Local author writes new business book, ‘It’s Hard To Find Good Help These Days’
Editor’s note: Paso Robles local Jeanne “Bean” Murdock penned a new business book, “It’s Hard To Find Good Help These Days” She shares some of her insights here:
By Jeanne “Bean” Murdock
“I’m going out of business… thanks to the economy.” I have heard this comment more in San Luis Obispo County than anywhere else I have lived and more in the last few years than at any other time. Blaming a failing business on the economy is a cop out. Some companies actually boom in a recession. There are many variables that are necessary for having a successful business; customer service, in my opinion, is the keystone.
My newest book, It’s Hard to Find Good Help These Days: A Customer Service Manual for Businesses, is a realistic guide to providing outstanding customer service. Rather than a boring layout of a typical business manual, Good Help provides guidance via entertaining vignettes based on actual experiences I had as a customer. Hop from story to story while you learn what each professional did right and/or wrong.
Good Help is divided into three main chapters: The Successful (excellent customer service), The Room for Improvement (mediocre customer service), and The Going out of Business (horrible customer service).
When I rented a storage unit at a Paso Robles self storage company, I always paid my rent on time, obeyed the rules, and was courteous to the employees and other renters. Nevertheless, the managers treated me poorly. After an instance of being berated by one of the managers, I wrote a letter to the facility owner. The response was an eviction notice. This mal-treatment is a perfect, albeit extreme, example of why companies lose customers and eventually fail.
On the other end of the spectrum are companies like TAPS and Spring St. Mobil in Paso Robles. I found their employees and all great professionals who possess patience and compassion. Whether the customer is talkative, loud, angry, rude, or overly zealous, The successful handle their patrons with grace, equality, and respect. Below is a sample vignette from The Successful chapter.
Speaking with a store owner.
Hi. Can I please have change for a dollar for the parking meter? Sure. No problem. Here you go. Home run. I go outside and put change in the meter and then go back into the store. And guess what happens.
Home run: I went into the closest store to my car to get change for the parking meter. Even though I didn’t care to shop and had little interest in the store, I showed gratitude by going back into the shop to see what the retailer offered. A few minutes later, I walked out with a pair of sandals that I didn’t know I needed. The store owner was smart enough to know that assisting people like me can turn a non-customer into a new customer. You should view everyone as a potential customer and advocate for your business.
There are so many good businesses and professionals who could be even more successful if they would just make simple adjustments to how they serve and address the customer. The alterations are so easy and make a huge difference. Be mindful of what you’re saying and how you’re acting.
If you think that you provide great customer service and that you treat customers well, but your customers complain about how they’re treated, then you need to think, again.
In the fourth and final chapter of Good Help you will encounter the top 10 lamest excuses for not returning a phone call and tips for staying in touch with customers.
I conclude the book by stating that the customer is definitely not always right, but you should make her think that she is.
Jeanne Murdock is a health and fitness satirist and business consultant who lives in Paso Robles, CA. Contact Murdock for more information: 408-203-7643. Visit her website www.jeannemurdock.com for excerpts of It’s Hard to Find Good Help These Days, which is available at bookstores now.