When Big Companies Forget Customer Service, and When Small Business Gets It Right

In the last few weeks, two big companies have disappointed me. One cannot give me what I want, but should, and the other lost my order and delivered it who knows where.

I’m a fan of both of these companies or I wouldn’t buy from them, but I wonder if companies get so large, they lose sight of customer service and it is caring about us, that makes us shop with them. Last week I went into Starbucks, like I do every few weeks to buy my bags of Sumatra. (I just love this coffee!) I have the coffee ground to Turkish style. That means I want it ground to almost a fine powder, so the drip coffee is rich! Some stores can do this and other stores cannot. When I get home, I have to pull out my grinder, and do it all over again. If they cannot grind it properly, fix the machine, or at least tell me, so we’re not wasting both our time.

I bought a few items from Staples two weeks ago, and although online it said the items were delivered, in fact only one item was delivered. The other went to upstate New York and who knows where or why. Instead of seeing this error and immediately shipping my order again, I had to investigate where it went, call them, and wait another 5 days to finally get the delivery.

The reason I’m writing about this is because it’s how we treat our customers that keeps them as customers. Small business owners understand this better, I believe.

small business open sign

I recently decided to try out a new hair salon, Mad One Jacks in Hoboken, one that was recommended by a friend. The experience was wonderful. The hair cutter listened to me talk about my hair, and genuinely understood what I was saying, as well as made suggestions. In addition, I was so impressed by their follow up. On my receipt was the date for my next appointment, in case I had forgotten (and it saved paper by not using an extra card). They emailed me about a week later asking me if I enjoyed the experience and was happy with the cut, and could I write a recommendation. (Yes, I will). The hair cutter also sent me a card in the mail, thanking me for visiting the shop and looked forward to seeing me again soon.

It’s these little things that make someone feel special and at the same time become not just a loyal customer, but an advocate.

What do you think? Is there a small business that you think is doing it right? Please share below.

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