In a world filled with instant gratification, Patience is a virtue that is lost in many. Do you want something? It’s only a click away. There is a movie you want to see? Click, it’s streaming in your home. Need to pay a friend back for dinner? Click, the money is sent. Even something a simple as seeing a photo is you guessed it, just a click away. Who remembers shaking polaroids hoping to speed up the developing process to see the photo, or better yet having to wait a week for the film to be developed? While technology is great, remembering the times when you had to wait for things, though frustrating at times, you also remember how great it was when you finally got it.
Fast forward to today. As a society, we are used to everything happening so fast that delays are a major pain. It creates a negative game of telephone (you know the game played as children where one person whispers in someone’s ear and you pass the message around to the last person) it never ends well. It goes like this, a farmer grows a plant needed for an ingredient, but due to let’s say shipping, he is unable to get his product to the ingredient company. The ingredient company is then frustrated because they can’t make the ingredient that is used to make plastic. Then the company that buys the plastic to make bottles is frustrated because they can’t make bottles. Then the manufacturing company is upset because they can’t put their products in bottles. Then the distributors are upset because they can’t fill orders. Then the retailers are upset because they don’t have products to sell. And finally, the customer is upset because, well you know how this ends. Every person in the line from the farmer to the customer is now bothered, and cranky which runs right back up the ladder.
We are all quick to “kill the messenger” when it comes to receiving the information we don’t want to hear, and to make matters worse the person relaying the message rarely has the means to make it better. Nobody likes to tell someone no. In fact, most will do everything in their power to come up with a solution instead. Part of any good customer service is wanting to make people happy. So how do we do that? Let’s look at things our Great-Grandparents did in times of shortages.
- Have a plan. It’s no secret the world is experiencing shortages and delays. Stock up. Heartland has been ramping up purchases and stretching our forecasting further out to help alleviate any backups in the supply chain so that our customers' needs are met. Having “a little extra” on hand for your customers during the holiday and tanning season could make a huge difference.
- Always have a plan B. It’s time to get resourceful. Luckily we don’t have to resort to the things that those during the 1940s like staining legs with tea and then drawing on seems with an eye pencil to create stockings. However, having options is better than not. Have backup products on hand to replace your most popular selling items. Or create a lotion bar where customers can mix lotions containing similar ingredients. This creates a more personal approach to the product a customer buys.
- Be patient. Patient with upset customers, Patient with suppliers, and patient with manufacturers. We are all going through this together. Let your patience spread like wildfire and bring peace to everyone around you. This is the best customer service you can offer.