With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, it’s a great time to think about internal and external customer service.

My husband makes fun of my customer service expectations. All too often I feel that customer service is getting pushed by the wayside, especially in the “service” industry. Spending almost 10 years in retail management, I learned a great deal about what to expect vs. what is realistic. I do not feel it is too much to ask to be greeted when I walk in a store or restaurant. A simple hello and a smile will do. I do not need to be handed a basket, shopping cart, or asked an open ended question to assist me with shopping. My point is, in my opinion, my expectations are pretty low. Studies have shown that a simple acknowledgment deters theft. So, forgive me if I’m wrong, but when I make it all the way to the back of the store and numerous employees pass me and avoid eye contact, I feel a bit aggravated. What if I were walking in to steal something??? Of course, I would never do that, but still, WHAT IF?

On the other hand, I am not hesitant to inform the manager on duty of a job well done, ESPECIALLY in a restaurant setting. Managers LOVE to hear when their staff does a great job. I’m a firm believer that everyone should have an opportunity to work in both a restaurant and retail setting, at least once in their life. It will give you an entirely new appreciation for a job well done! If you keep your eyes open for someone going above and beyond, chances are, you will find one!

So, how do you handle a situation where you’re paying for a service that you are not satisfied with? Have you given the business owner an opportunity to make it right? Perhaps they simply aren’t aware of the scenario. I think it is only fair to allow the business owner an opportunity to correct what might be upsetting you. Instead of taking a passive aggressive stance, try to pose the situation as though if it would help the business grow.

As a business owner, think about how important customer service is. Think back to a time where you had a horrid experience, or a WONDERFUL experience. How did it make you feel about that business? How many people did you tell of your terrible experience? Great customer service is not overrated. It is imperative to a successful business.

Is your business struggling? Do you have the right people in place? Are they happy in their current position? Have you asked them? Customer Service is both an internal and external aspect of running a successful business. If your employees aren’t happy, chances are, your customers won’t be either.