Friday, 18 June 2010

Customer service

Customer service in this country is appalling, so why do we put up with it and how did it get this bad?. The image of the old man or lady who has worked in a particular retail outlet for years is long, long gone. It has been replaced by quick sales and getting people in and out as quickly as possible. Are we as consumers though at fault for this? Is the way we live our lives now come home too roost and we are actually getting what we pay for in terms of wanting everything as cheap as possible?.

Personally I think there are two major issues here, firstly I think we as consumers are to blame but also the corporations are to blame as well. So let's tackle them one at a time and see what the outcome is, let's start with us the consumer first.

The society we have grown up in over the past 20 years doesn't have time or patience now. We live our lives as quickly as possible, never stopping to see what is around us and wanting everything right now. When I was a child my parents would stop and talk to people in shops,they would know our names, but now they don't know us and we read their names from name badges. If they are lucky we may say hello but most of the time we want in and out as quickly as possible, so as we can move onto the next task without taking breath. So we are partly to blame for the advice and service we get aren't we? If we didn't try and cram so much into what little time we had, we may even start to enjoy the things we see around us, get to know the person behind the badge and god forbid say hello to them every now and then.

However this is only part of the problem, technology changes so quickly nowadays that even breaking news isn't new for very long. We consume it at an alarmimg rate and then throw it away once we are done. We need to slow down a little and take on board what we see. The Saturday assistant that you are getting angry with may be new to the job, so give them a chance. They may also be having a bad day as well, we are told no to take home problems into work but let's be honest who does this every time? Not many of us I bet, I know I have.

This however doesn't excuse the corporations for cost cutting and making it difficult for us to get things done. How many times recently have you wanted to check a balance, cancel something or god forbid buy something, and gone through a menu system on the phone that has made you angry and frustrated before you even get to speak to a human being.This has happened to me so many times I can't even count them. You then get through your button pressing only to be told by that person that they can't help you, they then put you on hold whilst you are transferred through to someone else. Why? Is it that difficult for you NOT to help me?. Are you a victim of your training that says even though you may know the answer you are not allowed to tell me? Has your personality been so stifled that all you can do is read from a script that you see in front of you?.

This is the system that has been set up by the corporations. They expect you to stay loyal to them but won't help you in the first place. Not all of them are this bad, but they are becoming few and far between. Would I work in a call center? No. The reason? I don't think I could take the abuse these guys get from frustrated people, who when they finally get through are so fed up that what may have been a minor problem is now up there with the cold war. Who's fault is it? Both of ours. Surprised? Well you shouldn't be. Let's make a rational complaint to the corporations to change their systems and let us a consumers have a little bit of patience.

We can change things, but it isn't the person who answers the phones fault, it isn't the person who serves you fault. It's the training they are given and the attitude of the people who are employed to motivate them. I'm not for one moment excusing poor service which is clearly given by someone who doesn't care, that is an issue for a complaint. Delivered however calmly and quietly. Lets do what we can though, if you get poor service give them another chance, as tough as that maybe it maybe a one off, however if it happens again don't buy from them. By hitting them in the pocket is the only way they will change things. If they see sales falling they will bend over backwards to find out why it is happening, then they will change things wont they.

We need to slow down a little as well, otherwise before you know it you'll be six feet under and who is going to listen what you think then?.

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