Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Customer Service

What ever happened to customer service? I swear every time I go to my local grocery store, a restaurant or a clothing store these days they lack the essential customer service skills. Can I get a hello once in a while?

There have been several times I've gone to the grocery store, walked past people working in the various sections, obviously looking for something specific only to be ignored due to the fact they were having a conversation with another employee or simply oblivious to the fact that they were at work. I especially remember one time listening to two teenage boys working in the dairy section talking about some girl who went to their school and what a freak she was, using her name, explicit details and everything. First of all that was an inappropriate conversation for work and second of all they didn't seem to care who was around I could have been that girls sister for all they knew.

So after not being able to find help, I am forced to deal with what my friends and I refer to as silent transactions. I go to the checkout line and rarely do I hear the cashier say the customary lines like, "Did you find everything okay today" or "Do you have a bonus card?" After they've rung up your items they just stand there. What ever happened to telling the customer what their total was? Really not that difficult, you just have to look at the screen and read the numbers. I swipe my card, enter my pin #, and get handed my receipt. No "Thank you come again", no "Have a great evening", not one single word. Being the kind of person that I am I am known to say something sarcastic like "Oh thank you, you have a great evening as well."

Sometimes it gets so frustrating because I've had several customer service jobs in my life from working as a cashier in the food court at the mall to working as a sales associate for many retail shops and department stores. I just don't understand how you can get a job where you have to deal with customers and you don't possess the skills necessary to put together a sentence.

Who's to blame? Is it the employer who hires these people who could care less about serving the customer they are paid to serve. Or is it due to a break down in our community where people are not taught certain basic skills from their parents such as being friendly or how to relate to others. Or maybe it's just where I live, because I don't see the same behaviors in other areas.

I just don't understand why customer service, especially in areas that are predominantly Black, is so lacking these days. It's unacceptable and I refuse to stand for it. I'm quick to write a letter to a store or restaurant's corporate office. It's not that I'm trying to get something free (which usually happens) or difficult but I think it's important to inform them because some people think they can treat you any kind of way and you'll just accept it. As the saying goes, closed mouths don't get fed. If we don't say anything, things will never change. This applies to not only customer service but life in general.

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