Friday, December 07, 2007

How May I Help You?

Last night in an effort to fight my case of W.B. I asked the women in my GNO group what types of issues bother them. We discussed air travel, restaurants and the quality or lack of in products. However, what the discussion really boiled down to is poor customer service. Today, with all our technological efforts we have to make life easier we have lost something in the translation. We've lost good, effective customer service.

We find ourselves stunned when someone treats us with respect or gets a task accomplished properly and efficiently. In essence we are impressed when someone in customer service does their job. How sad is that? Tell me, how many of you arrive at an airport already bracing yourselves for the onslaught of crap service? You can put your hands down now. I see it is almost unanimous. I don't mean to be a pessimist here but you know it's true. We already know that these airport/airline workers are underpaid, have had their benefits slashed and they are horribly understaffed and you brace yourself. Lines will be long, no reasons will be given for delays, and customer service in the US airline industry has become almost nil. I read stories like this one in the Post and while I'm shocked and saddened but I'm not really surprised.

We know that when we call a customer service line we will have to wait and most times we will never get to speak to an actual human being. Comedians have constructed whole routines on this topic. We hate it, but we accept it. Why? We grumble and complain about how bad customer service is when we try to return an item, fix a product, or simply dine out but yet we don't really do anything about it in the end. We simply move on and accept it. It has come to the point that when we are treated nicely it is a major event. We tell our friends about it. We call people and share the joyous news! SOMEONE ON THE OTHER END OF THAT 1-800 NUMBER WAS NICE TO ME! My mechanic did his job! The cashier was pleasant! She didn't scowl once!

I realize that a lot of this stems from employees being underpaid but there is a limit. If your job is in customer service or in the service industry you have to remember that. Your job is to you know, actually be pleasant and help people. It's not your job to be unapologetic regarding a wrong order. It is going that extra mile to smile. To do your job properly which doesn't take that much more effort. Sometimes it takes less energy and makes it easier than being unpleasant. At least that is what I garnered all those years I slogged working behind a sandwich/ice cream counter, being a cashier and working in customer service myself.

I think that is why I am continually saddened by how much we take from this sector and how little we expect when we get into these situations. As a nation have we come to expect poor service? If you find yourself being amazed at good service what does that say about our country as a whole? Readers what do you have to say about this issue? I really want to know. I'm beginning to feel that this may be a call to action of it's own. All the recent toy recalls speak to this too. Companies don't care. They are complacent and just want the cash. Service then goes out the window. We may be grumbling to ourselves but we are clearly not being heard and maybe it's time that we speak up and demand better. Either that or I'm just a cranky B with standards that are too high.

More articles about this topic

Comcast Crap

Does it Still Exist?

Another Perspective

Savvy Tips

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:54 AM

    Hi V,
    We completely agree and talk about this subject on a regular basis. I have had horrible service and it constantly amazes me how those that are crappy act like they are doing you some kind of favor by doing the job they get paid for. I wish it would change but I don't know how it ever will. I complain if I get treated like crap and tip well those that do a great job.~Yvonne


Thanks for commenting! It's always good to hear from a reader and not say, a robot.