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Don’t imitate Google if you want to grow your business

This isn't a rant against Google. Really, it isn't. But it is an interesting customer service lesson for small businesses, taken from large businesses. Most people who are in business can see first hand the value of good customer service. For small businesses, especially those in hospitality, this is particularly true. In the hospitality business, good customer service can lead to good reviews on TripAdvisor or other services. It can also lead to instant gratification when you see the smiles on the faces of your guests/customers, hear the sincerity in their voices when they thank you for the time they've spent at your establishment, and promise to return. The results of bad customer service are often just as obvious. On more than one innkeeper forum we regularly see innkeepers complain about the behavior of their guests. Sometimes they have good reason, but usually it is just because the guest's schedule or priorities don't match those of the innkeeper. Some of those innkeepers will tell how they responded. Others will share their own similar experiences, and tell how they fought back against the guest's schedule/requirements/preferences Still others will simply offer advice on how to resist the guest's request. We realize that some of these stories are just that - fictionalized versions. It is important to remember, though, that this advice is being offered to others on how to deal with a perceived problem. Some will take it as advice they should follow. [pullquote]Every interaction is a customer service interaction.[/pullquote] Sometimes innkeepers seem to have forgotten that every interaction with a guest is a customer service interaction. If you've ever had to deal with Google about a problem, you've seen some of the worst examples of customer service, ever. Local search expert Mike Blumenthal recently described what he called not only Google's…