As an American living in Mexico for the last 1.5 years, I have developed a unique perspective on Customer Service and Customer Loyalty.
When I moved here, I was very surprised to learn that returning an unsatisfactory purchase is basically impossible, unless you’ve purchased that thing from one of the major chains such as Costco or Sam’s Club. “Customer Service”, in the traditional sense, is not a thing here.
I live in the beautiful resort town of Puerto Vallarta, where, honestly I just don’t have that many unsatisfactory things going on, but when I do… I just chalk it up to experience and move on. Take for instance the corkscrew I bought which was made of metal too soft to actually open a bottle of wine. I tried to use it, and smooshed the metal, so I tried to take it back because I assumed it must have been a defective one. The owner of the store asked me why I bought a broken corkscrew. Wow really!? Guess which store I have never set foot in again! And you know what’s sad? That tienda is right by my house. She’s lost a LOT of business. I’m a daily shopper. And a lot of that money would have been spent right there. Instead I go out of my way not to patronize her establishment.
So I drank wine with screw tops until my next trip to the States, and then bought a perfectly fine corkscrew for $2.95 at Trader Joe’s. Hasn’t failed me yet. Badabing.
Puerto Vallarta does not have a lot of chain stores; it has a lot of the stores like the one which would not take the corkscrew back. So I have learned to be extra vigilant about the quality of items I purchase, or I obtain them via other means, and when I buy a bad corkscrew, I just don’t even bother trying to return it because I know how it will probably go, and I just don’t go back to that place.
Because we don’t have a lot of chain stores, and I am single, eating out often is not as expensive as you might think. So I eat out a lot. Like, two meals a day a lot. And I do not frequent all that many places, though I have BEEN to a lot of places, because I spend too much money on food and going out to be treated poorly. And that doesn’t mean I expect the royal treatment, it simply means that I expect to be respected. Which, it seems, for some businesses is easier said than done.
Excellent Customer Service garners a high level of Customer Loyalty, the Holy Grail of building a solid business. There are some establishments which understand that concept entirely, and some which do not. Guess where I spend my money at?
It’s so easy to please people. It’s so easy to garner loyalty. Be kind. Be respectful. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Don’t be rude. Do those things, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to see that customer again, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. Don’t do those things though, and you will never see another dime from them. And, the worst part is, they’ll probably tell their friends. And here in this small retirement town, lack of proper service can and will kill a business.
Always remember: In a world of healthy competition and options for where to make purchases, people vote with their feet. Make sure those feet are always walking back through your doors!
Emily Murray is Cascadia’s Customer Experience and Product Quality expert. Feel free to reach out to learn more about her customizable blurb libraries for seller accounts, support with ASIN reinstatements, and product testing to validate for regulatory, safety, and quality concerns.