single employee there, despite the pandemic rules they currently need to follow or less-than-happy people they must deal with, is joyful, interactive, talkative and absolutely pleasant. Kudos to Burger King for your hires!

Our family has also been known to frequent Moka now and again. Well, really frequently. It does not matter if you go through the line at 6 a.m. or 6 p.m., you will always be greeted with a smile and light-hearted conversation while they make your coffee. Moka, too, stresses the importance of face-to-face customer service, or they just hire right.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I experienced such poor customer service about three weeks ago, that I left with an urge to tell everyone I knew to not go there! This shop is a three- or four-person operation. As I walked in, two women were in the front office working on a computer, and neither one of them acknowledged me. I had several children along, so I know I did not enter quietly. After about a minute of standing there, one of the women turned around, looked directly at me and then went back to her screen. A couple minutes later, a warehouse worker walked in, so I told him what I was there for, and he pleasantly retrieved it and loaded it into my car.

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Apparently, there was something really important on the computer these women were peering at, or I was invisible. The company probably did not need my business that day, nor will they in the future. Poor customer service experiences are more likely shared than good ones. Not only are they shared more often, but they have a long-term impact on customers. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research, bad customer service experiences impact the consumer’s behavior for two years after the negative experience.

It is a fact that 86% of consumers will pay more for a product if it means receiving a better experience. Personally, if I cannot shop or handle issues online, then most likely I did not need the product or will ignore the issue. Interestingly, 90% of United States consumers prefer to resolve customer issues over the phone, 75% face-to-face, 67% through a company website or mail, 47% in online chat, 22% via text messaging, and 22% via a social networking site.

What I have learned over the years from the vast spectrum of jobs I have held – from waitressing to construction to training to administrative work – is every single customer experience counts. The better the customer experience, the more likely customers are to come back. Equally, and probably more important, is the word-of-mouth praise and referrals satisfied customers give. Keep this in mind if you are in any form of customer service, and most of us are.

Even as we lean toward using the internet more often than not, you cannot have your lunch served over the web, you cannot get your coffee or Whopper through the phone, and face-to-face interaction will never disappear. Wear that smile and make the customer happy – clearly it pays off.

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com .

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