Is customer service dead? Depends on where you shop, I think

I came across this article when I was browsing through my favorite web browser’s main page, and it really strikes a chord with me.  As a small business owner I feel that customer service is the life blood of my business. I find that referrals count for about 80% of my new customers. I guess that means I am giving good customer service huh!  So obviously customer service isn’t dead in all aspects of the retail world.  Many of the reasons mentioned in this article are reasons my clients have told me they will no longer shop at this retailer. Great for me, bad for them!  I have always said that doing business with a local small business is always better than some giant company where once they get your money your just a number in the sometimes functional computer system.

Now on the flip side of this I take many comments about poor customer service with a large grain of salt.  Having worked at the retailer mentioned in this article I find that what people remember and what actually happens are sometimes polar opposites. I remember getting a “secret shopper” report on myself once that according to the customer I failed miserably, but when you compared the scores they gave against the comments and the receipt, you could see the issues with it.  There were a couple that stuck out in my mind from this specific one.  The first being that I was given no points for introducing my self and giving my name. Yet in the comments they said I came up and said “hi, I’m Mark” and handed them a business card. In my mind I should have gotten double points for that!  The second being that I did not mention any type of extended warranties or accessories. When looking at their receipt we saw that they had purchased a couple HDMI cables as well as the 4 year in home warranty.  So get those salt licks out when you hear someone complain about poor customer service.

So in closing, I think there is an easy way to make sure you get good customer service when purchasing electronics, sweaters, or anything that you spend your hard earned money on. SUPPORT LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES!!  Ask your friends, family, neighbors, other businesses that you trust for their recommendations!






Is customer service dead? Depends on where you shop, I think — 1 Comment

  1. Wow…I have a lot to say about this article.

    First of all the comment about companies mostly hiring cheap labor and not training them is very true in my experience but I do not believe it a recent trend. Companies have been cutting corners in these areas in the 15+ years I have been in the work force.

    As far as the best buy comments. My biggest gripe with them recently is all the non best buy employess there trying to sell you cable TV, satelite, and anything else they can throw at you. Walking in that store is like walking through a room of telemarketers constantly throwing their sales pitch at you. Some of whom are relentless and don’t back down at a simple no. Why does it have to be so painful to just go in and buy toner for your printer?

    My last comment is regarding the Nordstrom experience…while I agree that this gentleman should have had a more durable sweater, for what is probably a ridicouls amout of money that he spent on it, that didn’t pull after 3 wears the reason most retailers do not offer the “no questions asked return policy” is that Nordstrom does is because people take advantage. This guy legitimatly only wore it 3 times but there are plenty of people out there that would wear it 300 times and expect the same treatment. Nordstrom charges inflated prices and can afford to absorb those types of things to allow their super rich customers a satisfactory experience. Most average retailers would go out of business if they offered the same thing.

    I personally don’t think customer service is dead it just as I see it every day at my current job and did at my last job of 9 years. It just has to be taught for the most part these days. It is not something that is ingrained in most people like it may have been once upon a time. A good supervisor and/or mentor can bread a whole group or department of great customer service professionals.

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