So why in this day and age of proactive outspoken consumers, would a company not listen to their customer?  So many great things can happen when you listen and obey as a business owner (ask Dell who is finally getting it!):  loyalty, happiness which leads to viral marketing and therefore more customers, repeat business, better processes that lead to better time management which saves money…do I need to go on?

I have recently interfaced with 2 companies, one large and one local, that are so into their own existence that they forgot the customer matters.  For example, have you been to a Verizon store lately?  You walk in and speak to someone who punches your name into a computer so everyone in the store knows who you are…the manager and the sales reps don’t care but all of the customers now know who you are (maybe I should have given them Creative Concepts instead of Valorie Luther).  Then in my most recent experience in trying to make some slight admin changes, I got a customer service agent who tried to promise the world but forgot to write it in the account notes, I got a manager whose hands were tied and claimed he needed to fire the cust. svc rep for making undeliverable promises, I then went to another Verizon store who had “better management” where I got help from a woman who bared a little too much skin for the daytime.  Her big claim to fame was that basically the phones were all the same and the only difference was the rebates they get from the companies who produce the phones…are you kidding me??  Would David Pogue agree that all the phones are the same?  Needless to say I still haven’t gotten a new phone, can anyone help me?

Now on a more local note, my daughter signed up for Jazz Tap dance class at D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Centre in Fairfield.  A couple of facts: they make you sign up for a year, my daughter is 6…guess what, she hates Jazz Tap now.  A company that cares about repeat business would understand that it would be hard for a 6 year old to commit to a year of the unknown…a nice local business would understand the dilemma of the parent and give a rebate or refund…not these guys…the only thing said was, “did you read the fine print on the contract?”  NO REBATES!  Wow how lovely….I can only wish them the best because they aren’t going to see me again and I will for sure use the power of viral marketing and tell everyone I know to not go there.  Did I mention they do a big performance at the end of each year that costs $$ for each little precious star?  Did I tell you that they quit teaching the kids new dances so they can practice for months the few steps they have been taught so their parents think they are dancing geniuses?  Did I tell you that a 5 year old, after spending hours waiting for her limited time on stage, was let go into a the lobby only to find hordes of adults where none of them were her parents (much crying ensued as you can imagine)? 

I think that customer service has been left behind or never thought of for many businesses both big and small so maybe top management can think of customer service as a marketing tool to be used to bring in more customers and more money…do you think if “the customer always comes first” is portrayed as “please the customer on all levels and you wil never have to worry about your business profits again” that will get some attention?  Just curious!!