I saw him, I did. He’s in that little hut with his face buried in his cell phone. He saw me drive up; I know he did – he looked right at me. I’m now waiting at the gas pump – it’s only 3 feet away from him. I know I need to have patience, but it’s been almost a minute and he hasn’t bothered to even look up from his “most important thing”. You know what? I’ve had enough, I’m leaving. You take my business for granted so I’m taking my business elsewhere.
Am I wrong? Are my expectations too high? Should I have waited 2 minutes for him to put his phone away and come to my car? Or 3 minutes, or more?
There’s a simple fact of business; “The boss doesn’t pay the employees, the customers do.”
The boss simply transfers the money to the employees for the work performed. But if you don’t perform the work promptly, don’t expect the customer to pay you. They’ll pay someone else. Simple.
I will give you 3 reasons why businesses take us for granted – but first this…
Has this happened to you?
You walk into a store and immediately feel like you’re in the Grand Canyon. No one is there to help you. You feel all alone. Then, you see him – a real-life employee, great, but he’s moving fast. Darting like a silverfish bug on the bathroom floor, he gets away down the next aisle or into the rear storeroom. All alone again. So, you wait…
It seems like forever that you’ve been in this store and haven’t been approached by an employee yet. You’re frustrated, at best – angry, at worst. This is what happened to me as I pulled into the gas station the other day. Today’s employees just don’t seem to care about the customer.
Their cell phone is more important. Their non-business conversation with a fellow employee is more important. Their “anything except taking care of the customer” is more important.
You take my business for granted so I’m taking my business elsewhere. That’s it, I’ve had enough of this place. There’s another gas station right across the street. I bet he’ll be happy to take my money. I’ll bet he’ll appreciate the fact that he just got a new customer from his competition. I bet his employees aren’t indifferent to the customer. I’m gonna go find out.
So, I drove across the street to another gas station and I was right. I’m quickly greeted by a young man with a smile who fills my tank with the speed and focus I remember everyone used to have. I thank him, return the smile, and drive away knowing I’ve made the right decision.
Why Our Business is Taken for Granted
- We complain about poor service but continue to return.
- We complain about high prices but continue to return.
- We complain about the worn furnishings but continue to return
Why is this?
Do we not value ourselves enough as a customer to expect the best or at least average service? But what about indifferent service? Why is it acceptable? One reason may be price.
1. Low Price Shoppers
Today’s low-price shoppers hunt for a bargain. With coupon in hand, they brave the long lines and haggled cashiers just to get an extra 15% discount on a product they don’t need in the first place. But, “It’s on sale!”, she says.
Low price shoppers don’t equate value with the price paid. They are willing to accept lowered service because they aren’t interested in service, only price. Once you raise your prices, they’re gone to the next cost cutter store. You’ll never get loyalty from these shoppers. Businesses Take Us For Granted
2. No Competition
Another reason customers accept being taken for granted is because there is lack of competition. When you have a monopoly of product or service there is little incentive to go above and beyond for the customer – and the customers know it. What choice do they have but to accept your subpar offerings or they must go without.
This is most prominent with cellphone or cable TV providers, especially in rural areas. They’re the only game in town so take it or leave it. Businesses Take Us For Granted
3. Right Place, Right Time
Some businesses are lucky. They opened at the right time and offered products that fit what the marketplace needed. They rode the wave of new customer after new customer. As time passed, no money was reinvested in the business and few updates were made. There was no need to gather customer feedback or evaluate performance because a steady stream of people with cash to burn continually entered their doors. They were hot.
Sure, there were plenty of dissatisfied customers, and refunds were made. But it didn’t matter. The lost revenue wasn’t missed because they were hot. Right place, right time businesses seldom appreciate their customers because they had little to do to gain their business. They simply opened their doors and the people came.
Every customer was taken for granted because they were just a source of revenue. They had little need to build relationships because it didn’t seem to matter to them.
After a few years, they cooled down. The business wasn’t the same. Trendy wasn’t as important, and the place started to show its age. Customers, with no loyalty and even less fond service memories, found the next hot business to frequent. I bet now, the owners wish they had treated their customers better.
It Takes So Little
It takes so little to show appreciation to your customers that I wonder why so many businesses fall short of this important task. They don’t ask for much. Just offer a fair price, make shopping convenient for them, treat them with respect, and occasionally, find a way to surprise and delight them with something special that almost every customer will enjoy.