Friday, August 29, 2008

Is quality service too much to ask for?

As a consumer, I’m frustrated with the lack of customer service I too often encounter in the retail world. For example, I recently set up appointments with some local contractors to get estimates on a new backyard fence. I scheduled the first estimate during my lunch hour, anticipating the contractor and I would have plenty of time to discuss the job before I had to get back to work. I arrived home at 1 p.m. and waited … and waited … and waited. Thirty minutes later, the contractor—who shall remain nameless—knocked on my door. Not only did he fail to apologize for wasting my time, he didn’t acknowledge he was late! I decided I would not be using his company’s services, regardless of how low their bid.

There is a lot of discussion in the glass industry, particularly on the automotive side, about how retailers are stealing business away from their competitors by offering rock-bottom prices. Maybe I’m unusual, but a low price is not the first thing I look for in a service provider. I want prompt, quality service; I want friendly CSRs; I want a company to give me a reason, other than price, to use its products and services.

At Creative Mirror & Shower in Addison, Ill., that reason is the highly qualified staff. “We feel that product knowledge is a massive advantage for us,” explained President Mark Pritikin in an interview for the “Showrooms as sales tools” article in the upcoming October issue of Glass Magazine. “When you come into our stores, you talk with knowledgeable people.”

What reason do you offer customers to frequent your shop? If the answer is price, you might be in trouble. If it’s something more powerful, I’d love to include it in our ongoing “Poker Play” series on how retailers can improve their businesses. Please email me at Help me out: Is quality service really too much to ask for?

—By Jenni Chase, senior editor, retail and auto glass, Glass Magazine


Bob T. said...

I have a problem with most service I receive. I recently had a house built and out of 8 different contractor on the project I only found three of them to be good. None were outstanding. Customer service no longer exist. They all wanted the job and income, none wanted to do a quality job. Just enought to say the job is done, pay me. As a customer who hires someone to do a job I expect the servicemen to be proud of their work. So proud they want to tell others they did the job, must would not. Seems everything is how fast can I do it and how much can I make doing it.

Anonymous said...

It seems many of us are in the same boat. I wonder if today's business owners are just too far removed from this aspect of their business. I just can't beleive a business owner would not be concerned about their reputation in thier local community and those they service. Even Tim Horton's is lacking in the customer service department. I visit the same location each day, same time and typically get waited on by the same person who never speaks or smiles. I use the drive through, and when I arrive to the window she takes my money, gives me my Iced Capp all with no smile or words at all! Even after a few comments I have made...nothing! Customer service is becoming extinct and it is very unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

While I would like to agree with your comments, I just cannot agree with you. As much as I strive to offer more than great customer service, price is the initial reason customers are calling for the most part. I was an installer for many, many years and recently made the leap into store level management in the Belron/Safelite-Diamond organization. I learned that no matter how much quality information a customer is given unless the prices are in the same area, we tend to lose the job. I have a handful of GREAT installers at this branch, and they tend to generate more repetitive business with their quality work than my local competitors with their low price.(sidenote: I used to manage the competitions store before coming to Diamond) While customer service is dedication, I just offer...If you have unreasonable expectations, no amount of customer service will be sufficient to make you totally happy.

mirrman said...

Quality has to be the main reason a contractor is in business. We ourselves have been called in many time to fix problems that other bigger contractors never did correctly. Why, just like you said: my job is done now pay me. We do Glass Shower Doors Enclosures and Mirrors in Chicago. and we don't see too many competitors backing up their work like we do.