“You mean, I have to be nice to people?”

From the “how the hell is this a surprise to you” files:

A British company (BDO Stoy Hayward) found that 71% of consumers, on encountering bad service, would go elsewhere.

/gasp
/shock
/fans self

From the article, BDO Stoy Hayward’s Don Williams says:

Retailers should be frightened by the fact 74 per cent of their customers would leave the store if they encountered bad service. In the current environment, this is something that they just cannot afford to ignore.

Pardon me while I boggle a moment.

How is this not… intuitive?  Are there really business owners out there thinking “Well, if I hire snide people, never tidy up the store, and treat my customers like dirt, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE”?

The article suggests that these “hypersensitive buyers” are a product of the current economic environment.  It doesn’t (at least in this article) provide the percentage of people who would have taken their business elsewhere back when things were booming.  I have a hard time imagining that, when people had money to throw around, they were more willing to be abused by salespeople than they are today.

Calling people that expect good service hypersensitive is insulting.  Customer service — excellent customer service — should be one of the highest priorities of any business.

Now, I’ve never worked in retail outside of the bookstore, and customer service is, y’know, A Thing for independent bookstores.  Is this not the case in the wider world of retail?

From Booksmith, I went to work for a publisher with one of the best CS departments in the industry, and, while I moved to a different position within the company nigh on eight years ago, 90% of my current job is still steeped in providing excellent customer service.

So, I dunno, help me wrap my head around this article — how is this news?  Is the rest of the retail world only just now going “Oh, shit, we should probably be nice to the people who shop with us?”  Somehow, I doubt that.  Filler piece?  Fluff?  Things done differently in the UK, as the first commenter suggests?

“Provide excellent customer service” just sounds like “Hey, don’t forget to breathe.”

And if, as a retailer, you need to be reminded of this, darlin’, you’re in the wrong damned business.

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