Shops don’t have time for people anymore

by Adam Bean on February 12, 2014

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Saturday morning during Summer means one thing in our household. It’s junior cricket day. Every Saturday is an early start where we head off to wherever my son is playing.

Now I believe in a lot of things and this particular saying is one of them, “you have two ears and one mouth, because you should listen twice as much as you speak”  Something I always put a lot of focus on doing.

Anyway I am sitting at junior cricket listening to a conversation going on between a couple of the other Dad’s when the topic of customer service pop’s up.

As you can imagine, my ears prick up straight away. I am very keen to hear what they have to say. After all these are the very people us marketers sell to, so their opinion in paramount to our success.

They are talking about a particular shop that used to have specialist guys that dealt with certain parts for vehicles. Guys that really knew their stuff, and had a real passion for what they did. So much passion in fact that one of them actually won the lottery didn’t need to work anymore, and still used to come into work.

Anyhoo I digress. One of them came out with this statement.

Shops don’t have time for people anymore.

All of them agreed (and remember I had no sway whatsoever in their discussion) I was just sitting quietly in the background listening with my mouth shut. Again they all agreed that they would quite happily pay more to shop somewhere that they actually got some good old fashioned service.

Now I don’t know if service is old fashioned, in fact I am pretty sure that poor service has been around for quite a few years. I really don’t think that modern day businesses have created the patent on it. Point is that most business owners just don’t place enough importance on it. Period!

Recently I have been talking about creating a culture in your business. Now culture isn’t just about the people who work for you, it is also about the people who purchase from you.

Again I quote from the book Rework about culture

“Culture is the by-product of consistent behaviour”

I am a construction worker that has a hide as thick as a Rhino, it literally makes feel uneasy and I actually cringe when I see business owners with signs such as the examples below in their shops. If it makes me feel that uneasy, how do other people (who actually have feelings) feel?

What about the young Mum’s with a couple of small kids doing their best to keep them under control and do the shopping at the same time? How much does that garbage add to her stress levels. Why on earth would she feel comfortable in a shop with a sign like that? I mean what incentive is there for her to ever come back?

What type of culture are the shop owners that put these signs up trying to breed? Angst, humiliation, belittling?

These are some of the worst that I see.

  •  You break, you pay
  • Don’t bring your food/drinks in here
  • For hard to deal with customers (above a picture of a cricket bat)

Or my personal favourite…

The level of my service depends on your attitude. I mean really how childish is that one? Are they truly trying to antagonise people?

How many times do those things actually go wrong? I mean you and I spend a lot of times in shops and I can never recall a time where someone walked into a shop and deliberately tried to break or deface something.

When something goes wrong people are usually genuinely embarrassed, which produces a huge opportunity. What a time to create some real culture and goodwill in your business by saying hey don’t worry about it, shit happens.

Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense to make people feel comfortable about coming back to your shop instead of threatening them with what will happen if they dare to make a mistake?

Rant over. Oh yeh, if you do have one of those signs up in your shop….

 Take the fucking thing down!

Cheers Beanie

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