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What is expected and what needs to change

Recently while in Central Europe, I pondered why all of the teenagers seem to smoke cigarettes? In fact, if they are to fit in, then they are expected to smoke.

It continues to fascinate me – even after living there and doing business throughout the region since 1995. Yes, even with all that, I am still fascinated by this cultural phenomenon.

Then upon returning to the states, I read about yet another “fee” the airlines were beginning to charge so that they could claim they offered low fares, only to offset the claim with adding on upwards of 50% additional in hidden fees and charges when the passenger arrives.

I opened my Sprint bill to see that the $89.95 “coverage plan” was really 105.00 after all the cr_ p they add on. No transparency there!

Finally, my call to the bank left me on hold for 38 minutes. I had a simple question but was advised that:

  1. I could go to www. bla bla bla (I just needed to clarify something with a real person)
  1. On the other hand, I could accept my fate and yes! “Continue to hold because my business is very important to them!!!!!” Oh yea, they did apologize for the delay – so that made me feel much better!

As I sat on hold, I reflected on my curious fascination over Czech teenagers smoking cigarettes and then realized the connection with lousy service here in The United States!

And here it is

Just as people in other countries are expected to smoke cigarettes as a rite of passage, we American consumers are expected to receive and tolerate terrible, abusive lousy service. Just as cigarettes will eventually kill scores of people in other countrys, the stress in dealing with large corporate conglomerates may eventually do the same to the American consumer.

Yes, it has become very clear that many businesses seem to almost compete on:

  1. Who can offer the worst customer service?
  2. Who can be the most deliberately misleading
  3. Who can come up with the most ways” to hit you in the pocketbook?”

As you may realize, new laws recently passed to make credit card statements more transparent. The law clearly stipulates that all new credit card statements must be easy to understand and yes, transparent. I laughed when recent ads began rolling out from Bank America, boasting, “They were dedicated to transparency”. Really? Why did it take them so long? (Please refer to comment #2.)

The bottom line is that on the most part, American consumers and small businesses put up with this. They accept it as the norm and we are expected to conform to it.

But here is the golden nugget:

Businesses that are well organized with a clear mission to customer service are in an ideal position to wrestle away a large conglomerates clientele. With a promise of good customer service, quality products and transparency that is real, they can, and will win over the masses!

Even better, once the word is out, the happy and delighted customers will do a lot of the advertising for you. Yes, it is true; offering exceptional customer service that demonstrates true appreciation to the customer should become the “expected norm.” In addition, we consumers and business owners alike have a responsibility to embrace it and expect it!

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