Customer Disservice

Customer handing over credit card to shop assistant behind a till

When is a potential client not a potential client (apart from when he/she becomes an actual one)?

One of my clients runs a Home Extension Design and Project Management Consultancy and he knows very well that an advertising card put through a door in a favourable location can be kept for months, even years, until the would-be client makes contact because of changed circumstances.  Perhaps they are having a baby and want more space, or hanker after a large modern kitchen/diner, or suddenly require a downstairs room for an elderly parent.  Every card which lands on a doormat represents a possible sale, with the added benefit of recommendations further down the line.

With all that in mind, I was extremely surprised when I visited a shop I’d not been in for a year or so.  I found jeans, a scarf and a pair of small purple earrings.  Perfect.  I took out my loyalty card and the assistant swiped it.  Then she swiped it again.  Then she phoned the shop’s customer service line.  Looking extremely embarrassed, with apologies she advised me that my loyalty card had been discontinued without notice.  She told me that the finance company which handled the card automatically deleted the details of customers who had not used theirs for six months.

Paying with my credit card instead, I mused on the kind of operation which was writing off customers who hadn’t called in for six months.  Particularly in this current economically difficult time for retail outlets, I found it extraordinary.

On the contrary, I have kept notes of my contacts with all potential clients since I started my Virtual PA business more than six years ago.  Any one of them might decide at any time that they would benefit from personal or business administrative support.  I’m certainly not going to tell them they didn’t reply quickly enough!

I hardly felt like a valued customer and you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve not been back…