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The Customer Isn't Always Right

We are all customers at some point in the week; we go from the grocery store to the coffee shop, to the gas station to the clothes store. Some are owned by large corporations, while others are locally owned. We visit each with certain expectations of price point, selection and service. When these aren't met, the customer often becomes annoyed because, as recent articles pointed out, 'Consumers are in a bad mood'.

Many customers are making tough decisions about what they can afford because prices for food and other basics have climbed. Inflation has moderated, but a bigger chunk of paychecks is needed to cover immediate needs.

– InvestorPlace, November 17, 2023

As we can't take our complaints to the corporate CEOs, are we venting to and about our local business owner instead? The answer is a 'yes,' based on ongoing social media activity.

Small business owners aren't perfect, but one thing they all have in common as they open their doors every morning is a desire to serve each customer to the best of their ability.

Covid is behind them, but current challenges around inflation, climate change, scarcity of certain products, and difficulty hiring the right staff are all too real. On top of all that, at the end of the day, they are also dealing with the high cost of living, trying to help their children navigate a new and complicated world and the need to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy.

Business owners have come to accept that disgruntled customers will take their grievances to social media no matter how hard they try. According to recent statistics, the onslaught of criticism directed at local businesses is increasing, but what is getting worse is the lack of kindness and empathy.

Some people also like to pile on, seeing nothing wrong with starting their post with 'I've heard …………' and then begin posting gossip or speculation. This leads to even more disinformation and profound stress for the business person.

I hope this article makes you think before you post something that adds to the anger directed at a local business or the owner. Remember, too; it is the local storefront that gladly contributes to your charity when asked; they put up your event posters with a smile, remember your favourite coffee, will try to order that special something you couldn't find in the big box store, and they take action when a local family needs help. They stand beside you at the Santa Claus parade; their children may go to the same school as your children; they are your neighbours.

Supporting local businesses is more than buying their products or services. It is about not spreading rumours, understanding that mistakes will be made and getting past them, dropping them off a coffee or flowers, thanking them online for their service or contribution to the community or even better yet, quietly forgiving an unintentional mistake. If you feel an issue needs to be dealt with, go to the business's Facebook page and message them.

As we enter the festive season of wine, shortbread and reflection, I hope you find time to set your goals and also consider how you will interact with others in 2024.

Happy Holidays!

Written By Jill Crossland: Jill Crossland is a Business & Marketing Consultant with over twenty years of business experience. She is the owner of Jill Crossland Consulting & editor of Entrepreneurial-Life Magazine. From business strategizing to marketing plans and social media, Jill knows how to put the pieces in place for her

clients. | 403 901 6147


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