Terrible service has the same outcome, whether you’re talking PANCAKES or PRINT DESIGN.
After church on Sunday, my family and I decided to go for a bite to eat…..our restaurant of choice shall remain nameless. Let’s just say that it is a sit down restaurant that still considers itself a “fast food” establishment.
After one hour and many failed attempts at reasonable service, we finally finished our meal, paid and left. We left what I would consider a very meager tip….unfortunately one that was well deserved. As I hurriedly walked out with my son to the car, embarrassed about leaving such a paltry tip to our server, I quickly realized that I should not be ashamed by our gesture of discontent.
This restaurant earned every penny….and we’re talking PENNIES….of that tip. Customer service has been lost on today’s society.
And, the more I thought about it, I also realized that terrible service is the same whether you’re talking PANCAKES or PRINT DESIGN. It’s just as important in the design industry as it is in the food service industry….any industry for that matter.
Here are a few similarities based on my less than positive breakfast experience…
It Takes a Team to Deliver Good Customer Service
While we fully believe that our negative restaurant experience was due completely to the actions of our less-than-enthusiastic server, it really does take an entire team to deliver great customer service.
We watched for 10-15 minutes as our food sat in the kitchen window and our server talked on his phone. The timely, hard work of the kitchen staff was being wasted by the slow, careless actions of our server. This example also translates well to our industry.
A designer can spend countless hours perfecting an emotionally-charged, eye-catching design. However, if the product is not relayed to the client in a timely manner, whether through poor communication, printing/programming issues or untimely scheduling, that “perfect” design quickly loses its luster. A design is only as successful as it is functional. And, a design that gets to your client after an agreed upon deadline, no matter how beautiful, is a failure.
Late work is as disappointing to your clients as cold pancakes to a hungry 5 year-old.
Trust is an Important Part of Good Customer Service
As you put the care of your rumbling stomach in the hands of a restaurant, so do our clients put the care of their program in the hands of a design/marketing agency. If you don’t trust them to take care of your needs/requests, you are much less likely to give them your business.
This is why services like Yelp, OpenTable, TripAdvisor and local restaurant reviews are so popular. People want to know if they can trust a certain restaurant to satisfy their needs, and they rely on other customer experiences to help them decide.
The same goes for our industry. Testimonials and referrals are physical proof of good customer service and a professional product. They help to reassure the client that a particular agency can be trusted with their business.
One bad review for a restaurant, communicated appropriately, can deter tons of business. So too, a bad client experience communicated across an industry can single-handedly kill any service business.
So, bad client relations/service can harm your business just like one sleepy, disinterested server can deter future restaurant customers.
They Lost Our Business
On this cool Sunday morning, we made a decision to not frequent this particular restaurant for a period of time. Unfortunately, we had also had a fairly recent bad experience with this restaurant previously.
They lost our business.
So, whether you are a server at a restaurant or a large agency owner, you are responsible in some part for good customer service. Whether its PANCAKES or PRINT DESIGN, don’t let your actions lead to unhappy customers or loss of business.