Do you have your own “Cheers”?

Do you have your own “Cheers"?

I’m a fan of some of the old sitcoms, and one of my favorites is Cheers, one of NBC’s longest-running series, airing from 1982 to 1993. At the beginning of every program are the lyrics from the show’s theme song, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” I have my own Cheers. It’s a small bistro, close to my home where as soon as I walk in they give me the biggest smile and say, ‘Rich, we are so glad you are joining us this evening!’. Now, for those of you who know me personally, you may be aware that I live in Manhattan where there are close to 10 restaurants on every block. But why do I select one restaurant over another? Is it the food, the service, the prices or the location? It could be a combination of all four. But, if I have my choice, I want to go to places where the sales or customer associates make me feel that they are glad I came. If I’m spending my hard earned money, I would like to feel welcomed, important and that my business is appreciated. Is that too much to ask?

Winter is upon us and when I took out my gloves, scarves and coat, I noticed that my gloves were worn. They were lined with shearling and kept me warm while walking around New York City. So, I went back to the same store where I had bought the original ones two years before, to replace them. Unfortunately, I was pretty much ignored by the well-groomed staff of sales people. When I told them that I had purchased gloves from their store previously no one said, “Oh, thanks for thinking about us again” or for being a loyal customer. Their only comment was they had not yet received their shipment of shearling gloves. Did anyone offer to take my name and give me a call when they came in? Did they display any attitude, other than total indifference? Did they make me feel they were glad that I came? No, no, no!

I couldn’t help but think how this store that so meticulously exhibited their merchandise and had such beautiful display windows, staffed their establishment with the “Indifferent,” people who didn’t seem to care if I ever purchased anything at the time of my visit or if I ever came back at all. Actually, in my opinion, the Indifferent are even worse than those associates who act and think robotically.

The Indifferent sometimes take positions at contact centers too. I can instantly tell by the person’s tone of voice, as soon as he or she picks up the phone, whether or not they really care about helping me. So, why do companies hire the Indifferent? From my perspective, these companies are just throwing away their money.

Companies should take a lesson from “My Cheers.” I’m not a repeat customer because of the food, service, location, or prices, but because their associates are really glad to see me when I arrive. They know me. They know what I do for a living. They know when my sons are coming home for vacation. They know each of these things because they care. And because they care about me as a person, I’m eager to care about them too.

Tell me about your Cheers? How do they make you feel so special?

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About the Author ()

Richard R. Shapiro is Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR) and a leading authority in the area of customer satisfaction and loyalty. For 28 years, Richard has spearheaded the research conducted with thousands of customers from Fortune 100 and 500 companies amassing the ingredients of customer loyalty and what drives repeat business. His first book was The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business and The Endangered Customer: 8 Steps to Guarantee Repeat Business, was released in February, 2016.

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