Think You’re Irreplaceable? Keep Dreaming.

Customer. Service. It’s not that hard. Put the two together, snicker at your ‘service the customer’ joke and then get it done.

Mistakes are not the problem. You are.

  • You are the problem – if you’re the hotel manager that ignores valid, negative criticism. (And yes, you totally should reply to bad reviews.)
  • You are the problem – if you don’t make it right.
  • You are the problem – if you run a restaurant and your SM strategy is bashing the competition, fake Yelp reviews and buying Likes.
  • You are the problem – if you don’t stop, listen and learn from it.

Latest on my “I won’t be going there again” list: alterations service. Nice woman, helpful, good if a little expensive – I’d been going to for years. I’ve referred F&F, been a reliable customer.

What happened:

When picking up one (very pricey) job, I dropped off another quick, easy one. I returned more than a week later to get it and.. she totally forgot. Strike one. She hemmed and hawed, rushed apology.. later today, no maybe tomorrow. Strike Two. When I picked it up the next day, she coupled a mild ‘sorry’ with a grand gesture of $2 off. Strike Three, way outta there.

I can have another you by tomorrow. So don’t you ever for a second get to thinking you’re irreplaceable.”

You tell ’em Beyonce.

I didn’t make a big stink but my body language was clear that I was displeased. I don’t think I’ll be back.

The next time I need something hemmed or tweaked, my fingers will do the walking. Right over my keyboard or flip through some apps on my iToys, find a new place. (BTW Fingers already made a stop at Kudzu, to post a this cautionary tale.)

Not only was a stronger apology in order, I don’t think they should have charged. At all. Even better, why not – to show me they can and will keep doing it right – a 20% off coupon for the next time?

My dry cleaner did that; they fixed their mistake with customer service and that made all the difference. Why? Because they know that they may not get three strikes. They know that paying will cost, but not paying will cost more. They know that I can all too easily bring my business elsewhere.

A hotel, a restaurant, or dry cleaner, so many businesses – they are all very replaceable. What’s irreplaceable? Service that’s good for the Customer.

What should they have done for my time and trouble? What does your business do to do right by your customers?

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5 thoughts on “Think You’re Irreplaceable? Keep Dreaming.

  1. I think we’re soul mates when it comes to this topic. Yeah, she shouldn’t have charged you at all. She should have bent over backwards to win your business — your trust — back.

    This is the problem/opportunity when the business is the person. The business is not some “brand” for which you have low expectations. It a person that you’re looking at, eye-to-eye, and judging. If the business provider doesn’t realize this… good luck.

    Using the same principle, some large companies are able to hit it out of the park. Reminds me of a chicken sandwich place I like. 🙂
    Barrett Rossie recently posted..Social Media Automation: Yea, or Nay?

    1. It’s like a photo negative or polar opposites, THIS vs. being marketing proof. Big brands, chain stores .. they can get another customer like me in a second. And for that matter, if they have what I want/need at a lower price, I’ll go crawling back. But a one-off like this, I was totally shocked she didn’t do more to make up for her mistake. Next time I need something I’ll be shopping around.

      And I know it bites me in the ass all the time too, someone like me is more or less, a dime a dozen. Honestly there’s nothing so revolutionary or proprietary that we’re out here doing. It’s just a matter of smart communications and good business. FWIW. Thanks.

  2. I had this conversation the other day although slightly different tone. My boyfriend was pissed off that people were interviewing other people after they interviewed him. He couldnt believe that they would want to interview anyone beyond him since he thought he was the best. I told him something my dad told me all the time ‘everyone can be replaced – you are not special’. Hard to say – harder to hear!
    Christina Pappas recently posted..One Metric You Shouldn’t Pay Too Much Attention To

    1. We’re not special and that’s a good example Christina. Was just over-delivering in an email to a client when really, what would I get for holding back? It may not be my style or calibre of work, but – even though I work hard to develop a lot of skills, be a catch, a whole package – I can totally be replaced. Know where to look and almost anything, anyone.. can have another you by tomorrow.

      But for biz I don’t get that attitude, not when I can and will go elsewhere. Family member was just telling me how hotel made special offer, service to reward his loyalty – and he’d only been a few times. But it made difference, kept his $ in their coffers. FWIW.

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