I think the relationship between service providers and those who buy the service is very much based on mutual respect, good communication and customer service skills. They say that when 1 person has a negative experience he/she tells another 25 people. When something positive happens that 1 person will only tell his/her experience to just 6 people.
The other day I went to the tennis club in my neighbourhood. I was so decided to buy a membership, it would have been just a matter of minutes: make a tour of the facilities, ask a few questions, and fill out the form and pay. Then do some grocery shopping. But when I get to the club, I open the door, straight in front of me there’s this lady at the Information desk who was on the phone at the moment. I look at her waiting to be acknowledged and invited to wait a few minutes until she finishes the conversation. She didn’t even look at me, continued to talk on the phone like I wasn’t there. Next to her, a guy who obviously was working there, probably a trainer, was lying down on a sofa, watching tv, but didn’t bother to ask me what I wanted. I waited for a few minutes and then I left. I was so pissed off and bought the groceries with my blood pressure up, mumbling while I was walking through the aisles.
Finally I said I have to go back to the club and tell her a few words. This time the lady looked at me, in good disposition and with a big smile on her face. I said very calm that I wanted to buy a membership. BUT I’m not going to buy anything from them because she was rude and had poor customer service skills. If she treated me like this, what could I expect from the other people working there at the club? (the guy who was lying on the sofa serves as a proof).
She started to apologize that she was on the phone and she couldn’t multitask. Ha! Sweetie, I’m required to work on 3 projects at the same time and you can’t talk on the phone and look at the person who’s in front of you???
In the end, instead of trying to make it up to me, she just said OK with a lousy attitude. Then I left and I thought about if the manager of the club knows what kind of person sits at the front desk, supposingly making people feel welcome. These people don’t realize that they are representing the company, they are the first person a customer comes in contact with. And the point is that if you are a service provider and you own a company you are supposed to be good at these things, otherwise you lose your business.
I’m planning to start a series about the work and business relationships in general; as an agent you have to make sure you’re not losing the people who are making money for you. And if you are a consultant, you have to build a good reputation so that people respect you and agents offer you jobs one after another.
And as a heads-up, to start on the right foot, here’s a website I find useful for tips on how to cultivate good business relationships.