It's nice to get feedback on these articles. It was particularly encouraging to hear first-hand the response to last week's article about Inspire Health & Fitness Centre.
Much of the feedback I do get is generally about how people were not aware of the detail when it comes to local businesses – so it is pretty satisfying to know that collective knowledge is increasing by highlighting the business community, particularly those which have a great culture and great people working in them.
This week I want to highlight how staff, particularly the good ones, can make all the difference.
A couple of weeks back my microphone stand (a key tool for anyone in a music/band environment) broke due to a single part failing. Now, I am certainly no Mick Jagger on stage and despite being told "Russell you need to get out from behind the mic", I quickly decided that repair or replacement was the best option.
The always helpful Craig at Gatshack looked for a replacement part, but to no avail and while replacement of the stand was an option I decided to see if I could find a part myself – and, although a "long shot", I went to a "big box" store.
As you would expect, the sheer volume of stock they have there meant that I approached this challenge with hope but more realistically thought it was a "needle in haystack" project.
At first, the experience got off to a good start after I was expertly directed to where I needed to go by a very friendly and knowledgeable "greeter". However, on arrival at the aisle I was directed to, I spent an uncomfortable period standing in eyesight of two staff who saw me but did not acknowledge me.
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Remember how as a kid we had "socials" and from time to time available "partners" would look but not engage? That is how that feels. I realise that tools are exciting for some males but I was close enough to hear them debating the merits of different brands, and couldn't see a customer who might have benefited from their discussion.
Anyhow, the experience got exponentially better when I decided to leave staff "A" and "B" and went and found staff person "C" who no longer was in the department that I required but remembered where a similar part was stored.
He also looked at the failed part and said "you need one of these [insert exact type and dimensions]". Hey presto, I had the new part, problem solved, and microphone stand is good as new.
The other thing I will say here is that staff person "C" was in the Generation X/Boomer category while "A" and "B", being younger, probably had less experience of what good customer service is.
I would have been happy with a "hey we are busy, but you can see someone else" but the solution to my requirement, and the knowledge and service I received in the end, made up for any initial disappointment.
And a shoutout again to the lady who greeted me on arrival, it is a very good approach for such a large operation and, clearly, she is the right person for the job.
There are other examples where I have been impressed by good and attentive service, too many to mention here, but how your staff treat your customers will determine future business success. And your customers will remember the good and the bad and make future decisions based on the perception they develop.