A while back, I wrote a column lamenting the end of quality customer service. I received a lot of feedback from folks who shared my wish that quality customer service hadn’t died such an ignoble death. Well, my friends, I’m delighted to tell you that it hasn’t. It’s just on the endangered species list.
Weekend before last, I found myself at Home Depot in Albany. Home Depot had been notorious for poor customer service for a long time, but something rather bizarre had happened. Everywhere I turned was a person in an orange apron asking me if they could assist me. It happened just about everywhere I turned, and had me a little stunned.
Eventually, I took someone up on the offer – his name was Jim – because I just couldn’t find the item I wanted. As luck would have it, it was the store’s manager. I remarked upon the change to him, and he said that was something he was focusing on as manager.
He had worked at the store in Cordele, but was almost ashamed to say where he worked due to the poor reputation that the Albany store had. Once transferred to the Artesian City, he immediately set about emphasizing customer service.
I wish more companies would do the same. There are two large chain home supply stores in town, and I can go to either. Honestly, all things being equal, what determines which store I shop at is which side of the road I’m on. However, with a significant increase in customer attention and customer service, that makes things anything but equal.
Our society has let quality customer service get away from us. So many tech support jobs have found their way overseas, not from a lack of laws protecting American jobs, but from a lack of caring from those who would do the work. My experience at Home Depot was phenomenal in an age when the customer isn’t always right, but a nuisance that must be ignored at all costs.
I have little doubt that the store across the street will now up their customer service in an effort to compete, and in that case we all win. Hopefully, this effort will transcend the home improvement stores and find its way into other industries as well. Perhaps something as simple as that is the key to improving life here in Albany.
I don’t know for certain either way, but I certainly hope so. A little customer service might just go a long, long way.
Written by Tom Knighton. Tom Knighton is the managing editor of Laws-n-Sausages.com, a political blog focusing on SWGA. He is the former co-owner of SWGAPolitics.com and currently serves as the Chairman of the Libertarian Party of Southwest Georgia