The problem with giving your customers the brush-off isn’t that they might be a little huffy with you.
The problem is, you make them feel unimportant. And that’s like the death knell to your future relationship and profits.
Here’s a tale of two waiters…”There’s a half hour wait for food. Sit here.”
Um… okay. “What about drinks?”
“Well, of course you can have a drink. Have a seat.”
I sit and wait and choose my tea and my smoothie. And wait. And wait… 10 minutes go by, and although I’m practically throwing cutlery at the waitress, she studiously ignores me.
In fact, she’s a world champion at it. I’ve never seen anybody put more effort into ignoring a customer. Or, potential customer, because at that point my final tea-deprived nerve frayed and I stomped out.
Only to experience similar treatment in another restaurant at Birmingham Airport.
Unusual, because BHX is usually pretty good.
Contrast that with the experience I had when I arrived, hungry and fed up, in my Irish hotel and sat down in the restaurant…
“Hello Vicky, lovely to see you! Wait — why hasn’t someone given you a vegetarian menu?”
Zaka runs off and returns a moment later with the veggie menu for me.
I’m at Cork International Hotel in Cork (funnily enough) for my quarterly mastermind meeting. It’s always at this hotel, and it always feels kinda like coming home.
Not just because I’ve been here so many times now that it’s familiar…
But because they know me. They remember me. They remember my favourite drink (which is quite a feat because that changes depending on my mood) and they remember I’m vegetarian.
Well, I say they — I mean Zaka: The Best Waiter In The World.
And that little story I’ve just told you is a mini-masterclass in how to make sure your customers and clients never, ever leave you.
Zaka isn’t “just a waiter”. He’s made a career out of it. He has a young family. He’s in his mid-20s I’d guess. And he’s not just waiting tables at a hotel until something better comes along. Or at least, if he is, you’d never know it in a million years.
He does his job like it’s the most important thing in the world. Like we’re the most important thing in the world.
He makes us feel special and he makes us feel important. You cannot EVER underestimate how valuable that is.
Even though this group comes back to this hotel every three months, they never take that for granted. Never assume your customers are just going to carry on choosing you — if you make them feel unimportant, even for a moment, you’ll lose them.
People forgive mistakes, we make mistakes, we’re only human — but when you make them feel like you couldn’t be bothered, or an afterthought, or something more important was going on? And there’s no apology and no attempt to make it right, just excuses? That’s when you lose them.
All that marketing and all that easy profit you can make if you put your effort in the right places? That’s all worthless if your service and your product isn’t as good as it can possibly be.
If your service and your product are as good as you can possibly make them, you’re halfway there.
Ready to start putting the rest of your marketing effort in the right place?
Vicky Fraser is a copywriter, author, and entrepreneur. She really did run away with the circus… but when she’s not swinging from a trapeze, she’s showing other copywriters and small business owners how to work with better clients, make more money, and stop missing bathtimes, first words, and dinners with angry partners. In fact, she wrote the book on it. Get your copy here.
PS I might be an emotional wreck over the next couple of days. I’m about to be hauled over the coals and held to account for what I’ve been doing (and not doing) in my business over the past 3 months. So I’m storing it all up to throw at my Superheroes and get them to lay themselves bare, too. The March newsletter is going to be brutal — but profitable. If they do it. It goes to print on March 1: