Treat Customers Kindly - The Alternative Will Not Benefit Anyone
Trust me, it is in your best interests as an employee or business owner to treat customers with respect. It has been suggested that for every poor customer experience, that customer will go and tell 10 people about his experiences... compare that to the 2 people he will tell if he has a good experience, and you can see how poor customer service can negatively impact your business.
Bad Customer Service
It was time for my routine oil change and tire rotation. I took my car to a chain establishment that I have used in the past (we'll call them MM - email me directly if you want the name of the company). The man I spoke with - we'll call him "Mike" - told me my car needed a higher grade of oil. He then proceeded to tell me that my car required extra oil, above what was advertised in their regular price. I have had my car nearly five years and have never been told either of these things, so I was a bit skeptical. I asked how much it would cost (Customer Tip - always ask the price up front before agreeing to any work) and he told me that instead of $21.99 I would have to pay over $85! I have never been charged so much for an oil change so I wasn't about to start now.
I told Mike to just give me the standard oil and I would do some research on my end as to what kind of oil I should be using and perhaps go with the higher end in the future. This is where he went into a high pressure sales pitch on me. I do not respond well to those. Our conversation went something like this:
ME: "Just give me the standard service."
MIKE: "I can do that, but you really should have the high end oil."
ME: "Just give me the standard oil, please."
MIKE: "I would feel better if you would buy the premium oil. I can do either but the premium grade is better."
ME: "Just give me the standard oil."
MIKE: "Okay, but... well... are you SURE you don't want the better oil?"
ME: "No. Just give me the standard. I will check with my dealer and see what they recommend I use in the future."
(This is where things got really strange.)
MIKE: (Turns mean and nasty....) "You don't have to check with your dealer. We can check your owner's book. It will say you need higher end oil and that is what you should buy today."
ME: I don't appreciate your tone. Just give me the standard service. If you don't want to do it, I can leave."
MIKE: "No, no... but I have a question for you. Do you use premium gasoline?"ME: "No." (My dealer told me I didn't have to. I trust my dealer since he deals exclusively with my brand of car.)
MIKE: "Oh, so you are just someone who doesn't take good car of your car. Okay, I see."
At this point I asked for me key back and I left. I do not appreciate being talked to that way. I firmly believe Mike was trying to intimidate me because I was a woman. Additionally, I believe he was inflating the costs in order to improve his bottom line.
The Rest Of The Story - Good Customer Service
Midas. I am giving them free publicity and a free link since they impressed me... it pays to be nice to bloggers! :) Anyway, I stopped in at Midas and asked about their oil change/tire rotation specials. I explained the situation I had just had with "MM" and how I was spoken to. The salesman at Midas pulled some information up on the computer and explained to me that I could use several kinds of oil in my car. While the higher end was better for it, I would not do any damage with the lower grade due to other factors (my car's age, mileage, etc.). He explained the pros and cons so well that I decided to ask the price of the higher end service with high-end oil. Imagine my surprise when he said it was less than $45! Oh, and he also said my car did NOT take extra oil, as Mike had been claiming it would. I went with that service and thanked he salesperson for having great customer service!
I will be back to Midas. I will never step a foot in "MM" again. I have written to "MM's" headquarters to let them know how I was treated by one of their employees. In addition, I am telling anyone who will listen about my shabby treatment at "MM" and my excellent treatment at Midas. I have already had two coworkers say they, too, will be avoiding "MM" for future service and will give Midas a try when it comes time for their next service.
The moral of the story is to be nice to your customers. A bad attitude will get you no where in life. In addition, it might put your job or livelihood at risk.
Readers, what would you have done in my situation? Should I have high tailed it out of "MM" the minute Mike started using the high pressure sales pitch? At what point in the conversation would you have left? Or am I over-reacting? Would you have stayed and trusted Mike's expertise?
Speaking of cars, tune in next Wednesday for an exciting announcement!