I discovered today that I really don’t like the customer relations part of my job when it comes to dissatisfied customers. For the most part people are easy to get along with if you recognize that there is a problem that needs to be fixed and work on a solution together. Every once in a while you run into a situation where no matter what you suggest to a customer to remedy a problem there appears to be no satisfactory solution. They are set on one and only one solution. They want their money back and all of it, now! Never mind the fact that they have been using it for nearly three months and it is no longer in the condition in which they purchased it.
There is no acceptance of the fact that they, the consumer, have some responsibility in a solution to a problem. If something is broken or needs repair they should at least be willing to bring it in to be diagnosed. As a retailer, we want our customer to be satisfied and have the opportunity to make things right if they are not working out. Our reputation is important, especially in a small town.
The longer we are in business it seems that the public’s expectations have become more and more unrealistic. They want to buy a product and never have a problem with it the entire time they own something. This expectation is especially unrealistic when it comes to automobiles. Even if you buy a new vehicle, things can go wrong, parts can fail especially in the first model year of a new design. There are problems that can and do arise that cause inconvenience and then there are problems that take some time to figure out if it is an intermittent problem.
For the most part, our customers are reasonable and allow us the opportunity to make things right if they go wrong. We go the extra mile and fix things for customers that others don’t or won’t. It is so disheartening to work so hard to do the right thing and not have the opportunity to prove to the customer that we want them to be happy with their purchase.
It’s possible that they have other things going on in their lives that we are unaware of and have become their object of wrath at this point in time. We may never know what is behind the rage and unkind words. It makes you not want to unlock the door for the business in the morning and we wouldn’t if it weren’t for all the wonderful, kind and understanding customers we have dealt with in the past and know are out there in our future.
I think that perhaps I shall seek a new profession, maybe a food critic that is not too critical. What a wonderful way to spend the day going from location to location eating and enjoying the new surroundings. Yesterday, I found such a place in Minneapolis, Minnesota on my way home from the airport. It is an Italian ristorante called Giuseppe’s and it is owned by one of our customers. It a small restaurant with quiet music and seating for about 50. They served a variety basket of homemade bread with my meal of Gnocchi. The entire time I was there I didn’t hear one cell phone conversation or phone ring just the quiet chatter of people visiting as they dined. I enjoyed watching an elderly woman and son dining together. They looked truly interested in what each had to say. They obviously have mastered the art of conversation.