Day of the Customer

Last Saturday it was ‘Dag van de klant‘ again in Belgium, literally translated that means ‘Day of the customer’. This day is an initiative from Unizo (Organization for the Self-Employed and SMEs) and is a yearly recurring event and this year was the 20th edition. On this day, the small business thank their customers for their loyalty. Most of the time, that means you’ll get some chocolates, a rose, … when you buy stuff at the shop that day.

So what happened? On Saturday I went to the car-wash and received some car refresher (like a sample) when I paid. And on Monday I got some free chocolates thrown at me while visiting my bank to pick up my new Visa card. And that’s indeed the experience. Did I feel like being thanked for my loyalty Not really, I even had to ask why I got it in the first place. It was just that day where shops offer you a little gift, when you visit them… because it’s that day of the year again.

I think Unizo needs the rethink their concept as I get the feeling it’s a ‘little’ worn out. I can see how this idea made sense many years ago, but today it looks like many businesses are just part of this because that’s what everyone else does…. I remember how Lou Carbone said during his presentation at MIX07: “You cannot NOT have an experience”, and it’s clear that just organizing something called ‘Day of the Customer’ doesn’t make that customer experience a good one just like that.

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1 Comment

  1. Bart says:

    “Day of the Customer” is soooo Belgian. For that one day they’ll treat you right, the rest of the year they piss you off. Seriously, Belgium doesn’t know what customer service is. Take grocery stores, you spend most of your budget with them but don’t get any service in return. Their employees don’t look at you, don’t even say goodbye. Even worse, while you’re still packing they start serving the next customer. Banks suck too, they run away with your money, charge for everything and setup self-banks which close at 23h. Public transportation is the worst of the worst, if you ask them to drop you off at a certain point they forget to tell you or just ignore you. And never, but never o never I received any apologies (or a little compensation, let’s say a free coffee) for train delays. And if you complain they’ll answer with “hey, take the car” instead of listening to your complaints.

    If you’ve been to the States you know what customer service is. I’ve been to a coffee shop in Seattle and tried to pay with a $100 bill. They didn’t accept the bill and I got the coffee and cookie for free. Even better, they offered me a free refill!

    A few days later in a ski area (very known for bad service in Europe) we went to a snackbar and our starter came together with the main dish (so a bit too late). We didn’t complain, they just didn’t charge the starter!

    In grocery stores you get a smile and they even pack your stuff for you!! I can go on with examples like this and if American friends (and even Mexican) visit Belgium they always complain about customer service. I think they’re just right and even on “Day of the Customer” they won’t see the difference…

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