What Happened to Customer Service?


I guess because I’m in retail, I may be a little more sensitive to the different levels of customer service.

For several years now, I’ve watched customer service in many retail establishments slowly turn into “self-serve.”

I recent had an experience in a very well known copy store, where I felt as though I was greatly unconvincing a sales associate for some guidance with a copy machine. Now grant it, copy machines ARE self-serve, but because I had never worked on this particular machine, I needed some help.

When I asked the gentleman behind the counter (who was not busy) if he could assist me with some questions I had, he proceeded to point to the machine and BARK the instructions to me with an attitude of, “You know, I really and truly DON'T want to help you.”

So I went back to the copy machine and tried what he suggested, but was still having difficulty figuring out all the buttons. I went back to the counter and asked him if he could possible walk over to the machine and help me.

(he rolled his eyes and let out a huff, but came over)

As he got there I said, “You know…I understand that these machines are self-serve, but I’ve never used this particular one before and I could use your help. But it appears to me that I’m unconvincing and bothering you in some way. And I would think, that as an employee of this store, the company would want you to help ANY customer in need”

He then proceeded to go through the instructions like I was some kind of idiot.

I finally DID complete what I had gone there for, but I left the store with a very bad taste in my mouth. I’ve called customer service one other time about this specific store and reported poor service.

I continually experience situations like this more and more.

No one wants to be bothered.

And I would think, that with the economy the way it is right now, companies would be focusing on giving outstanding customer service to make sure customers keep coming back.

Beside that…I think somehow, people have slowly lost their ability to SERVE one another.

Service has turned into…“What am I going to GET” rather than “What am I going to GIVE.”

Yes, my standards for customer service are high, but this is how I was taught by my father.

(who was a very successful salesman)

“Treat each an every customers as though they are your most important customer. Never push a sale, but rather offer your goods to the best of your ability, and then let the customer decide. Allow people to always feel as though they are a welcomed guest in your home. Be genuinely friendly, honest and sincere.

And above all…SERVE.”

Amen, Dad!


Enjoy your weekend, everyone!



P.S. If anyone would like to visit my new blog this weekend....it's FINALLY ready. Please just click this link...and you'll be there!

24 comments

  1. If customer service is their job the least they can do is serve customers with a pleasant attitude! I'm off to visit your new place. :)

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  2. Hi Ron,
    That copy store employees was a real JERK !!
    I wonder shat he was payed to do all day... You did the right thing to report the poor service on the phone following that. What might also help is a firm " I will take my business elsewhere next time".

    Thank you for the invite; I'll gladly come on over very soon.
    See ya !!

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  3. I would have really enjoyed your dad.

    And welcome to the way of the world, today.
    It just ain't what it used to be.

    Small wonder I'd rather open a web page to go shopping than contend with inconveniencing people who have better things to do than their job.

    The daughter and I had a 'chat' when she came home to tell me her professor was teaching her the fine art of getting a job.
    'What do you have to offer me' was the mentality.....and you can bet this mom wasn't impressed.
    Bit backwards for me--and today I'd like to think she's particularly successful in her career because of the 'what can I bring to the worksite' mentality I beat into her.

    But I've been known to be a bit grandiose...LOL
    It's probably cuz she's got killer legs! ROFL

    <--will happily be able to visit the new place.....FINALLY!!!!!! :-)

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  4. Morning Akelamalu~

    You said it, dear lady!

    We ALL have an "off day"...I can totally understand that (because I do too), but OY VEY!?!

    What happened to the "ON days?"

    Anyway, all I can keep doing, is calling customer service and bringing it to their attention.

    (and then using my blog to VENT about it!!)

    tee, hee!!!

    Mucho thanks for stopping by today, Akelamalu!

    And thanks for taking the time to visit the new blog!

    Have a GREAT weekend!!

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  5. Hi Barbara~

    Good Morning to ya!

    The thing that gets to me the most, about shit like this...is the "not caring part."

    If people don't care, how can they expect to receive anything?

    This is one of things that I LOVED about living in Japan for two months. Never in my life, did I ever see such exquisite customer service. It totally blew my away! It's a very expensive country to live, but the care that goes in to what they "give" you (in the way of service)...is worth every YEN.

    Thanks very much for stopping by this morning, Barbara!

    And thank SO MUCH for taking the time to visit the new blog...please enjoy!

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  6. This reminds me of a little quote/story I once heard.

    A guy asks, "Of empathy or apathy, which do you think is the more important?"

    The other guy replies, "I don't know, and I don't care!"


    I've run into this sooooo many times lately. It's just plain irritating.

