Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Service Without a Smile

Can I just bitch for a second? What is it with these days and customer service? Or a lack thereof? Why is it you can't get anyone who is serving you in a store to actually talk to you, say "How are you today?" "How can I help you?" or even "Thank you?" They are fine to talk to EACH OTHER while they should be giving you customer service, but not to actually talk to you, the customer. Has it gotten worse lately, or am I just getting old and crotchety enough to notice?

I'll give you an example. I was exchanging something at Wal-Mart today and this was how it went down:
Me: Hi, I need to exchange this lipstick.
Lady: _______________________
A few second later, Me: Here is the reciept.
Lady: ________________________
30 seconds later, Me: They stopped making my favorite color so I'm trying to find a replacement shade.
Lady: Oh, I see you're drinking a small Mt.Dew today!
(No, she was not talking to me. She was talking to another employee who was sitting on a bench in the customer service area, taking her lunch break.)
Lady (to me this time): Is there anything wrong with it?
Me: No, just not the right color.
Lady: _________________________
30-45 seconds later, Lady: The difference is 36 cents.
I start looking for some change as the lady carries on a converation with other employee over my shoulder.
I hold out the money.
She takes it.
She holds out my bag.
I take it.
I wait for any comment from this lady.
I look right at her waiting for a "here you go" or "thank you, come again."

I ALMOST said, "Jolene, no offense but you seriously need to work on your customer service skills. Try talking to your CUSTOMER instead of the other employee." But I didn't. There was a line of about 8 people behind me and I'm sure they wouldn't have appreciated me dilly-dallying. But I was so ticked. Not a single word of friendly banter. And she wasn't 17 either. She was in her late 40's--she should have known better. I know what you're thinking, it was Wal-mart, what do I expect from the dregs of society. But that was only typical of the service you get just about anywhere these days. Employees can't be bothered to actually smile, say please or thank you, or actually make small-talk with their customers. But they have NO problem chit chatting with each other while they "help" you. They can talk to the person behind or in front of them in the next check stand like you're not even there, but heaven help them if they have to stop long enough to say "here you go" when they hand you your reciept. I even had a guy at Costco a few weeks ago complaining, right there in front of me, to another employee about how crazy the last customer had been. He went on and on about how the guy wanted to check out without his membership card and how that was so not the way Costco works, etc. I'm sorry, but that is SO tacky to talk badly about a customer IN FRONT OF the next customer. TAKE IT TO THE BREAK ROOM, PEOPLE! Again, I just about found the manager to say, You need to teach your employees how to talk to their current customers, not each other. And especially if they have something bad to say, they need to deal with it privately, not in front of all the other customers. But again, I didn't. Should I have? Do we need to collectively stand up to these terrible employees? Or is it just me? Is anyone else bugged by the disintigration of customer service lately?


Christie said...

I can totally relate. There have been so many instances of crappy customer service that I have encountered lately. I do like to think though that I offer good customer service. I try to be as helpful and friendly as possible. But I think its becoming a lost art.

jennie w. said...

That is so right on. I'm going to speak up from now on! Maybe a customer complaining to their faces will shame them.

Sara said...

Yes, i agree. customer service sucks just about every where you go. the target in orem has recently stepped up on their service though, i get asked frequently if i need help or am finding everything i need. gotta love target.

Koreena said...

It's not just you! It's getting to me more and more lately. I'm like you in that I come close to tracking down a manager and saying something but I never do. I really don't know what happened to just being curteous at least! I haven't really liked customer service jobs I've had in the past, but that never stopped me from being happy and nice to the customers.

Love that apathy poster by the way.

CaraDee said...

Oh baby , you are so right on.

CaraDee said...

About the Target comment, I HATE that they are always BUGGING me there. It would be the equivalent of an overattentive waiter, but I'm not at Target to be waited upon like that. BLAH

Megan said...

I would have either asked for a manager, or call when you get to the car or at home. you could always send an e-mail.

alex dumas said...

Yes, I think something should be said. I'm an advocate of communication.

Why does that girl Cara use the word BABY so much when addressing you?