What Has Happened to Good Customer Service?

Many people are of the age where they still remember providing excellent customer service to their patients or customers. Whether they were medical professionals or staffers, or customer service representatives in any industry, even State legislators or any type of professional who deals with the public regularly.

In days past, good customer service was prevalent, not to mention expected from employers, and was always given to the public. Whether the service was provided in person, over the telephone, by mail, or more recently over the Internet, employees took pride in the quality of service bestowed on their patrons.

Unfortunately, this is now a thing of the past. Employees of the same professional industries are giving horrible customer service to the people. What is worse is that the upper management personnel of these companies, hospitals, or what have you, is not only condoning this, but are training their staff members in this manner. Whatever the reason, it is not false to say that every person in the United States now has experienced some type of rotten customer service from someone they deal with. Needless to say, the public is, or should be, becoming very concerned about this issue.

Why is this happening? Are there really any good reasons for this, or have people become so callous that they no longer care at all about how they treat other people? In the past, this type of behavior did occur now and then from somebody on occasion. Those employees were typically admonished for doing so. Nowadays, extremely poor customer service is now common-place among employees and upper management alike. It is being allowed to continue and nothing is being done about it.

So, what can be done to alleviate poor customer service in the United States? First, the public at large needs to take a stand and decide not to put up with it anymore. Second, management level employees have to care and refuse to allow their employees to treat people this way. This can include enhanced sensitivity training when employees are hired, as well as refresher courses in this over their careers. Also, when an employee is rude and crass to a customer, punishment must be automatic and severe. Legislation alone will not solve this awful problem. People in general have to start caring about their fellow man again.

One thing is certain! Something must be done about this horrible trend, starting immediately. It should be considered morally wrong to treat other people in such a harsh manner. We need to bring respect back into the picture as well. When people do not respect each other, only bad things can come as a result. Compassion is also another factor, persons no longer feel compassion for each other. Parents have a lot to do with this situation too. Aspects of behavior such as a lack of respect and compassion, used to be taught to children by their parents and perhaps grandparents too. Why is this no longer the case? If nobody takes any measures to restore great customer service to the public, we are surely doomed as a nation! Think about this!

Normally I write about general topics. However, once in awhile I write about current issues that bother me. This is one of those times. I am

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Marketing Good Customer Service

I don’t understand why more businesses aren’t marketing good customer service.

Good customer service, not to mention great customer service, is difficult to come by these days. Think about every business, product or service you come into contact with on a daily basis. Then think about whether or not you are receiving truly good CS. I would argue that most often, you probably “settle” for average customer service and are rarely exposed to truly strong customer service. You probably don’t even realize it sometimes.

Two very different examples of CS came into play just yesterday for me, and there is a lesson that relates to marketing.

First, I tried to rent a car with one of the leading (or at least one of the most well-known) car rental companies. I have given a lot of business to this particular company, and have earned their highest status after renting cars from them for well over 10 years. Well, without getting too far into the details of what actually happened, there was a mix-up with my reservation. I wasn’t getting anywhere with anyone in person. So I made calls and emails to try and get some help to straighten it all out, but I wasn’t getting anywhere there either. No one took responsibility for situation. After all of my years of devotion to this one particular company, when push came to shove, my “status” hadn’t earned me a damn thing in the eyes of these particular customer service representatives. In fact, I wasted close to three hours of my time trying to get everything straightened out. That is not good customer service.

Second, almost immediately after I got the car rental episode straightened out, I stopped by my bank of choice to make a deposit. I walked up to the window and was immediately greeted cheerfully. The CS representative said her name, and earnestly asked “how can I help you today?” It was like a breath of fresh air. I provided the check, deposit slip and my ID, and from that point forward was called by name by the bank’s employees. I was even thanked for my loyalty for the last seven years. Even the teller next to the one I was talking to asked how my day was going. I chuckled and said “pretty shitty until now”. They laughed too. When I was done with the transaction, the customer service representative smiled again, asked me if there was anything else I needed, and wished me well. That is good customer service.

It got me thinking, oddly, about marketing.

Experience number one is likely what most of us come into contact with every day without maybe even realizing it; sub-par customer service, and sub-par CS even when there is years of loyalty built up.

Experience number two is likely what most of us do not come into contact with very often; good customer service by people who genuinely are there to help solve problems and make your experience a great one.

With my bank example, I recalled all of the marketing and advertising I’d seen from that particular bank in the past. I couldn’t once recall anything from their material about good customer service. When you think of the banking industry, there aren’t too many differentiators. Sure, there are different types of accounts, fee structures, percentage returns and small differences related to the tangible things. These are the things you see most often in marketing materials. “Do business with our bank and enjoy no fees!” “Do business with our bank and you’ll earn X% on your money market.”You get the picture.

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