Call 603-234-2612 or 603-219-0060

Customer Connections

your call is very important to usI had an interesting experience recently with a chain store and it got me thinking about big businesses vs small businesses and how customer support makes all the difference. As a customer, I want to be able to call a business directly about their products - particularly if it's a product I'm not familiar with, or if the price is more than a couple hundred bucks. I think that's a reasonable expectation. I called a larger business yesterday and, after waiting through several recorded menu options, I was placed on a call with a CSR. I asked for some shipping quotes, as I was in the process of pricing around. They gave me the quotes and we ended the call. Larger businesses have a call center, and perhaps a general script that they follow to answer basic caller questions. Beyond that, the rep does not offer any further information, because they likely don't have any valuable information to offer: it's not their job to know the products inside and out. After jotting down the shipping info, I called them back, realizing I forgot to ask a question. I got a different rep. I explained that I had just called for shipping quotes but forgot to ask: is this product currently in stock or is it shipped from somewhere else? She told me it was in stock. I hung up, then thought for a minute. I can't purchase this item RIGHT NOW. I was a little embarrassed to have to do it, but I called a third time, to find out if it is ALWAYS in stock or is the product sometimes not available. It probably seems like an odd question, but generally speaking, if they usually have 1,000 of these products in stock and tend to sell 5 a year, then the chances of it being ready to ship when I'm ready to order are great! And I'd been tossing around the idea of purchasing this item as a birthday gift for a friend, so it was necessary to know it would ship in a timely manner. Since I was not ready to buy now, I'd simply like to know I can get quick shipping when I am ready to take the plunge. My third call brought me to the original CSR who gave me shipping quotes. I recognized his name and sheepishly said, "I think we just spoke, I was looking for shipping rates, etc." He did not acknowledge me or the previous call - just stayed silent. I awkwardly apologized for the follow up and explained that I was not ready to buy and just simply wanted to know if you always have these in stock? Generally speaking, this should be easy enough to answer. The CSR's response was this: "I do not have a crystal ball." I told him I wasn’t looking for a magical answer: just simply, is the product always in stock? And frankly, simply answering, “No, it is not always in stock” would have been a kinder, more professional response. He told me a story about how he was looking at a chair in a store, and walked around the store a bit, then came back to the chair and it had been scooped up by someone else. Moral of the story: BUY NOW! No telling what's down the road. This conversation felt "pitchy" to me. I was on their website and could read the details of the product, but I wanted to know a little more beyond that, about the company and how they do business, how they communicate. All he could really tell me was it was "professional grade". He also mentioned that the product had been recently upgraded. Curious, I asked him what specifically had been upgraded? He referred me to the website. I told him I was on the website and there were no mentions of upgrades, could he elaborate? He could not answer that, either. My interaction with this company gave me all I needed to know. The experience made me realize the small businesses who struggle to survive in these times really deserve our support. They care because they actually have a vested interest in their customers because it is directly proportionate to the survival of their business. Small businesses answer the phone directly when you call, and they educate themselves on their products to a degree that their survival depends on it. They TRULY CARE about supplying a great product to their customers, because they personally shoulder the wrath if they don't. We are a small business. I work up at the shop some days and listen to Clark on the phone. He treats every caller that picks up that phone with complete respect. He explains the products in detail if someone has a question; he doesn't just answer yes or no, but creates an atmosphere of trust with his words. He converses, he engages, he even asks the customer questions. And he remembers people when they revisit the shop. He wants you to be happy. That's the thing with small businesses: our happiness depends on your happiness. We wouldn't want it any other way.
Leave your comment