No, I’m not talking about politics (although I could). Not talking about the weather, either. I’m talking about the ongoing issues I have with customer service, or lack thereof. Unfortunately, Like most people, we have to make a purchase, of some sort, each and every day. This gives me the opportunity, or misfortune, to experience customer service at its best and worst. I’m not even going to go into online shopping or over-the-phone customer service.
Just so I’m not perceived as some overindulgent, gotta-have-it-my-way prima dona, let me differentiate the good customer service from the bad customer service, from my perspective, in a few different scenarios:
1. You need help locating an item in the store:
Good customer service – Establishing eye contact with me, “Sure we have those. If you go to aisle #2, they’ll be on the right-hand side, next to the crackers.” Or even better yet, they actually take me to the item.
Poor customer service – While not even glancing in my direction, “Yeah, there by the crackers.” or even worse, “I don’t know. That’s not my department. Go to that department and you should see someone over there. Ask them.”
2. At the checkout, an item doesn’t ring up the right amount, and you state that to the cashier:
Good customer service – “Ok. Give me one second to verify the price you’re stating. It’ll only take a minute.” They, then, either call someone to verify the sale price or they, themselves, go check the price.
Poor customer service – “Sorry, ma’am. That’s the price that’s coming up. I can’t override the computer. Do you want it or not?” or “I can call a manager, but it’s gonna take a while for them to get here. Do you want to wait?”
3. You call a company to ask for clarification. For example, you need to know how many gigs of memory an advertised pc has:
Good customer service – “Please hold on one minute while I find that out for you.” and they actually come back to the phone quickly with the information.
Poor customer service – “Please hold while I find that out for you.” and they take so long you hang up. Or, they transfer you to another department and they either take forever to answer, if they answer, or they never come back to the phone.
I’ve been in customer service, in some form or fashion, for over 30 years. Customers are not always the easiest to deal with. I do not, and never have, believed “the customer is always right.” So, I don’t expect to have my way each time. The biggest gripe I have is that too many employees (one is too many for me) carry on with an attitude like they don’t care if a customer walks in the store or not, because they don’t want to be bothered. Well, that clearly is poor customer service, in my opinion. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some level of sincere gratitude even when passing a customer on your way out of the door, after clocking out, or going on break. No ass-kissing, just be pleasant.
After a really bad experience with an employee the other day, I looked online for an article on customer service. It didn’t surprise me, one bit, that the very 1st article was one on customer dissatisfaction. “Frustration runs high – Sixty-four percent of respondents said that during the previous 12 months they had left a store because service was poor, and 67 percent had hung up on customer service without having had their problem addressed.” ConsumerReports.org
I posted on Google Plus, the other day, after this latest incident of poor customer service, that it would be nice to go back to the old days when you were greeted by name, or even just greeted. Most of us work hard for our money that we’re about to spend, so how about making it a little easier and more comfortable for us to spend it here?!
My final point is, in my opinion, customer service boils down to the individual giving it, and their overall personality. We all have good and bad days. True. My stance is, if you’re having that bad of a day, and you have to deal with customers, you really need to find a way to lighten up your mood. Don’t bring issues with you to work and certainly do not display your bad disposition to your customers.
I know it’s not easy, and believe me, being a single mother of two very active kids (football, basketball, cheerleading, etc) and working two jobs, i know it is NOT easy… but a MUST! My customers were not easy either. I was an Account Manager with over 1100 fast food restaurant Managers for clients. You can figure out the rest.
Call me naive or a dreamer, but I truly believe in “each one, teach one”. If you know someone who can use some uplifting words, a babysitter just to get a break, or any other form of reaching out, please do so. We’ve become a society of crabby, disrespectful and isolated people. The worst part is, the kids are learning from us… good and bad.