Hello, it is Matthew here today for a change and while Millie is going to be working on our social media strategy and will be back soon to tell you all about it, I’m going to concentrate on our Cheese Mall Marketing Mix in today’s blog post.
Having experienced really bad customer service recently when in a clothes shop, it reminded me of the importance of ‘People’ in our Marketing Mix. By people, I don’t mean the people we sell to, they are our customers. By people, I mean our staff. Our staff are a very important part of our marketing. Our staff can be important ambassadors for our Cheese Mall as if they tell their family and friends that they enjoy working here, that they appreciate the quality of the food, that they find the atmosphere to be conducive to a happy and healthy working environment, as that information will spread via positive word of mouth.
Apparently customers will tell many more friends and family members if they encounter a negative shopping experience than if they are treated well and feel appreciated. I have also heard that even if customers are treated poorly after receiving good treatment, that they are more likely not to notice or to forgive which really emphasises the point that first impressions count.
As I mentioned above, I was in a clothes shop recently and was waiting for pay for the T-shirts I had chosen. Not only did the staff ignore me as they chatted away but one even uttered a swear word as she was telling her friend about her night out. It was almost like I was interrupting them instead of they treating me as though I (and hundreds of other customers) are the reason they have their jobs.
I may not be telling the readers of this blog the name of this clothes shop but I did tell my friends and family and then I realised I was doing exactly what the research discovered: I was telling lots of people about the bad customer service I’d received. If the customer service had been okay or even good, would I have mentioned it? Probably not. Perhaps I should be concentrating on the shops where the customer service is wonderful and spreading positive news instead of negative.
I started to think about our own customer service. I don’t want any of our staff to have an ‘off day’ and treat customers badly. I don’t even want them to treat customers in a standard polite yet slightly disinterested way. I want them to go out of their way and treat each customer as though he or she is the most important customer we have, I want each customer to feel appreciated, I want them to know we value their business and that we wish them to return. We have addressed this in our staff training, we are conscious that our treatment of our staff affects how they will treat customers in turn and we are advocates of Feargal Quinn’s ‘boomerang principle‘ meaning that if we treat people well they will return again and again.
I know Millie has mentioned this before. However, having received such poor customer service and realising how it made me react, I am all the more determined to ensure it doesn’t happen at The Cheese Mall. There is no point in us spending time and money on marketing if our customer service is lacking. Word of mouth marketing (both online and offline) are so important and influential that we must put more training in place in order to prevent any negativity.
We did raise this issue in our business plan. However, as we have believed our customer service to be so good particularly as staff are so relieved to have jobs in a recession, perhaps we need to revisit our Marketing Mix to ensure problems don’t arise.
Have you encountered poor customer service recently? Did you tell people about it? If you have your own business, do you feel you put enough time and money into training your staff?