Today’s customer is able to exercise his or her right to achieve the most enjoyable and efficient experiences possible. And when they are unhappy, customers have many options for telling their peers. Successful companies know that consistent service is integral to long-term success. A customer is a customer regardless of age, gender, or attire. This Summer, Impact has been very fortunate to employ Tucker Marsano as a content marketing intern. In the following post, Tucker shares a couple personal customer experiences that highlight the importance of consistency in world-class customer service.
I think we are all aware of the common stereotype which portrays all young adults as struggling college students who live the luxurious life of days filled with Student Loans and Mac&Cheese. As a young adult who is pursuing higher education, I must confess that unfortunately this is one of the truer stereotypes that we have seen over the years. And although we may live our lives cramming from mid-term to mid-term, there are over 16 million college students across the country who represent a $100+ billion market.
I am fully aware that there is an unspoken customer hierarchy in which companies value certain customers exclusively more than others. I am also aware that as the average young adult in school, with the discretionary spending power of nearly $13,000, I may be ranked below a number of others on this hierarchy. However, no customer should ever feel as if their service is valued any less than a fellow customer’s.
Upon my return home for the summer, I immediately felt the culture shock of no longer being surrounded by 37,000+ other students. I started to notice the many ways in which college students are viewed in the outside world, especially as customers. While thinking about the customer service that I receive as a young adult, two experiences stood out to me in particular.
The first experience took place when a group of friends and I decided to all go out to dinner to celebrate completing our first year away at school. As soon as we entered through the doors of the restaurant, we could sense that everyone else felt as though we did not belong there. And once we were seated, we began being treated like the college students that everyone knew we were. Throughout the night we had to practically flag down our waitress as she tended to the two tables of adults on either side of us. Now I admit that in most cases, groups of young adults can turn into a waiter’s nightmare… But if I may say so, we were perfectly cordial and a whole lot quieter than the table next to us (that had been drinking all night). I firmly believe that if we had been the only table in the whole restaurant, we would have most likely not noticed anything about the service we received. However, since we could clearly see that our service was valued less than the other customers’, we were all extremely dissatisfied with the treatment we received.
The second experience of struggling customer service took place in a store downtown, which is actually known for its great customer service. I needed to buy a somewhat expensive device, something that is definitely worth the attention of a sales rep, but unfortunately my friend and I had to ask two different sales reps that were each too busy before finding someone who could help us. Once again, I acknowledge that most young people that come into electronics stores simply want to look at the devices and play with them if they can… However, I already knew exactly what I wanted from the store; we simply needed an employee to purchase it. But even once we were speaking with a sales rep, I had to nearly wave my money in the air to prove that I was planning on buying the device. Out of everyone in the store who was there to purchase the same device, I felt as though I was the only one who had to make an effort to get an employee’s attention, and without surprise, I was also the youngest customer in the store.
While I can only speak as someone viewed as a struggling college student, I think that the majority of customer dissatisfaction stems from the frustration of our money being valued any less than another person’s. The stories above are perfect examples of how the supposed customer hierarchy creates a situation in which it is the customer service that is struggling, not the college student.
Key takeaway: The experience customer-facing employees provide to your customer is your brand. To be successful, a company must recognize the value in providing consistent support.