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Customer Service, What it means to You

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I recently took a customer service class and was told of all the things that make them; friendly people, eager to help, etc. But I don't get that were I live. People at the grocery stores do not smile. They talk to their coworkers about stuff. Sometimes I do get "How is your day?" I don't get how can I help you? Or what can I get for you? The other day I went to get some money from western union at a local grocery store. The employee never smiled. Look like she wanted to be some place else. When there was no money, she told me so in a tone that said, do not bother me.
At Kmart, I have to look all over the store for someone to help me with something. The little red boxes that were put on the beams don't help. When I did find someone they were to busy. I complained, saying that I am a customer. you are supposed to help me. In the past, or in some other stores, the sales people are walking around and asking if I need anything. I don't get that anymore. I did complain to the manager, and he apologize. I see commercials about how stores are great customer service. But it is not true. Or they hire people with no experience and they don't train them properly. About the only place were I got good service was at the hotels. People that work for the state are worse.
post #2 of 21
I'm pretty lucky where I live. Most of the employees at the stores we frequent are very nice. (Although I do have problems with the ones at KMart and the pizza place at the mall.) My favorite place to shop is Albertsons, the grocery store just down the street from me. We go so often that the employees know us by name. Also, their turnover is so low that most of them have known Adam his whole life, and he's almost 2 and half. I usually do make a point to complain though when my service is bad. I've found the managers really want to know when improvements need to be made. I guess I'm just lucky where I live...

post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
One of the things my class told me is when you work at places were people call, you can't put them on hold until the customer says something and then four 30 seconds. They should tell that to the pizza places. When I call to order, before I get a chance to say anything, the employee just goes , Pizza Hut, please hold. And they leave. One time I waited for almost two minutes. I hung up and tried again. Got the same response. so finally, I got in my car, drove to the pizza place, and complained to the manager. He gave me a free pizza.
post #4 of 21
I bet I'd really be aware of customer service problems if I had taken a class. I was an English major and technical writer for years before I quit working. For a while, I couldn't even drive down the highway without editing billboards! I may overlook some customer service issues because I'm usually hauling my kids around and they take a lot of my attention. I definately agree about the pizza places! I also hate calling places and getting an automated greeting telling me to hold for someone to take my order (Mr Jims Pizza does that here). Really aggravating. Another thing that drives me nuts is when a creditor calls about a bill (we're still behind since my husband's unemployment), and when you answer, they tell you to wait for a customer service person. Not a chance. If they initiate the call, there's no way I'm going to hold!

post #5 of 21
There definitley something to be said for good customer service. Just recently over here, Telstra (our main telephone company) introduce automated directory assistance. so now when you call up to ask for the number of xyz business, you have to talk to a machine. That i can handle, but when i ask for the number of, say, pizza hut and i get 'jimmy's nuts' (eg and this is a fairly similar example, sometimes there's no similarity at all that i can pick) it's very frustrating!! Especially given that i speak very clearly!
post #6 of 21
You get what you pay for.

No not you motley lot posting here...so don't get insulted. I mean the business you patronize.

When businesses treat their employees like trash offer no benefits and few chances for promotion and especially.....especially when these businesses refuse to pay a living wage you get this: a warm body filling a space for a certain preordained amount of time. You get resentment, worry, and copious quanties of bad attitude. Basically the job the warm body is holding can easily be replaced. There is no incentive for these warm bodies to be polite, caring, customer focused warm bodies.

We as customers of course get the really awful service.

I always, as a strict rule, evalute the possibility that the cashier, clerk, phone representative, or fast food worker I'm dealing with may be seriously, horribly underpaid by a corporation that refers to them - these living, feeling, warm, some cat keeping, people as 'units' or 'resource' or some other truly depersonalizing phrase. I realize that many of the people filling these postions come from housholds that live below the poverty threshhold - some may be homeless.

I shape my behavior to accommodate the golden rule. I give a kind of inverted customer service. I smile and say "thank you" and "please" and "may I" and "how are you today?" and I always tip atleast 20% even though 15% is acceptable.

Its hard to step away from ones socioeconomic status and see a just another person, but I always get back what I give out. Usually in spades.
post #7 of 21
I absolutely agree. It is incredible that I used to live on $4.25 an hour and it is terrible to think if I had had a child or didn't have my parents helping out. Granted, I was in college but it is amazing what some people get paid. Dealing with people constantly is a hard job. I believe customer service is ultimately going to be the way businesses are made and broken. I always remember where I have had good service these days and I try to write letters when I have had exceptional service. If the company can't give them an incentive, I will by cheering them on and telling them how much they stood out among the majority.
post #8 of 21
Great point there!
I used to work in a call centre for a credit company (approving credit) and you just have to deal with so many awful (and many stupid) people. The majority of callers seem to think that because you can't actually see them face to face, they can treat you with absolutely no respect. On most days I would come home totally drained and exhausted just from taking abuse over the phone from people (which is why i no longer work in a call centre!). It then gets very difficult to maintain a professional attitude and treat each new call regardless of the one preceding it.
post #9 of 21
Oh Nena! I SO agree with the whole Pizza Hut could you hold please? thing...I have "held" for up to 15 minutes...and it is long distace!!!!!!!
post #10 of 21