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  7. Morning Mel!

    BRAVO!!!

    Good for you!

    YAHOOO!

    It's so great to hear that!

    Just from knowing YOU, I bet your daughter is an very "conscious" young lady.

    Hey, and BE grandiose, Mel. Because consciousness mixed with "killer-legs" is an AWESOME combination!!!

    HA!

    Thanks for sharing on this post, Mel!

    It's much appreciated!

    And thanks for visiting the new blog...enjoy!

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  8. Morning Jeff~

    Thanks so much for sharing that quote, buddy!

    That's what I mean...CARING.

    In just the short time that I've known you, I bet you're one hell of an awesome "service oriented guy." And just from seeing some of the work you do, from the photos you've shared on your blog, I can tell you GIVE the BEST of yourself!

    And I'm also sure that's how your boys are raised too!

    Bravo!

    Thanks for sharing, Jeff.

    You always enlighten!

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  9. I have used the self-pay lines in a few stores but there is still someone at the end of that section to assist. Same thing at the copy places. It's confusing when you first try to use the machines and have to load money on the card, etc. etc. I have only gone once or twice and I still feel a little guidance is needed. The person working there SHOULD help and if they give attitude they should be reported. In a bad economy, other people who do CARE enough to be helpful might really need that job!

    Hey, I stopped by your other blog and left comments already. It's FABU! Love it.
    Happy weekend. Hug, M

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  10. I agree with you about customer service going the wayside. It's a mess out there! And disappointing. I do think people have this "what's in it for me?" mentality. Sooo sad. I try to remember not to be that way.

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  11. Afternoon Crystal Chick!

    RIGHT ON!

    What you share here is true, M!

    Their are some people who really NEED jobs, who are willing to actually WORK.

    It all comes back to remembering the word SERV-ice, ya know?

    Where I find I DO get good customer service, from people who genuinely want to assist you, is in Borders. Especially in their cafe. The one that I frequent, has the NICEST, up-beat people I've ever experiencd. And their consistant too.

    I've only tried the self-pay lines (when I was in a hurry) once or twice in the drug store, but DID need assists the first time. I kept laughing, because I couldn't understand the "voice activation thingy" that would prompt me.

    Hey listen, thanks SO much for stopping by the new blog. I haven't been over there to check comments lately, so I'll dash over there now, to read yours.

    Thanks for stopping by here today, M!

    It's always good sharing with you!

    Happy Weekend!

    I think it's going to be another beautiful one like last weekend!

    Yepee!

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  12. Howdy Rhea!

    I know...ain't it the PITTS??

    I use to think it was because I live in a city, but when I talk to my family and friends all over the State, they say the same thing.

    It IS sad, because I think that if people just "altered" their attitude, by being attentive and caring...businesses would find themselves prosperious, and ALSO with a good feeling inside...that they GAVE something of themselves.

    Hey, thanks so much for stopping by today and sharing, Rhea!

    I have a friend in Florida, who use to live in San Antonio and said that the customer service in the store she worked in (Saks) was outstanding and friendly.

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  13. I guess I don't have a problem asking an employee to go get his manager. There are times when an employee is rude. I don't have a problem with confrontation right then and there in front of other customers. I don't need an attitude and "I want to talk with your ssupervisor" rolls off my tongue very easily.

    I don't want a discount...I don't want melodrama. like back behind the stage of a debutante ball. A business sells a product with customer service.

    Ciao babes...I so agree with your dad. :)

    youhave a fab weekend too.

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  14. Good Evening dear heart,

    I so agree about service, and your Father was a very wise man. No wonder you are so special!

    I really have a problem too when you need help and they are talking on their phone about PERSONAL stuff!

    Ahh yes the customer...some seem to forget the customer IS the business..ultimately their pay check! I do think some good may come of the economy now..people are learning to appreciate having a job again..especially the younger generation. Sometimes you need to be a little hungry to appreciate what had on the table...eh? :) That can apply to so many things..I know from experience. hee, hee

    I am going to read your other post now. We have been dealing with tropical depression Fay here in Florida. I hope this makes sense not proof reading...I best get it posted before the power goes off again!! :O

    Love ya!!

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  15. Bravo Miss Jones!

    "A business sells a product with customer service."

    You GO GIRL!!!

    You're RIGHT!

    God...you killed me about the debutante ball!

    A few weeks ago, had a young guy who was ringing me up at the register, talking on his cell phone the whole time, which took him 15 mins. to ring me up because he was too friggin' busy laughing and chatting. And after he gave me my change, I marched right back to the office and asked to see the manger. I was LIVID!

