I should wear a label when I shop - a full disclosure kind of thing. It should read, "I will critically evaluate your customer service because that's part of my job so be nice to me." Actually, I don't want extra special treatment, I just want, like all customers, to be treated like I matter.
That didn't happen in one shop I went into just before Christmas. And, honestly, this little shop-keeper is probably not in the position to pretend like customers are invisible.
This is one of those shops full of the cute but useless stuff. The shopkeeper has a really good eye for products so I like to go in and see what's new. I went in that day to see what she had in for Christmas. It matters that it was sunny that day and they were exposed to the sun through their front glass windows and door.
LITERALLY, as I went to grab the bar of the clear glass door and push it in, she was rushing the CLEAR GLASS door from the other side to push it out. She got there first and pushed it open, headed out with it and proceeded to prop it open to let air in the store. At some point during that maneuver, I managed to actually get through the door myself and into the store. It was so strange, it was as if I was COMPLETELY invisible. There was no, "Oh, excuse me" or "Hi" or any other acknowledgement that I was in the same county at all. She just rushed out while I was trying to enter. Even when I got IN the store, her husband - standing behind the counter - never said a word. But the very next person who walked in about 15 seconds later got a "Hello! How are you?!" My thought was, "They must matter and I must not today".
Honestly, I was so distracted by the little experience that I sort of lost my desire to shop and left after doing a quick sweep of the store.
What if you treated every customer like they were going to be hyper-critical of their experience with you? What if every customer who walked in the door could potentially be a "secret shopper" who would be evaluating your business. Think of it sort of like the restaurant owner who should assume that everyone who comes to dine is a food-critic who will be writing a review for a local paper. Customer service is what could set this little store in the expensive place apart from, say, the Pier One half a block away.
If you want to survive, you've got to treat every customer like they matter - because they do!