You have hit on one of my pet peeves! I have worked both in retail and restaurant. When I am the customer, I expect to be treated as such. Can't tell you how many times I have received a free meal in a restaurant when I have spoken up over shoddy service. One of my close friends maintains that when the economy is in the state it's in now: everybody is hiring and clammering for employees, the quality of service to the customer goes down. Who needs to try? Minimum wage jobs are a dime a dozen. If I'm fired from McDonalds, I can be employed by Burger King by sunset. I personally worked for Wal-Mart for 5 years. I go into my old store now and see how much the company has let its own standards drop. Sam Walton is probably rolling over in his grave!
post #11 of 21
You have such a point there, Deb....noone has any incentative to try anymore.
post #12 of 21
I have done all kinds of jobs...I cleaned houses for a summer, worked as a waitress at a waffle house, worked at an ice cream stand, worked at k-mart, worked at fashion bug 3 years, made contact lenses! I did every job with a smile on my face and was RARELY unfriendly. imagine waitressing on senior citizen night at the waffle house where they eat for 50% off & the total bill would be $4. that would be an 80 cent tip if they left 20% and they rarely did. I could work 7 hours and make $5 in tips. I still did it with a smile on my face. and don't let me get started on cleaning houses! I can't tell you how many times I got ordered around & treated like a second class citizen. and I mean talked down too, like I wasn't very educated or knew what to do, and I'm not a stupid girl.

anyway my point is I don't have much patience for bad service. I've been there. I've had lousy, thankless jobs. I managed to be courteous, so I expect the same. when I get GREAT service I will tip 35-40% because I believe you have to reinforce the actions. I would bust my ass on a table & then get a lousy tip, let me tell you it doesn't make you want to work very hard the next time. so I over tip when they do a good job so that they will see that when they do a good job it does pay off. but when i get lousy service they will get 10%, and I don't feel bad. I got that after busting my ass sometimes.
post #13 of 21
I worked retail for 5 years. I get P'd off when I go out now and get treated like dirt. I ALWAYS was friendly to my customers no matter what kind of day I was having. I even treated the awful ones with the saying "kill them with kindness". I now also deal with the public being a receptionist. Yes, it sucks, but that is my job and I am supposed to deal well with any situation.
There is no excuse for me to sit and listen to teens ramble about their personal lives, to go to Taco Bell and wait 45 minutes for fast food, to be left at a table waiting 25 minutes to take a drink order or my very favorite these days...I go to the local big supermarket and watch the CUSTOMERS bag their groceries. Now In CA we had a discount market where you had to do this..it helped to make the prices discounted. You understood this when you went in. Now explain to me why these idiots here bag their groceries and do it with a smile.(no offense if you do this)
post #14 of 21
Wow, and I thought the customer service here was bad! Bagging your own groceries?! In that case I'm grateful that on the whole the customer service here isn't too bad.

Although, I have been to a restaurant and felt as though I was inconveniencing the staff simply by being there! We recently went to a restaurant where the service was utterly appalling and we ended up getting our own drinks from the bar (no, it wasn't a self service place), after waiting ages. The problem was there just weren't enough wait-staff to handle the number of patrons. When we complained to the manager about the long delays etc, he immediately blamed the waiters, but we could see they were completely run off their feet. Bad management - trying to cut costs by cutting back on staff. Definitely doesn't work in the long run.
post #15 of 21
Sandie and Dan,
You are both so right. I have felt that before: that I am an inconvienence for being there. It is really sad. I have gotten to the point now that if I wait more than 15-20 minutes before even being brought my drink, I leave. Hopefully, eventually, companies will see that having enough polite staff makes the difference. Where I work, it is very important. There are 9 casinos in the town I work in and yes, we have great buffets and good comps but ultimately we are the smallest and have the largest market share simply because we have many customer service classes we have to go through and they are very rigid about that is the way to be best. We always try to make it right if we have upset a customer by giving them a free meal or hotel room or at least something. We do have our share of drunken idiots but there are ways of handling people like that. We spend hundreds of dollars on training and drug testing and uniforms. It is far more expensive to have a high turnover and pissy customers rather than invest in your employees and have happy customers. Our motto is that if we don't take care of the customer, someone else wins. That is sooooo true.
post #16 of 21
That is so true Steph. If only more businesses realised that fact! It really doesn't take a lot to provide good customer service and the returns far outweigh any investment of time or money. We now wholeheartedly recommend to all our friends, any place where we received good service. There's one restaurant in particular in the city where the waiters are right by your side before you even think that you were going to need them (actually, now that I think about it, that's just spooky ).
A friend of mine is a troubleshoter for restaurants - she goes to a restaurant, has a meal and at the end of it presents the manager with a list of thiongs that were good/bad/need to be improved and then offers to train the staff. Needless to say she's very good at what she does, and the difference in the service once she's trained them is amazing!
post #17 of 21
One night a couple of weeks ago I went to a restaurant and never even got my meal! The friend I was with got his. Finally I flagged the waitress down and asked what the problem was. It was clear from her nonverbal signals that she never put the order in. But then instead of rushing to fix her mistake, she dilly-dallied around. I finally left without eating, but not without a word or two to the cashier. She acted like she couldn't care less. I worked in restaurants for 8 years to be treated like that?!?
post #18 of 21
OH MY GOSH DEB!!!! I would have been SO MAD!!! That is not right at all to be treated like that...I would have talked to the manager!!
post #19 of 21
I couldn't find the guy!!!! Normally I'd never go back, but they have this good spaghetti special for $2.99 on Sundays and Tuesdays. Then there's their Greek salad..........
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
Well, I used to work for a third party telephone company. I verified long distance service for the representatives for companies such ash AT&T, Qwest, and what used to be GTE(now is Verizion) and formerly Bell Atlantic(Also Verizion. They had the worst reps. They would be rude to the customers. They tried to do scamming were they would try to verify with children under age 18, or the reps would call and another would pass off as the customer. I personally don't think teens shoudl be hired for customer service positions. They are too young.
post #21 of 21

That's horrible! It confirms all those stories you hear about companies changing your long distance without authorization!
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