On Thursday March 16th, The Darien Depot hosted Maud Purcell along with four officers from the Darien Police Department and a Federal Investigator from the FBI in New Haven, to discuss the importance of Safety in the workplace. The event was held at David Harvey Jewelers and open to the public. Please see additional pictures from the event below, along with an informative article that Maud distributed as part of her presentation.
Good Customer Service is at the Heart of Running a Successful Business
By Maud Purcell
Are you an entrepreneur? If so you’re probably aware that under current economic conditions consumers are spending their money very carefully. That said, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that great customer care is especially critical now, if you’re to beat the competition. Fortunately, many entrepreneurs get this reality.
As a matter of fact I was recently reminded of what separates the “wheat from the chaff” in business. While dressing for work one morning I took a just dry-cleaned jacket out of its plastic bag and then remembered that the hem had previously come undone. I inspected the jacket only to find that without being asked, my dry cleaner had apparently repaired it. I stopped by the cleaners on my way to work to say “thank you” and to offer payment for this unsolicited service. They refused to take my money and were grateful that I had noticed their efforts.
Previously I’d considered switching to a more geographically-convenient cleaner, but based on this series of events I decided that my tried and true cleaner had earned my loyalty.
Even today, however, there are business owners who are foolish and short-sighted enough to forget how to treat their clients; their stories are as old as time. They are so busy trying to make a buck that they forget anything they ever knew about good business practices. What they don’t realize is that when their clients find a better situation (and they will), these misguided entrepreneurs will be left scratching their heads, wondering why business has dried up.
Many of my clients are successful business owners, large and small. Here’s what I’ve learned from those entrepreneurs, who know how to survive, even in the toughest economy:
The client is almost never wrong: Except in very rare instances, when something goes wrong with your product or service, it’s your responsibility to make it right. The client isn’t interested in hearing why doing so is too difficult or too costly for you; this isn’t their problem.
Observe your “contract” with the client: Whether written or implied, your contract, plain and simple, is to provide the services you’ve advertised. This is your responsibility, and the right thing to do.
When you breach the “contract” make restitution: Entrepreneurs (like other humans) make mistakes. In most cases it isn’t so much about the error as it is about how we, as business owners, handle it. When you’ve provided deficient goods or services the smart entrepreneur sincerely apologies, without excuses or defensiveness. Secondly, the business person makes restitution however possible, e.g. giving a refund, redoing the job for free, or replacing the damaged goods. Not doing so is tantamount to stealing money not owed you.
Think long not short-term: When your clients know you’ve gone the extra mile for them they’ll remain loyal. If, on the other hand, you skimp on your product or service to save a buck, you’ll likely lose the customer altogether.
Deliver service with a smile: Although it’s hard to quantify the value of a smile and a never-condescending attitude, such efforts will keep your customers happy and you in business!
In short, entrepreneurs beware: You can choose to not own up to your responsibilities to clients, thinking all-the-while that you’re “getting one over on them”. Or you can do the right thing and treat your clients with respect, even when it costs money to do so. The formula for doing this is simply stated in The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like them to treat you. Let this simple maxim be your guide and your business is far more likely to succeed, even in tough economic times.