Thursday, April 3, 2014
Customer Service Up Front Iíve never been the kind of girl who started the day of with a cocktail (Carolina Cup and Kentucky Derby notwithstanding) but when we got bumped to first class on our recent trip, it was hard to say no to a Bloody Mary--a free Bloody Mary. And even though it tasted some kind of awful, there was something about being treated with that extra care and consideration that made it taste that much better. Our first flight was a mere 28 minutes and I didnít even finish before we started our decent. On to the next flight we were so far back in the plane that it was a good thing we had five hours in the air or we would have missed the snack service altogether.
Years ago after racking up enough frequent flyer miles to send us all to the moon, I abruptly left my favorite airline. One the way home from a family vacation with three children under the age of four, strollers, car seats, enough animal crackers to feed a small country, and all the necessities to keep them from causing the kind of collective mayhem that was well within their ability, we ran into a snag trying to board the plane. We had already woken up at the crack of dawn, traveled on a ferry, small island hopper plane, jet to Atlanta, and were looking at two more flights when we ran into trouble and no, it did not end well. (Yes, I know the obvious question isf why we took our three children to the ends of the earth on vacationóbut thatís a different story!) We had no sooner landed than I had booked our next trip using every last frequent flyer mile and to this day have never booked on that airline, and never will. Loyalty runs deep, but customer service trumps everything.
In this age of being able to sit in your pajamas and order anything you need online, itís even tougher for small business owners. Consumers have the ease of point, click, purchase, but for many of us, nothing compares to the warm feeling you get shopping in a place like Front Street. Friendly faces welcoming you into their shops like old friends, providing great service but also happily taking on a role of ambassadors for the Front Street business district and all of Georgetown. They work together, offer support, encourage changes that will benefit everyone and are dedicated to making the shopping experience one that customers will enjoy again and again.
As we wrapped up our trip my thoughts turned to finding a special memento to bring back to the brave woman who cared for our children and dogs while we were gone; just a little something to say thanks and that we appreciated her. But even though it was sunny outside, it was decidedly chilly when I entered a few of the boutiques that had been recommended. I asked about sizes and was told to just look through the pile. None of the other customers seemed to notice the poor service, but many were local and seemed accustomed to it. And when I finally did find something the clerk made a snarky comment about how I must be dreading having to go back to South Carolina, so I decided out loud that Ďon second thought, I think I will be just fine without my purchase today, thank you very muchí. It hit a nerve; I mean, we can make fun of ourselves, but itís frowned upon when it comes from outside the circle. Still needing a gift, the solution was obvious. Without hesitation I made one phone call to my favorite little Front Street boutique and ordered a gift certificate for our friend. A few hours later I received a text with her thanks, and a smiling photo of her wearing her new outfit. She felt the kind of special care and consideration that usually only comes from a free Bloody Mary.
Front Street focus on customer service, one more reason to make it your business to keep it local.