    (the Tasmanian Devil...spinning around in circles)

    tee, hee!

    Anyway, it's nice to hear that someone else asks for the manager too!

    God love us!

    Thanks for stopping by, Spiky!

    And if we ever do meet and go shopping together...let's BOTH ask for the manager!!

    ciao bella!

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  16. Oh what a rotten bugger! It's much the same here too! Especially those rude bugger Telsta assistants on the phone!

    I use to work in retail, I got so sick of the slack assistants that I worked with. They clearly didn't want to be there and would huff and puff behind the counter reading their stoopid magazines, rolling their eyes when they were interupted by a customer in need!

    THEN after I would take my time helping a customer and finding what they needed, the catty bitches would steal my sales!!! (If we didn't reach a certain amount of sales we got fired!) The bitchy slags!!! Never again!

    Oooooo you have a new blog???? I'm THERE :-) xx

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  17. Evening Dearest Gypsy-Heart!

    Oh God, that's right....you guys are going through a tropical depression!!!

    Tis the season...I remember ALL too well!

    I think it ends in November, right?

    Anway....like YOU, the cell phone thing drives me INSANE. When I managed a store about 4 years ago, I forbid my employees to talk on their cell phones while working (save it for your break!). The cell phone usage is out of hand, period!! It's like people can't seem to breath, unless they're on their phones.

    And I TOO agree with you about "being a little hungry" to appreciate having a job. I've BEEN there too, Gypsy-Heart. And I learned a lot from that.

    I HAVE noticed, that several of the younger generation ARE getting more conscious and aware of work ethics.

    YEPPPEEEE!

    Maybe good customer service is on the Up-swing!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to come visit me, dear Heart.

    I so enjoy our conversations!

    Be well. I'll send some "good energy" your way!

    Love ya!

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  18. Evening Giggle!

    PALEESE! After what you've been through with your Internet Service fiasco...I KNOW you KNOW what I mean!

    God...I still can't believe what you went through!

    OMG...you're SO FUNNNY about the catty bitchy slags that would steal your sales in retail, because I CAN SO indentify with that!!! We TOO have to keep our sales up, so I know what you mean. Some just sit in a chair and talk on their cell phones for hours!! It makes me INSANE!

    Yes, dear one....I unveiled a new blog today (gosh I forgot to tell you last night when we were blogging....sorry). Anyway...hope you enjoy!

    Thanks for stopping by, Giggle! I'm so DAMN happy to be talking to you again!

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  19. So true Ron! The only thing I can say in partial defense of some employees is that management is becoming more and more awful as economic pressures persist.

    so the average sales associate gets crap from customers and crap from management

    can make a person a bit testy

    but in general it often seems like all niceties are just flying out the window

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  20. Hi Dianne~

    Very true!

    And I too get the pressure from the "higher-ups" in my work. It just seems to be a "chain reaction" that trickles down.

    I try and do my part by having fun at work, so that hopefully the customer feels the same.

    But brother....the ecomony right now is affecting people's moods...you can just feel it, can't you?

    Thanks for stopping by, Dianne and adding your wonderful insight!

    Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

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  21. Lack of customer service is why I do most of my shopping online. I do find the employees at my local Old Navy very, very nice. Unfortunately, they are the exception to the rule lately.

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  22. Evening Nitebyrd!

    So good to ya, dear lady!

    I've never done much online shopping, but like you, so many people say that they prefer it for that exact same reason.

    Yes, I too have had some EXCELLENT customer service in certain store (Borders for one), but as you shared...they are the exception to the rule.

    MUCHO thanks for stopping by, Nitebyrd!

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend and didn't experience too much of the tropical depression, Fay!

    My mom got a bit.

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  23. Ron caught up with ur blog pretty late. Anyways i have one more thing to add.

    The customer services has deteriorated at the place where it shouldn't, mostly the ones where it is really difficult to get things done. For them, customers is the least attention earning person in the whole shop.

    And there are places where customer is buttered up to annoying levels. Best example is ones selling garments at malls. I mean common dude. They don't have to follow me everywhere i move boasting each cloth i touch. Wish the day doesn't dawn when they run a fashion show just for me :)

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  24. You said it Amit!

    I TOTALLY freaking AGREE!!!

    Because I see this too!

    It's like..."How much more, can you kiss my ass, just so that I BUY this from you???"

    It seems that there's no "middle way".

    Either your ingnored or overy-followed and pressured.

    OY!

    Thanks for adding your insight to this post, Amit!

    Hey, the "fashion show line" made me laugh!

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