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V E D D AT O R I A L

YOU HAD ONE JOB I was sorting through several threads while considering a topic for this month’s column. But a customer service issue in the heat of the fall school-band recruitment rush convinced me to shelve those topics and rant about customer service and its crucial importance now, just in time for the holiday season. I can’t overstate the importance of customer contact as it relates to the shopping experience. The best prices, products and displays can’t save a bad customer experience. Done well, we can keep a service problem from becoming a goodwill destroyer. Anyone who has served the band and orchestra segment of our market knows how hectic the fall can be. School systems fully 44

embroiled in marching band and drumline at the high school are concurrently running the fifthgrade recruitment push. Dealers scramble to assist and fulfill across a region’s worth of events, complete with parent meetings, instrument “get-acquainted” sessions, and the coordination of books, accessories and rentals. It’s busier than Christmas, and it’s also pivotal to a good holiday selling season, as legions of newbies and their parents encounter a music store, often for the first time. So, there’s everything riding on this period, including the school systems’ satisfaction with dealers and the establishment of customer relationships that can last a lifetime, or at least through several kids’ musical experiences.

By Dan Vedda A lot has to be done in a short time, and it can be a logistical nightmare as reps crisscross a multicounty area while stores see lines forming at the counter. Something will go wrong. There will be disappointments. Forget the euphemisms: Something or someone will screw up. So, then what? Business books have long said that effectively solving a customer service problem can often be an opportunity to gain a customer for life. True, but the flip side of that coin is harrowing. Fail the customer service test and you not only lose the customer, you lose anyone that listens to them, including, perhaps, the entire school system if they have enough influence. We all know

that the complainers have louder voices than the ones who praise. The situation I was faced with stemmed from our rental affiliate status. A customer, who was told she’d have a good experience with us because we were the local rental agent, set up an online rental with the provider and designated delivery to the school. She did this in mid-August, needing the horn in time for a Sept. 4 parent-child “get-acquainted” session. On the night of the event: no horn, no accessories. Distraught and angry, she called us to find out how we were going to fix the problem. Here’s where it gets harder. When the customer set up her rental, she specified school delivery, which cut us out of the OCTOBER 2019

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer October 2019, Vol 36 No 10  

In the October issue of the Music & Sound Retailer, learn the latest news about the percussion industry, discover what many retailers and ma...

Music & Sound Retailer October 2019, Vol 36 No 10  

In the October issue of the Music & Sound Retailer, learn the latest news about the percussion industry, discover what many retailers and ma...