I remember a day when customer service was more than providing basic service to a customer. More than just being politically correct and not abrasive (even that is missing occasionally). I remember when customer service was a skill learned from common sense, apathy, respect and from receiving it yourself- not from attending a special training course from some corporate headquarters. I remember when putting groceries in a bag and operating a point of sale credit card system were skills. Now at the big stores, someone with no training just shoves everything into a plastic bag (why be careful, it’s all going to move around in there anyway) and expect us, the customer, to learn their credit card machine. I have even received snotty looks when I take too long to figure out the buttons on one I haven’t used before. They tell me it’s for security, but then ask to look at my card anyway. Who are they trying to kid? They pay the employees less money and expect less from them. This keeps products cheap. To me, they are saying “We don’t need to treat you well, we know you’ll be back because you’re cheap”.
Does that mean you have to pay more for products to be treated well? Sometimes. Fancy, pricey national chains usually have great customer service. But if you want great customer service without paying extra, just look around you. Literally. Look locally. Small outfits in your neighborhood want to see you again. They want you to tell your friends about them. They’re not paying for a corporate office with training rooms and certificates. They have common sense, feel for you and respect you. To me, they are saying “You are a good person doing good things and we want to help, so we will be good to you and see you again soon!” How do I know? I’m on both sides of the wallet too.