Are You Considerate Of Your Customers?

By Sharon Worsley

During Thanksgiving weekend Monday I was awaiting a ride from a friend to go a party and enjoy a turkey dinner outside a large shopping mall located in Toronto, close to where my friend lived. He was picking me up as I don’t have a car and instead I took the subway to the shopping mall to meet him.

While awaiting his arrival I noticed lots of people walking to the doors of the mall only to find that the mall was closed because it was a statutory holiday. Due to a bylaw in the city of Toronto, unless the mall is located in a tourist attraction area it cannot open for business. There are other exceptions to the bylaw but a mall is definitely part of this ruling.

However, many people in the city are not aware of this bylaw as was evidenced on this day by how many people were attempting to enter as I was standing near the doors.

During the 15-20 minutes waiting for my ride I must have told at least 40 people that were approaching the doors that the mall was closed due to the statutory holiday. I helped people locate the cinema entrance and a couple of restaurants that were open because they had access to their own location without having to go through the mall, and met the conditions of exceptions of the city bylaw.

There was no notification on the doors to indicate the mall was closed due to the holiday. They didn’t even mention what restaurants and the name brand cinema that were open despite the mall being closed.

Just imagine how many more people had already tried to enter before I got there and would be arriving after I left because they were not aware of the closure. Definitely, it is up to the individual to check before they leave home, but many were probably not even aware of this long-standing bylaw to even think to check.

What would it have taken for the mall management to have put up signs on the doors to advise customers that they were closed on that day? As well, a reminder several days before to notify potential customers that the mall would be closed on Monday would have been helpful. If I recall correctly there are at least 4 entrances located around the mall, each with 3-4 doors, so it would not have taken much work to enable this to happen.

Not only would it be a courtesy to the arriving customers that the mall was closed but that the listed establishments were still open and accessible from the outside. Also, consider the restaurants and cinema owners who might lose potential business that day as customers parked at one end of the mall to find doors closed and presumed that these businesses were also closed.

To put up some sort of sign for that day or a reminder of the upcoming closure would not have taken much work, but it does take a degree of consideration of the customer experience.

Contrast this to a dinner I had recently in a small chain restaurant where while I was eating my meal the managing director for that particular franchise location came over to check on how I was enjoying my dinner, asking if there was there anything I needed, or any feedback I could give.

I have been in just a few restaurants in my life where a member of management comes over to the table to check on the customers, as usually that is left to the server. But in this case, this is the second time I have been in this restaurant were one of the management team have stopped by my table.

What does it really take for this managing director to spend some time with the customers getting feedback and being visible to the customers? Sometimes it is the small things like this that make all the difference in your experience with an organization, and who you choose to do business with.

The last situation I would like to share is regarding a post from someone I know who runs a radio show. Last night at about 9:30pm this person put out an urgent call on Facebook for a guest for their show this morning from 11:30am to 12pm. It seems that the scheduled guest had to pull out so the host was urgently seeking a replacement.

I responded advising that I would be able to make myself available, as I had been on a number of radio and podcast shows in the past. I even included some articles I had written just to give a flavour of what I could bring to the audience. There were many more people who offered to help out for this live radio show. I continued to check Facebook for an update until about 11pm when I went to bed.

The following morning I checked Facebook just in case this person had decided to have me be a guest on the show, so I could prepare my day. By then there were over 50 comments from people either offering to help or recommending someone. The person who made the request said that she would let everyone know in a few minutes who the guest would be. Over one hour later (under 90 minutes before the show was due to go to air), the announcement was finally made.

I get that the host wants to make sure that they have the right guest on for their audience demographic, however, I was disappointed for everyone who offered to help at how long it took, and probably how many people were waiting around on a Saturday morning to find out if they would need to adjust their schedules to help her out in a bind.

While this is technically not a customer experience like the ones I have shared above, it can remind leaders and business owners how important their reputation is and how fragile it can become due to their actions or inactions in dealing with people.

Points to Ponder:

– Consider the experiences you create (or don’t create) for your customer/client.
– Have you ever arranged for a mystery shopper/s to give you feedback on how they were treated by you, your staff or your business in any way?
– What is it potentially costing you in lost business by not up-levelling your customer service to ‘customer excellence’ – a higher standard of dealing with your customers/clients?

Sharon Worsley, The Business Development Ninja™ is the creator of the R7 System™ to Flood Your Business With Clients Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, helping businesses to ‘Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up’. She also consults and coaches peak performers to excel as leaders. To learn more, contact Sharon at info@sharonworsley.com

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