At Your Service: Just give them a damn box – Part II
By Russ Dantu
By Russ Dantu
I said I would update you on my inquiry to Liquor Depot from the article I wrote in August about one store’s refusal to give me a box for my purchases. I went to their main site, emailed them with the issue and had a reply email almost immediately…which impressed me. The respondant was sorry it happened and I was told it was being forwarded to the area and regional manager and someone would get back to me within 48 hours. That impressed me as well. I thought maybe this company does actually care about their customers and this was just a silly situation that should never have happened. Forty-eight hours came and went. Then 72 hours, 96 hours, one week, two weeks, three weeks…I was not impressed. I emailed again and had a reply right away. Another heartfelt apology and the regional manager was copied on this email and would get back to me that day. I was impressed…and it actually happened! The gentlemen called me within an hour of this, apologizing for not getting back to me as he was not sure what happened. I explained my story again. He let me vent. I was impressed.
He then informed me that they have hundreds of boxes that they have to cut up and recycle each and every week so there was no excuse or policy for not giving boxes out to customers.
He went on to say that they did some digging and the store manager was no longer with them. He wouldn’t elaborate why, but I have my suspicions. I said I’d give them another chance because of the way they handled this. So, let’s look at the good, the bad and the ugly on how they handled the situation:
The good – They answered my email inquiry right away. I was informed someone would call me within 48 hours. I have noticed with several businesses where you do a survey or send an inquiry about poor service that they do not reply at all. Even on-line reviews should be answered, good or bad. He also let me tell my story again without interrupting. Letting customers vent when they are upset is the right thing to do.
The bad – They obviously need to be setting policies and procedures that are the same across their stores and someone needs to be checking in to see that it is actually happening. This falls on the area or regional manager…and they shouldn’t just be looking at the numbers. They should actually work in the different stores, in the trenches with the employees and store manager to see how they interact with customers: how they upsell and if they keep the store clean, safe and attractive. This can be done by having a checklist for each time they visit. The other point to this is to not give away when you will be coming to visit. I worked in a printing plant out of high school and I always remember the boss would come to us once a month and say, “Hey, we need to get this place cleaned up and all the hazardous stuff taken care of because the fire department will be coming in for their monthly check tomorrow.” Monthly checks are great but don’t give your stores a day to clean up and make things look proper. Surprise them with visits so they always have to keep things looking good and up to standards.
The ugly – I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now. A reply was promised within 48 hours and never would have happened if I hadn’t emailed back over three weeks later. My number-one tip in customer service is, “Do what you say you will do.” It’s that simple. If you have calmed a customer down and you say you will do something by a certain time, it better happen. If it doesn’t, you lose even more trust with that customer. Did they make my day? I usually play by the three-strikes-you’re-out rule when dealing with businesses. After three strikes, I will go out of my way to never use that particular store again. Imagine if customers use that philosophy with your store? If you’re doing things right, you don’t have to worry. If you are losing customers, it might be time to find out why. Always strive to impress your customers with each and every visit. Liquor Depot has two strikes now but I am happy to give them another chance to impress me.
Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. Visit russdantu.com.