Bad customer service? Vote with your feet

Opinion May 28, 2015 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

Ten years ago, the Michelin tire company learned a valuable lesson in how quickly consumers will turn on a company when they are taken for granted.

Michelin arrived at Formula One’s 2005 U.S. Grand Prix with tires that were not up to snuff. That fact wasn’t known to most fans so when the majority of cars peeled off the track rather than head to the starting line, most of the crowd was in shock.

There was no announcement to let the crowd know what was happening. Some people had read the morning newspaper and gleaned many drivers might not race, but most people in the stands didn’t know that.

About 100,000 fans were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that day. I don’t know how many remained after they realized what was going on. My brother-in-law and I left after the first lap, voting with our feet to show our discontent. Tens of thousands of other fans did the same.

Michelin did what any good company would to save its name: they refunded the disgruntled fans who bought tickets for that race and offered to buy 20,000 tickets for fans the next year.

But the damage was done. You can be sure there are still thousands of people who continue to boycott Michelin or Formula One because of that fiasco.

I thought about that day recently when I felt I got shabby service at a store I frequented. It wasn’t the first time the service was sub-standard, but the manager didn’t seem interested in my complaint, so it added to my irritation.

Then it dawned on me: I don’t have to give my money to this store. So I voted with my feet. I won’t be back for a long time, if ever.

Boycotting was taught to me by my father. Electronics store, car dealership, Girl Guide cookies — quite often it only took one wrong for him to say to heck with them.

Sometimes the first straw is the last straw. An employee who seemed bothered by one of the people paying his or her salary could be enough for him to bid farewell to the store forever.

My personal list is growing.

This isn’t a communist country where we line up all afternoon in order to buy toilet paper. There are so many choices these days, consumers don’t need to waste their time or money at a business that doesn’t give them satisfaction.

In this day and age, I don’t understand how a business owner can take any customer for granted. Yes, some customers aren’t worth bending over backwards for, but most just want a little respect of their time and choice to hand you, rather than another store, their hard-earned cash.

If you have clerks who are ignoring customers, or don’t have enough staff on hand to help people willing to give you their money, you probably have customers heading out the door empty-handed. You may not read on social media why those people are now former customers — but if you listen closely you may hear them voting with their feet.

— Gord Bowes is editor of Mountain News.

Bad customer service? Vote with your feet

Opinion May 28, 2015 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

Ten years ago, the Michelin tire company learned a valuable lesson in how quickly consumers will turn on a company when they are taken for granted.

Michelin arrived at Formula One’s 2005 U.S. Grand Prix with tires that were not up to snuff. That fact wasn’t known to most fans so when the majority of cars peeled off the track rather than head to the starting line, most of the crowd was in shock.

There was no announcement to let the crowd know what was happening. Some people had read the morning newspaper and gleaned many drivers might not race, but most people in the stands didn’t know that.

About 100,000 fans were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that day. I don’t know how many remained after they realized what was going on. My brother-in-law and I left after the first lap, voting with our feet to show our discontent. Tens of thousands of other fans did the same.

Michelin did what any good company would to save its name: they refunded the disgruntled fans who bought tickets for that race and offered to buy 20,000 tickets for fans the next year.

But the damage was done. You can be sure there are still thousands of people who continue to boycott Michelin or Formula One because of that fiasco.

I thought about that day recently when I felt I got shabby service at a store I frequented. It wasn’t the first time the service was sub-standard, but the manager didn’t seem interested in my complaint, so it added to my irritation.

Then it dawned on me: I don’t have to give my money to this store. So I voted with my feet. I won’t be back for a long time, if ever.

Boycotting was taught to me by my father. Electronics store, car dealership, Girl Guide cookies — quite often it only took one wrong for him to say to heck with them.

Sometimes the first straw is the last straw. An employee who seemed bothered by one of the people paying his or her salary could be enough for him to bid farewell to the store forever.

My personal list is growing.

This isn’t a communist country where we line up all afternoon in order to buy toilet paper. There are so many choices these days, consumers don’t need to waste their time or money at a business that doesn’t give them satisfaction.

In this day and age, I don’t understand how a business owner can take any customer for granted. Yes, some customers aren’t worth bending over backwards for, but most just want a little respect of their time and choice to hand you, rather than another store, their hard-earned cash.

If you have clerks who are ignoring customers, or don’t have enough staff on hand to help people willing to give you their money, you probably have customers heading out the door empty-handed. You may not read on social media why those people are now former customers — but if you listen closely you may hear them voting with their feet.

— Gord Bowes is editor of Mountain News.

Bad customer service? Vote with your feet

Opinion May 28, 2015 by Gord Bowes Hamilton Mountain News

Ten years ago, the Michelin tire company learned a valuable lesson in how quickly consumers will turn on a company when they are taken for granted.

Michelin arrived at Formula One’s 2005 U.S. Grand Prix with tires that were not up to snuff. That fact wasn’t known to most fans so when the majority of cars peeled off the track rather than head to the starting line, most of the crowd was in shock.

There was no announcement to let the crowd know what was happening. Some people had read the morning newspaper and gleaned many drivers might not race, but most people in the stands didn’t know that.

About 100,000 fans were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that day. I don’t know how many remained after they realized what was going on. My brother-in-law and I left after the first lap, voting with our feet to show our discontent. Tens of thousands of other fans did the same.

Michelin did what any good company would to save its name: they refunded the disgruntled fans who bought tickets for that race and offered to buy 20,000 tickets for fans the next year.

But the damage was done. You can be sure there are still thousands of people who continue to boycott Michelin or Formula One because of that fiasco.

I thought about that day recently when I felt I got shabby service at a store I frequented. It wasn’t the first time the service was sub-standard, but the manager didn’t seem interested in my complaint, so it added to my irritation.

Then it dawned on me: I don’t have to give my money to this store. So I voted with my feet. I won’t be back for a long time, if ever.

Boycotting was taught to me by my father. Electronics store, car dealership, Girl Guide cookies — quite often it only took one wrong for him to say to heck with them.

Sometimes the first straw is the last straw. An employee who seemed bothered by one of the people paying his or her salary could be enough for him to bid farewell to the store forever.

My personal list is growing.

This isn’t a communist country where we line up all afternoon in order to buy toilet paper. There are so many choices these days, consumers don’t need to waste their time or money at a business that doesn’t give them satisfaction.

In this day and age, I don’t understand how a business owner can take any customer for granted. Yes, some customers aren’t worth bending over backwards for, but most just want a little respect of their time and choice to hand you, rather than another store, their hard-earned cash.

If you have clerks who are ignoring customers, or don’t have enough staff on hand to help people willing to give you their money, you probably have customers heading out the door empty-handed. You may not read on social media why those people are now former customers — but if you listen closely you may hear them voting with their feet.

— Gord Bowes is editor of Mountain News.