This is an archived blog from when I ran Conscious Public Relations Inc. from 2008-2018. Excuse the potential outdated-ness!

Customer service and how it relates to PR: One mistreated client could lead to a loss of a community.

I’m taking a cue from my colleague and friend at a Cue Creative Consulting and blogging about something that PR folks don’t often address – the importance of good customer relations.

In Vancouver, a lot of business folks don’t work out of offices. We have home offices, and we have cafés. And we’re lucky that there are a lot of them in Vancouver. On my street alone I have Roots within walking distance, and then a plethora of choices from 33rd all the way down to 6th Avenue on the north side of Main.

Because there is so much choice and my colleagues, prospects, clients, staff and I have frequented a good share of these coffee shops, the service and ownership are as memorable as the atmosphere, whether or not the place has wi-fi, and the quality of the drinks and food.

Some of these neighbourhood cafes are doing very well, but it only takes one bad service experience to ruin the relationship. Owners might think that it’s just one customer and not a big deal, but you must always stop and think about the network that one customer might have. I am a HUGE fan of supporting locally owned businesses vs. chains, so when I get unpleasant service from a mom and pop shop, it’s hugely disappointing.

It’s why, even when a client leaves and wants to work with another company, I always ask what we could have done better and leave on good terms. If the relationship is sour, that could result in some unwanted bad-mouthing. And as much as I hate gossip, I KNOW it happens on a business level.

Remember that you don’t need media or social media to have bad PR. It starts on the customer and the personal level. Welcome and value your local community, and treat people like people instead of burning bridges.

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