When we returned home, we realized that she had punctured a hole in the top of one of our items and the contents had spilled all over the inside of the bag. I headed back to the store to get a replacement, but apparently the greeters at the door aren't just there to give you a smile. I went through an airport security procedure, had to get a brightly colored sticker and then was sent to stand in line for 10 minutes at the customer service counter.
Once there, a teenager who obviously wanted to be anywhere else but helping me with my problem was in charge of handling my complaint. She sent me to the back of the store to retrieve another package myself. When I returned I had to go to the back of the line and wait again. It was the store cashier who had been careless in the first place, but I paid more than the price of my item by the time the night was over. The store obviously did not value my time.
This problem is not confined to the big convenience chains. Recently it seems that bad customer service has spread like a virus to more important consumer areas — like credit cards and utilities. Several years ago when I applied for one of those low interest credit cards, it was a quick and easy process. Customer service personally explained all the benefits of my new card in plain English. But last month when I wanted to cancel the card, it was a confusing four-hour process. It was very hard to explain to someone in New Delhi, India why I just wanted to cancel a credit card I never use anymore. Is there a logical reason the card cancellation department in another country? Yes, to make it harder on customers to switch providers.
Costly mistakes are also getting more frequent. I find I have to recount my change at the counter. I have to double check my restaurant receipts with my credit card statement to make sure that the waiter didn't add another zero to the tip. It makes one wander what kinds of careless (or even purposeful) mistakes are being made with our finances?
In my opinion the problem is a lack of character among many in the new American work force. As more and more people in our society grow up devoid of self-discipline and respect for others, I believe we can expect this problem to get worse — not better. There are people who have important personal information about us that do not consider dealing with our transactions an important part of their day and that is scary.
But in the meantime, if you are a business owner or manager, I have a few tips on how you can gain my undying loyalty.
First, when you or your staff waits on a customer, look them in the eye, give a warm smile and be polite. Second, if a customer comes back with a problem, fix the problem and don't make them feel like they are imposing on you for your mistake.
Third, customers want to see that your staff has a sense of responsibility and pride in their wok. If your business does these things, you will not only win my loyalty, but my strong endorsement to friends and family.
Many people today seem more worried about what society owes them than taking pride in what they can offer to society. What happened to the honor of great customer service and the importance of honesty and respect in doing business — even if all you are selling are chicken sandwiches?