CHRISTINE KOHUT INTERIORS

Lessons about Business Don’t Have to Be Learned the Hard Way

I am not out to throw anyone under the bus, but people should be warned that if you provide bad service to someone, expect them to tell people. If you provide bad service to a decorator with a blog and several social media outlets to voice her grievances, you better watch out.

Let’s just keep it business related for today, shall we?

If you are in ANY kind of business, your customer service skills better be your number one priority. Not #2. Always #1.

#1

I think that some of you want to have your own business because you think you have a great service/skill/merchandise and could make good money. You may not have the skills required to understand, listen, and put the customer first so your business might not be as successful as it could be. And, unfortunately, some of you are completely blind to that fact of your business.

Just BEING in business for many many many years does not make you a GOOD businessperson. Being unable to fully accept where your business is lacking might not completely do you under, but it definitely will prevent you from growing and becoming the booming business you might have originally envisioned. If you have been doing it for 20 years, and you are still running things the same way, then you really HAVEN’T grown, sorry to say. You are just running things the same old way and you’re probably not much better off than you were 20 years ago. I could be wrong, but I’m betting pretty much everyone I know in any business will agree with me, with the exception of one.

Anyway, running your business your way is totally fine if you really believe it works for you (maybe you don’t need to read the rest of this)- but don’t make statements that would lead a potential customer to believe you run it otherwise. If you said you were always inclusive with the client and like to work out ideas and problems together with a flowing dialog, please don’t yell at the customer when they make a valid claim that you are not actually doing it that way. Don’t have an excuse for EVERYTHING that the customer is trying to explain BEFORE actually knowing what the customer is going to really say (as in talking over the customer, interrupting, etc). That only shows you are not only not going to listen, but you are obviously feeling defensive (or guilty?) for not doing things the way your customer believed you would.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but most people would be uncomfortable, upset, and probably angry with being treated that way when they are paying thousands and thousands of their hard earned dollars to this person. This is not a bad cup of coffee the customer is paying for here.

Moving beyond misrepresentation, what about respect of the environment in which you are working?

If you see fit to:

-Eat food and leave the garbage just sitting in a corner of SOMEONE’S HOME

-Bring so much debris from another job to dump in this customer’s dumpster to the point where it’s overflowing and now the garbage is just being dumped all around the dumpster (in the customer’s yard) and only having the dumpster emptied after the homeowner asks you to do so and then do it AGAIN and having the homeowner ask AGAIN to get the trash off site

-Spread your tools, supplies, and debris all over the property so that there is no space left for the homeowner to use safely and leave  it all there for weeks on end, untouched, which then creates a dangerous living environment in SOMEONE’S HOME with sharp objects like power saws, propane tanks with blow torches attached, nails, screws, razors, and the like (again weeks on end, untouched)

-Break things of the homeowner’s and not only NOT tell them what happened, but not apologize for ruining expensive items

-Trash areas that you are not even supposed to be in (like the laundry area-with sawdust, chards of wood, tile, metal bits, and electrical wires filling the washing machine and all over the clean laundry as an example) and make zero effort to clean it up

Well, maybe you should realize that all of the above shows a level of disrespect for your surroundings!

This would be about the same level of respect:

Lastly, what about the process itself?

If you are going to build things, your business would be most productive if you built them in order. Less material would be wasted, less time would be spent and less mistakes would be made, leaving you with more materials, time, and money (duh). Without some real thought, things like this can happen:

Or this:

Or this!

So, take a moment to reflect on your business and decide if your customers’ thoughts, expectations and demands are important enough to you to actually EARN the money that you are expecting for that job you are doing. Think about the fact that they chose you for reasons YOU gave them, and try hard to make those reasons real for the CUSTOMER.

Whatever thoughts, intentions, knowledge, experience, you may have in regards to the job at hand, how it is presented in the customer’s eyes will outweigh ANY words you say. You know the saying. Okay, I’ll say it anyway. Actions speak louder than words. If your actions don’t line up with your words, then those actions speak EVEN LOUDER.

Make your actions BETTER than your words. That is one key to superior customer service. YOU decided to go into a business where customer service is priority #1 and you should never forget that your customers are the #1 key to whatever success you have.

That would be the lesson of the day.

 

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