Current Issue
Published on February 14, 2000

Don't dehumanize your business

Everywhere I go, I find that more and more businesses are dehumanizing service. Businesses large and small are trying to train us to accept mediocre service. These days, the No. 1 goal of many so-called customer service providers seems to involve getting rid of the customer as fast as possible—while providing as little actual service as they can get by with.

Sadly, many people employed in sales positions today get paid the same amount regardless of whether customers buy or not—or how much or how little effort is expended to meet buyer expectations.

Even worse, current efforts are under way to conduct business totally without such human interaction.

We are rapidly moving from a high-tech, low-touch business environment to one of no-caring, high-tech and no-touch, where every transaction will be totally devoid of human contact.

However, it is important to note that this trend is not mandatory.

Everyone in business has the option of being wildly successful by simply ignoring such behavior and providing customers with real service, delivered by human beings.

Nothing can replace caring.

Remember, customers are people too and they want to be treated like valued and important persons.

Here is how you can swim upstream against the current trend toward dehumanization in sales and service—and make a ton of money in your business as a result:

1) Decide that for you and your house you will serve people.

Make a commitment to building your business based on the same old-fashioned values your father and grandfather used to build customer relationships in days gone by.

Get to know your customers personally and professionally. Cater to everyone's need to feel valued and important. Cater also to their individuality;

2) Insist that customers come first—every time.

Dehumanizing service means that employee activity and busy work often take the place of giving customers the 100-percent attention they deserve.

Insist that when each customer enters your door or telephones your store, he or she is given prompt and personal attention by employees.

3) Sell the second sale.

In today's dehumanized business environment, all too many businesses focus on the immediate sale. Don't go there!

Train your employees to provide the personal service and pampering that customers will remember.

You want them to view your business as a preference—not a choice—for their next purchase.

As a business owner or manager, focus your preaching, teaching and nagging on the need for establishing long-term relationships and creating customers for life.

Mr. Wilson is a business consultant and certified professional speaker in Noblesville, Ind.

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