The Demise of Customer Service?

In today’s world, many of us are looking to develop our own online businesses. One of the master keys to success in any business is the repeat customer. If clients feel comfortable and appreciated, they’ll probably return to buy again and again. Providing excellent customer service can be a great way to set yourself apart from the competition – especially now, when so many companies give the impression that the customer is seldom right. 😉

As a consumer, I’ve been horrified by the rudeness that seems to be omnipresent in customer service these days. It’s not just at the chain stores, where often a large proportion of the sales help are high school kids. In fact, I could understand it a little better if it were just the kids. A bit of a pass might be granted to teenagers, who lack the experience and possibly the training to assist customers graciously. But lately, I’m noticing more and more adults, with the title “customer service representative”, that are way beyond impolite. It’s a disturbing trend that appears to be increasing in all types of businesses. When customers call their phone company with simple questions, or patients show up for scheduled appointments with the doctor, don’t they have the right to be treated courteously by the staff? Are business owners unaware that they may be losing customers because of poor, or non-existent, customer service?

We recently had a situation at our house, where we ordered a gift from a large and very popular candy company. There were many gift selections, at varying prices, offered on the company’s website. We chose to have the candy presented with an adorable glass candy dish. The gift arrived well packed, but there was a chunk of glass missing from the lid of the dish. We were disappointed, of course, because a gift definitely loses something in the presentation when right off the bat, there’s a broken part! However, we were mostly concerned that the dish was a potential hazard for the unsuspecting candy lover, who could be cut while trying to satisfy his sweet tooth.

So, we contacted the company and received a reply by email which stated that they were very sorry we received a broken dish but . . . (Are you ready??) . . . we must understand that their responsibility was to provide us with good quality candy, only.

Huh??? They sold us the dish! Their website described it in glowing terms as a beautiful accompaniment to the candy, and we paid extra for the candy with dish combo!

We wrote again and insisted that they ship another dish ASAP, and they did so eventually. The point is, though, how could that first answer ever be written and sent? Who is training these people?

You may have similar tales to tell! It’s important to remember that all of the experiences we’ve had as consumers can become valuable tools to use when formulating our own business policies.

How will you care for your customers? 🙂

For info on great customer service, click here, and also here!


The Demise of Customer Service? — 4 Comments

  1. I used to work in retail when I was younger and the one thing that was always “stressed” was good customer service, you know, “the customer is always right”. Nowadays, you don’t see any of that, and today, you would think there would be even more, now, I know that the customer can’t always be right, but the customer can leave your store, tell everyone he knows, and go to the store down the street, or online and purchase his item. Courtesy seems to be a thing of the past, as does good customer service, unfortunately, it seems to be a sign of the times.


    carolyn s.

  2. The company’s initial response was wrong, very unprofessional!
    Good thing you got another one though

  3. A small thing, but constant and baffling: Companies calling me at home, and asking to speak to (Name of a resident), without bothering to introduce themselves first. I learned when I was FIVE that the person making the call introduces themselves first, unless they’re receiving it at a business, when they should answer the phone with the name of a business. Seriously, what the heck? I’ve started just refusing anyone who doesn’t introduce themselves first.

    From the other side of things- I bet we’ve all had the customers who expect that not only will we do our best to make sure our service is good, we will solve every problem they have ever had- slow postal service, their phone breaking, them forgetting to pay their bills…food service is the WORST for that, because hungry people are not real rational. I was once threatened at knife point when someone got a parking ticket- at a mall food-court job! So let’s remember, when we’re customers, to not be THAT sure we’re right.O_0

  4. I blame alot of it on press #1 English, #2 for Spanish, #3 for billing etc. These phone prompts drive me nuts. Then there is person from the other country that has no ties to the local company here. Half the time they transfer me all over the place till I get someone who can help me.
    Its enough to make me want to scream.

    On the other hand, I was 750 miles out of town when my renter had a problem with the AC. I called the company that I do business with and they took care of it that day. I was so thankful that they were willing to bill me the next week when I got back in town. Some companys do value their customers.

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