Bad Customer Service Is Good for Business

Is bad customer service really good for small retail service businesses?

It is definitely an opportunity for doctors, dentists, salons, barbers, cafes and food kiosks, to get ahead of their local competition and win more customers.

Millions of businesses are getting their customers to stand in line on each business day, to wait to be served. Sometimes the wait gets unreasonably long.

Yet, the customers are still coming back in droves. Are they really?

If they are in the past, these businesses cannot be sure their customers will keep coming back in the future.

Consumers will switch if they have compelling reasons. In the last five years, smartphones, social media and review / comparison sites have changed consumers forever.

Walmart & Amazon Proved Customer Will Change

Walmart Discount Stores started in 1962. They delivered a wider range of products at lower prices. Millions of shoppers had drove a few hours to buy cheaper. started in 1994. It became the largest book store by 1997 and now it is the world's largest online retailer. And they are not done yet.

Now, consumers can buy many things online from local or overseas retailers.

In the last year, showrooming was a trendy issue. Customers go into retail shops, check out the merchandise and buy them cheaper online. Retail stores, big or small, had to react to that trend.

The way the customers do their shopping will keep changing in the future.

Changes Impacting Small Service Businesses

A few big changes happened to our communities in the last 5 years. Those changes listed below have serious impact to the small retail service businesses.

Market Changes

  • Wide use of iPhones and Android Smartphones.
  • iPads and Android Tablets are growing fast.
  • Mobile Apps are useful and more categories are added every week.
  • Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, foursquare. No explanation is needed here.
  • Review sites: Yelp, Google+, and the thousands near you
  • Deal-of-the-Day: Groupon, LivingSocial, others

These factors will impact your current and future customers.

Smartphones penetration in the US, have passed 50% at the end of 2012 and Asymco, a well regarded research firm, predicted that it will reach 80% in August 2014 . The smartphone penetration in most advanced international markets are growing at the same pace.

Smartphones are the foundational vehicle that had brought changes to retail businesses. Armed with a capable connected smartphones with a large array of apps, a consumer can easily look for alternatives anytime, anywhere. With the geolocation services, alternatives are pushed to them when they are within a local vicinity … even when they are not searching.

Consumers constantly check review sites to make their buying decisions. Good and bad reviews about your business will happen without your control.

The infographics entitled, "How Smart Devices and Social Media Impact Your Shopping Habits" summarized the research results that consumers' purchase decisions are affected by review sites, search answers and social media posts.

There is an old saying that a happy customer will tell one person and an unhappy customer will tell ten others.

With social media and the review sites, we know that customers can tell many people about the good and bad experiences, very quickly via their handy smartphones.

"Everybody has accepted by now that change is unavoidable. But that still implies that change is like death and taxes – it should be postponed as long as possible and no change would be vastly preferable. But in a period of upheaval, such as the one we are living in, change is the norm. "

– Peter Drucker

Management Challenges for the 21st Century (1999)

Review Sites & Social Media

The review sites and the social media will amplify the good and the bad. That can be a huge marketing opportunity or a bane.

You cannot control the reviews that your customers will write. Some will be fair, some will not be. Your only defense is to deliver a consistent remarkable service. The good reviews will overwhelm the bad.

Today, it is more important to deliver great customer service than ever before in history.

Bad customer service elsewhere is good for your business

Today, most customers will tell you that they have to endure poor customer service on a weekly basis.

This is an opportunity for your business to lift your customer service and enjoy the multiplier effect.

In the past, to operate a salon, we needed to find a good retail location with strong passing foot traffic (convenience), deliver excellent hair styles (quality), and have a nice shop ambience (comfort).

Those are fundamentals of good customer service. In the customers' own words, they had a great customer experience.

Great customer experiences are the magic touches that kept them coming back and got them to tell their friends and families … great service that is convenient and enjoyable. Great Service, Convenience, Comfort.

Is your business delivering those customer experiences?

Great Service

You have to review your core service and make this remarkable. Keep asking your new and loyal repeat customers for their feedback.


Review the ideal clientele you wish to serve. Convenience may be satisfied by:

  • Location of point-of-service
  • Appointment by phone or online
  • Virtual queue management solution to allow customers to wait in comfort


Customer happiness can be found at every touch point in your service chain. Or it can be broken at every point.

To find out for sure, arrange for your staff and yourself as mystery shoppers and visit some of your competitors nearby.

"Low Hanging Fruits" Area to Differentiate

There are areas that are easier to differentiate than others. For your primary service like hair grooming, dental care, and illness mitigation, the customers expectation will be high and getting higher.

There are many other areas that most businesses are not ready to do. The book, " Raving Fans " by Ken Blanchard has many examples.

Get your team together and have a short brainstorming session. Exploring the opportunities before, during and after the service. You will find many opportunities that suit your operations manager, finance manager, your staff and you.

About the Author

SengHee Tan is the CEO at Qender Mobile Queue, a service let small businesses deliver the convenience of "Disneyland's Fast Pass" to their customers.

Source by [lakajira]

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress