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Customer service: Where did it go?

By   /   March 16, 2011  /   Comments



So where has customer service gone? Once upon a time, it was considered the duty of every employee to treat their customers with the utmost respect. Failure to do so was met with an abrupt appointed with the unemployment office. Those days, it seems, are long past.

Saturday, my wife was on Facebook when she read a friend’s status. This friend said that earlier that day was the first time a restaurant ever made her feel fat. She went on to explain that she was picking up four chicken biscuits at a well-known chain.

The guy working the window asked if she wanted anything else, to which she said “no”. Behind him, a girl turned and muttered what she thought was under her breath. My wife’s friend heard her, though. She said, “Don’t eat them all at once.”

I read this story and saw red. In a free market, or even a Frankenstein economy like we have, customers are the most important thing for any business. You simply cannot stay afloat without them and their dollars coming through your doors. This employee’s conduct is inexcusable.

However, it’s not that unusual. A co-worker had a 45-minute wait for food this past Friday. That could be understood if she hadn’t called ahead to place an order. She watched other people come in and place their orders, get their food, and leave while she waited. Again, it’s not that unusual.

Businesses today need to understand something: they don’t have to put up with that kind of thing. Unemployment is sky high. That means there are a lot of folks who would love a job. People who don’t want to treat customers right need to be shown the door. Let’s give jobs to people who actually want to work, and want to do the job right.

It may sound harsh, but so what? Employees need to understand that they work at the pleasure of their employers. If they don’t want to do the job correctly, then they need to be shown the door. Failure to do that doesn’t help them, it perpetuates the cycle. It creates an environment where that becomes the norm, not just in your business but others as well.

That environment, more than anything, is part of why this nation is now starting to fall behind other nations. The business world needs people who will do as is necessary and do the job right. Even the boss has to do things the right way as well, since he is answerable to his customers. It’s past time that these bosses make it clear that their employees are too.

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  1. It’s a strange problem which came from a simple place: during the peak of the economy, good help was hard to find.

    Unfortunately, help was needed either way, so the fact that good help was hard to find didn’t matter. The bad help filled positions that eventually led to management positions being filled from within, which is where we find ourselves today: the bad help is now in charge (known as the Peter Principle), and they are hiring people like them – more bad help.

    Now, when you get bad service it doesn’t even help to complain to the boss, because the boss doesn’t care either. The only way to combat this kind of failure is to simply stop going there, which gets the attention of the owners (although not always). We’ve seen this type of consumerism in the last year, and hopefully it’s starting a turn-around in management which will lead to better customer service.

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