Shopping in Bermuda. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
04/09/2010 | Continuing with our series on Customer Service in Bermuda, it never ceases to amaze me how some local businesses manage customer service.
I was in a local store recently and just as it was my turn to pay, the floor manager, who had been working the cash register at the time, walked from behind the counter while a cashier came and took his place. This really wasn’t a problem, as the exchange only took about one minute. However, neither the manager nor the cashier acknowledged me. No-one said ‘good morning’ or offered any greeting whatsoever. It was pretty deplorable that they couldn’t even manage a quick hello, not to mention a quick explanation. It wouldn’t have been difficult for one of them to take the time to say, “thank you for waiting, we are changing shifts at this time which should only take a moment. Have a great day and thank you for shopping with us.”
My guess is that they both saw me standing there with cash in hand and concluded that they were getting my business. What they should have taken into consideration is that I may never visit that store again. My experience was less than positive and as a result I was not a satisfied customer.
By definition, Customer service is the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase (www.wikipedia.org). That is, the provision of service to consumers prior to them entering your establishment, the experience they have while shopping in your store and of course how you deliver after sales service.
While customer service is provider-defined rather than customer-defined, customer satisfaction must always be defined by the customer.
The sum of all of these experiences should equal to a satisfied customer, and customers are satisfied when their expectations, not yours, are met or exceeded.
Believe it or not, under Bermuda law, customer service is optional. Actually this isn’t too hard to believe if you shop regularly in Bermuda. When it comes to customer service here there are the good, the bad and the ugly.
The ugly being those stores that have opted out of the customer service business and are not concerned about customer satisfaction at all. There are stores in Bermuda that actually have rude salespeople. How many times have we heard “I just work here”?
Here’s the thing: were still in a recession and given all that we know about the challenges faced by our local retailers – and given all that we know about the poor level of customer service in Bermuda – why should consumers tolerate rude sales people?
For retailers it’s about the survival of the fittest. Get it right. Hire quality staff and treat them well. Get to know your customers and call them by name. Be friendly, pleasant and sincere. Everyone in your store should have good product knowledge. Most importantly, build a good relationship with your customers. They will be loyal to you as a result.
Thankfully, there are local retailers who understand that good customer service is no longer enough. It has to be superior, WOW, unexpected service. In a nutshell, it means doing what you say you will, when you say you will, how you say you will, at the price you promised-plus a little extra tossed in to say "I appreciate your business."
Businesses that go the extra mile and provide exceptional service will retain their customers. These customers will tell their friends and family about their experience which in turn will generate more business. Remember, if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.
For more consumer savvy information, visit the Consumer Affairs website at www.ca.gov.bm.
Honey Adams is the education officer for the office of Consumer Affairs, within the Ministry of Culture and Social Rehabilitation’s Department of Human Affairs.