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The Impact "Feelings" Have On Your Brand

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will NEVER forget how you made them feel."

This famous quote by African American poet Maya Angelou came to mind after I recently experienced poor customer service after patronizing a new, locally owned restaurant in my neighborhood. I was excited to give it a try, because I had seen the eye-catching and mouth-watering photos of the dishes posted on social media. I also visited the restaurant’s website ahead of my visit to see which dishes I wanted to try. I was so excited to experience this place until...

I entered the restaurant and did not receive a greeting. Nothing. I was met with silence. It was almost as if I were not even there. I spotted one of the owners of the restaurant huddled in a corner having a deep discussion with two other people. Still no welcome came. I waited patiently to place my order while I eavesdropped on their conversation about the popularity of regional cuisines. I occupied myself by pretending to read the menu even though I already knew what I wanted to order. Just then, I noticed a person I knew standing behind the counter. I said “Hey!” and waved. That person took my order. Finally. Due to COVID restrictions regarding inside dining, I eagerly took my to-go food home. First thing I noticed was that my order was incorrect. I immediately reached out to the person I knew at the restaurant but never received an acknowledgement or a reply. Silence. I made a mental note then and there to NEVER patronize that establishment again. I did not like the EXPERIENCE and I also did not like how I was made to FEEL from the beginning to the end. My disappointment with the customer service I received stuck with me long after the food was consumed.

I want to share this personal experience, because I am a small business owner. I know how important customer service is to the bottom line, and as a business owner, you should never be too busy or too rushed or too distracted to deliver a positive customer service experience. Businesses live and die by the experiences they provide their customers.

According to Gary Vaynerchuk, from The Thank You Economy, it is only wise and logical for businesses to focus on providing stellar customer service. Here is what he said:

“There is proven ROI (Return on Investment) in doing whatever you can to turn your customers into advocates for your brand or business. The way to create advocates is to offer superior customer service.”

When your business provides new and returning customers with a positive experience, they in turn provide your business with positive endorsements through word-of-mouth and online ratings. Don't think it really matters? Think again.

Consider the fact that many people go online to read reviews about businesses before they even decide to patronize that business. Positive interactions with your customers will help to strengthen your brand and potentially increase your sales.

According to HelpScout, over 90 percent of customers who are dissatisfied with their customer service experience simply do not return rather than telling you as a business owner if something is wrong and how you can improve it. An important aspect of a successful business model is to cultivate a positive customer service experience to encourage return customers.

One of my personal mottos is: "I don't HAVE to spend my money at a particular business...I choose to do so." Whenever I have experienced bad customer service due to a variety of reasons, I exercise my freedom to no longer support that business. Period. I have choices. We all have choices. A business can choose to deliver an exceptional customer service experience or a business can choose to deliver a bad customer service experience. The choice is up to the business owner.

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