Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Customer Service is Dead

Remember the days you would walk into a store, any store, and a smiling face greeted you in some fashion - "Good Morning." "Good Afternoon." "How are you today?" "How can we help you?" - or some other polite form of salutation? I know there are places out there where store personnel still employ this old fashioned method of customer contact, but they seem few and far between. Take my recent experience for example.

When search for something at our local variety store the other day, you know the one that has everything from groceries to gardening to automotive to clothing, (no not Wal#&*% but that ilk) I looked for a clerk to direct me so I didn't have to spend half an hour running up and down every aisle until the hidden jewel revealed itself. I swear to Goddess that clerks in this store are hired because they have customer radar that pings as we approach so they can run away and hide. "Excuse me, miss, but can you tell me where the (Ping! Ahh Ooo Gahh - customer approaching - DIVE! DIVE) is?" Gone. Dove under the pile of brightly colored, flower print pillows. Another potential sale and customer contact averted.

So that is how it goes at my store. Customer service is dead....or at least it is dying. It's no longer "How can I help you", but "Run away! Run away!" Like a Monty Python movie without the clippity clop of coconuts husks.

Now, mind you, there are stores you go into and the clerks/sales people are on you like stink on Detroit (I kid you Detroiters out there) and that is no doubt the difference between hourly rate employees and commissioned sales people. Some of the latter see you as dollar signs, not human beings. What I want to know is what ever happened to a smile, a nod, an acknowledgement and just a tad bit of help? Something in between an all out blitzkrieg and a French army retreat.

Are all retail employees anti social these days? Is customer service dead? All I want is to feel welcomed, get some occasional help and for someone to be just a little gracious that I have entered their place of business to spend my hard earned money. Treat me like I have feelings and real warm blood pumping through my veins. I'm a human being. We all like to be treated with respect and courtesy.

So, hey retail world, what do you say? Roll back the clock and try to smile the next time a customer approaches.

15 comments:

Coffeypot said...

At our Wal#&*% there is a greeter at the door that will direct you to any departmetn you need. I use them all the time.

Titanium said...

You tell 'em, man!

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Hey! It's not dead where I work!~ I treat every customer like they're the "Secret Shopper." I kid you not. I'm used doing that since I worked at the health food store. Just so you know, customer service is alive and well in some parts of the country!

Brian Miller said...

yeah, i hear you man. its not everywhere but it seems most places these days either dont have the staff to provide it or they hire those that would rather treat you like you are stupid...

Matty said...

It's a shame, but it's everywhere MM. People just go to work for the paycheck and don't care about the people they are there to serve. They don't own the business, so they don't care. As long as they are getting their paycheck, they don't care if you don't come back.

Jana said...

You are so right...talk about the attitude of these people...aren't they there to help? us!

SILVER said...

The attitude of sales personnels are appalling these days. Even if they are there.. i really would rather not ask. I'd rather deal with the cold machines, really.

~Silver

the walking man said...

In Detroit we just stand in the middle of an aisle and yell for what we're looking for and a disembodied voice yells back "Aisle" whatever. Once again, just like with the birth of the middle class and the automobile, Detroit is leading the way to the new reality.

Get used to it old man. hahahahahahaha

Tabor said...

I live in a small town and the retail stores are sometimes too friendly. We have a little old man at the ACE hardware that gets to telling tales and I can never get out of there. I have gotten to the point where I do the DIVE.

Deb said...

I guess it depends but more and more I am seeing very young kids that are very very lazy. Also, the lack of training is incredible these days because no one has the time or money to train these employees properly, so the reason they run and hide is most likely because they're afraid of "not knowing" where to guide you because they haven't got a clue.

For other customer service frustrations that I personally have is that any product like Sony for example, you get a customer service rep that is located in INDIA. WTH??? They cannot speak a lick of English and when you ask to be transferred to another rep...it's another Indian. Mind you, I have nothing against Indians, I just want someone who can understand me and vise/versa, instead of the entire conversation being, "What? What? What...Come again? I didn't get that..."

Meh.

PhilipH said...

Yeah, it can be a problem finding somebody, anybody, who knows what and where things are. I usually avoid asking staff as so often they seem to know less about their store than I do.

However, my biggest gripe has always been the lack of checkout staff! It really annoys me to see queues at each checkout and a stack of un-manned tills. Some stores, like Tesco's, seem better at solving this problem than most but even they get it wrong at times.

Hope you are as well as poss, MM.

C.M. Jackson said...

the key as far as I am concerned is to pay attention to me when I have a question--leave me alone until then--it's a predominantly woman thing--we are after all the hunter and gatherers when it comes to shopping--let us alone and we shall find and then when we do lucky you if you are on commission and paying attention;-) If not --oh well I am checking out without your name on all this stuff...

Unknown Mami said...

I don't work retail, but I've worked customer service for many years and I make a point of greeting people and looking them in the eye. This makes it all the more noticeable when I am on the other side and can't get someone to even look at me.

Enchanted Oak said...

I feel like applauding you, MM. In fact, I AM applauding you. Have you tried sending a letter (email, whatever)to headquarters? I've done that a few times, and boy does it get the assistant managers hopping when HQ tells them to TAKE CARE of my issue. Too bad I have to go to the trouble to get the service.

Marla said...

Preach it, brother!!