Joe Ryder, Director of Sales at Village Print & Media, is kicking off the New Year with his own series, “Ryder’s Real Deal”, where he’ll be delivering real sales advice for the real New Yorker. Now, no more chitchat— let’s have Joe get to it.

“Experiencing great customer service is as likely as finding water in the Nevada desert: it’s out there, but the chances of coming across it are slim.

This statement may seem bold, but it’s the truth. From large monopolies to small businesses, companies will thrive or die out based on the quality of their customers’ experiences.

As we approach our 45 year mark in business, Village Print & Media’s growth, success, and ability to sustain itself in one of the most competitive cities in the world all boils down to the quality of our customer service that is provided by every single one of our employees, including myself. How is this so? It’s simple—by reminding employees that every minute detail of their performance counts.

To clear this up, let’s use a simple example: shoe shopping.

Scenario 1: Imagine yourself walking into a department store, or even a small boutique. After rummaging around for a bit, it should be clear that you’re interested in a pair of shoes. Yet, not one employee has approached you to inquire about your shoe size. Instead, the employees are either keeping to themselves near the counter or gossiping. Now, I know what you’re thinking—this scenario is all too familiar, and most of the time you end up buying a pair of shoes even if it took way too much time to grab their attention to make your purchase. But how did you feel after leaving the store? My guess is that you were frustrated, annoyed, and thinking you won’t be returning.

Scenario 2: Let’s change up the scenario a bit. Again, imagine yourself walking into a shoe store, of any sort, and begin to look for a potential purchase. Within minutes, an employee approaches you to inquire about what kind of shoes you’re interested in, if you have any specifications, and makes a suggestion or two based off of your one-minute conversation. In a perfect world, he or she might even be nice enough to let you know ahead of time if there are certain sizes available for the specific shoes he or she is recommending before getting your hopes up on a specific pair. With great ease, you make a selection, make your purchase, and walk away thinking, “I cannot wait for my next pay check so I can go back and buy more shoes from ‘that’ store.”

The difference between scenarios 1 and 2 is not the purchase you walked away with, but whether or not you will ever be walking back into that store to purchase more products in the future. Your customer or client is paying you for your service, more so than your product. If you don’t provide the service they desire, then they won’t be returning, regardless of the product you have to offer. It’s that simple.

The next time you meet with a client or customer, think of it this way: there is no boss or higher figure in your company paying you. Your customers and clients are the ones who are paying you, allowing you to pay your bills, provide for your family, and live the lifestyle that you do.”

Stay tuned for the next installment of Ryder’s Real Deal: The Bad Client Edition.