The Signal Tribune newspaper

Thoughts from the Publisher

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 Neena Strichart/Publisher

Neena Strichart/Publisher

Many of us have had less than acceptable experiences at the hands of a merchant’s or restaurant’s careless staff member, dealt with bad customer service or encountered some sort of unsatisfactory situation when we were on the paying end of the bill. In some cases we are quick to complain, however, other times we just seethe quietly and vow to ourselves to never do business with those “so-and-sos” again. Negative circumstances can call for negative reports, but I wonder what happens when we as consumers have a positive experience. Are we just as rapid with happy reportings as we are with their negative counterparts?
I recently had the opportunity to discuss the above matter with a local business-owning gal pal of mine that I will refer to here as “Cindy.” I call her Cindy because that’s her name. During a rather intense conversation, we discussed the above matter at length. In her business, as in mine, we both receive contact from customers when things go wrong. In our case, folks call us if they don’t receive the newspaper on Fridays in a timely manner, or if it is rubber-banded too tightly. Some publishers might find those types of complaints a pain-in-the-neck. I, on the other hand, feel that those types of negative comments are a positive for us. Why a positive? As far as I am concerned, if a reader of ours cares enough to call about a mishap with a delivery, then he or she is a loyal reader who finds value in our publication. Now I call that a real positive.
Cindy said that she too receives negative comments once in a while about their customer service, but that it is usually from a new client rather than a long-time patron. Pondering that, she and I came to the conclusion that our ongoing customers may not want to hurt our feelings by telling us when things go wrong. Well, I am here speaking for both Cindy and myself— please tell us if something we are doing in our businesses is not to your liking. We can’t fix it if you don’t tell us.
On another note, please also tell us when things go right. Did one of our employees help you out with customer service that went beyond that employee’s job description? Did we under-promise and over-deliver with the quality of our products? Did we surprise you with the timeliness of our service?
The message Cindy and I want to leave you with is to remember to also say “thank you” to those who are directly serving you. And if you want to do something extra special, ask to speak to that person’s direct supervisor. Asking to speak to the boss may scare the heck out of the employee, as he or she may assume that you are going to complain. How surprised will they all be when your comments are to give praise for a job well done! And, for that matter, leaving a nice tip further encourages that positive behavior. If a tip isn’t appropriate, drop off a small gift or sweet treat as a tasty reward.

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Thoughts from the Publisher