Saturday, September 14, 2013

Is Customer Service Dead?

I started working when I was 15 years old.  At that time, the concept of customer service was instilled into my psyche.  I was taught that the better I treated the customers, the more they would return, resulting in more hours for me, and therefore more money.  Consequently, I tend to spend my money at businesses where I am treated well.  Conversely, I avoid those places that don't.

My wife and I have recently had some very bad experiences. The first occurred when my wife went to get her eyes examined.  She had her exam and got her prescription from the doctor. She picked out a set of frames and wanted to find out how much her glasses were going to cost before committing to purchasing them.  The customer service representative refused to help her saying it would take too much time to figure it out if my wife wasn't going to buy the glasses.  We took our business elsewhere.

On another occasion, my wife and I went out to eat at a local brew pub.  We have been regular visitor of this brew pub since they opened several years ago.  Over the years, I have built up a sizable collection of pint glasses and t-shirts from the various seasonal beer launch parties that they have every month.  Unfortunately, after our most recent visit to this establishment, we will never be back.

I ordered a salad and my wife ordered the seafood cannelloni.  When they brought our food, my wife's dinner wasn't hot.  She complained about it and asked to have the dish remade.  Our server was very apologetic and seemed willing to help.  Unfortunately management wasn't so helpful.  He came out and told us they could not remake her dish.  Instead, he argued with us, telling us that the dish was made correctly, brought out hot, and the best they could do was reheat it for us.

We objected saying we wanted a fresh dish as a reheated dish would not be as good as a fresh dish.  Eventually, the server came back out with another plate.  This time the food was hot and you could see steam coming from the sauce.  Unfortunately, it became obvious that it was the same dish heated in the microwave.  The pasta was overcooked and hard.  The cheese looked like a frozen dinner that had not melted completely.

We came home from dinner and I went to the corporate website and sent a complaint detailing what had happened during the evening.  In the past, whenever we have complained about service in a restaurant, we have either received a written apology, and in some cases gift certificates to visit again to give them another chance.  This time, we received no acknowledgement that we had a problem.  We won't be back to that establishment ever again.
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  1. NO kidding. And you are usually treated as if you are a pain in the rear.

  2. Retailers beware: if a customer has a good experience in your establishment they tell two people, but if they have a bad experience they tell ten people. In my twenty years of dealing with the public I learned this to be true. And eventually bad word of mouth will kill any business.



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