George is open for business. Open as long as it is not a public holiday, the day between the public holiday and the weekend, an actual weekend, too early, too late, or any other time the business owner feels inconveniences him or her.
One place where service to customers still has a significant way to go is our local municipality. Their attitude of entitlement and power does not help to breed trust or engender goodwill. We are all quick to tell horror stories of long queues and useless officials. Unfortunately they are not alone; our town is full of local businesses that operate in the same way, some even complaining just as loudly about the poor service they get from the municipality.
I have often struggled to find someone to deliver a service on a Saturday morning, let alone out of hours. And don’t even get me started on how long it takes to get someone to get back to you with a quote.
Local business owners are the first to be quick to mention that the times are tough and there are no business opportunities in the region, but they really don’t make it easy for themselves.
We are always being told that service is everything, but it is often hard to find in our region. Why should I have to wait until you get around to phoning me back or faxing me a quote? And when you do, I have no way of knowing when you will actually deliver. Yes, it is easier said than done, but companies that continuously excel at good service reap the rewards. Companies that get a reputation for shoddy or slow service hardly ever get to shake it off.
OK, so what do we need to do to get a great service reputation. Golden rule above all else is to be consistent. One slip up can be seriously costly, and a handful can be fatal. This means every member of staff needs to understand the importance of customer service. Service levels internal to the company is just as important as service to the customers. Train your staff and yourselves people, train!