I woke up to the news this morning about RBS Group letting its customers down when it had a technical failure last night and customers couldn’t use their debit cards. In fact, it’s currently being featured on the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 whilst I type this, so it’s obviously “news”. Evidently they put the news of the technical problem on Twitter, not on their website. Really???? My mum for one doesn’t use Twitter. And Twitter is not where I first think of to go to if my card fails, and I certainly don’t follow NatWest, despite being a customer.
Last Saturday, I’d spent a day shopping with Charlie (age 6) so was quite exhausted at the end of it. On the way home, rather than facing Tesco’s, I dropped into Aldi. I dragged a moaning, tired, grouchy six year old round and paid for my three boxes of cereal, a chicken and a bunch of bananas. I asked for a plastic bag. “Yes” he said “they’re under the conveyor belt and they cost 3p”. I’d already paid for my groceries. There was a long queue behind me. I really wasn’t going to upset all of them by getting a bag, paying and packing. And so I balanced everything in my arms, took Charlie by the other hand, and walked out.
A few weeks ago the kids and I went to Morrison’s. (No, I really don’t spend my entire life in supermarkets!). We got one of those mini trollies and picked up a few things, probably about 9 items. I went to the self service checkout. For the first three items, it complained every time I scanned the item and put it on the bagging area tray. Three times the lady had to come over and reset it. At the fourth item, I gave up and loaded everything back into the trolley and went back round to the manned till in the next lane. I put our items onto the conveyor belt….to be stopped by the checkout lady who said “Sorry, madam, this is a basket only aisle, and you have a trolley.” “But I’ve only got 9 items” says I. “Doesn’t matter, you’ve got a trolley….”.
And so – the kids and I stood at the end of the checkout lane, in full view of the assistant, I might add. Sam got a basket. We loaded the items from trolley into the basket. Sam then wheeled the trolley round to the post checkout end of the lane. I unloaded the basket onto the conveyor belt, paid, and reloaded them….into the waiting trolley. Go figure.
And I have two or three other stories in that vein but as they relate to BT and British Gas, I could get on a rant and we’d here a while, so I’ll stop there.
What’s the world coming to?
Where’s the human interaction? The nice-ness? The “give an inch, and you’ll get a mile” attitude?
Well, in the small business world of course.
As small business owners we look to the corporate giants to see how they run so we can emulate them and grow.
I say that THEY should emulate us.
Never have I seen a small business owner turn into a jobs-worth, too frightened to make a decision to make a customer happy, or just make their day a lot more pleasant.
Never have I seen a small business owner have a total reliance on computer systems so that when the system fails (as they invariable do) they can’t personally help their customer. Nor do they rely on social media; they actually speak to people. Fancy that! A real person speaking to another real person! ;o)
Never have I seen a small business owner be so inflexible that they lose a customer for life.
So, be proud of who you are and what you do as a small business owner. Do things your way, the way it feels right, the way your customer actually wants. Yes, study the big businesses, but study what they do wrong too – so you can do it right, and sooooo much better.
Above all, do what you love and it’ll show!
Do let me know below what experiences you’ve had, and lets make this world a better place!
Dedicated to your success,