What Happened to Customer Service?

I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately – what happened to customer service? I find it very interesting that I’m surprised or even shocked when I come across someone that gives me good customer service! Why is it that it’s out of the ordinary to actually find good customer service now a days?

I’ve been traveling a lot lately with my daughter, Faith, the past few weeks. A little background – she has Crohn’s Disease and her pediatric GI doctor is 1 ½ hours away from us. Faith has needed to undergo IV iron treatment 2 times per week for the last few weeks. So we’ve been stopping to eat at different fast food restaurants on the way home for lunch.

One of those times we stopped at Hardees in Neilsville, WI. I haven’t been to a Hardees in a long time so I’m not sure if it’s just this Hardees or if they are striving for this level of customer service in all of them. We ordered and then took our number and sat down. They actually delivered our food to the table and asked if we needed anything else, which was nice. Then after we were eating for awhile, the manager actually came around to ask us how everything was and if she could get us anything. Then she actually came back when we were done asked us if she could take our trash and throw it away for us. Really? Who does that in a fast food restaurant? She was so nice and friendly! This type of customer service just doesn’t happen anymore!

Another trip, we went through the McDonald’s drive through in Marshfield, WI. One of the managers there was working the last drive through window. Even though I was several cars back, I could hear him interacting with each car. He was so sincere and friendly.  It was one of those times when you just had a better day after dealing with him. How many times does that happen to you at McDonalds?

These are not my normal everyday Customer Service experiences. I’m used to getting ignored or being in a store and having to search for someone to help me. In fact, using coupons has opened my eyes to a different issue in customer service. I tend to believe that store employees actually treat coupon users differently because we are using coupons. Why is that? Do they resent us? Do they feel that we are stealing or taking advantage of the store? I’m not sure why but I have gone into a store and have actually had the employee treat me nicely upon entering and then change her attitude as soon as I pull out my coupons. Sadly, this has been my experience at our local Walgreens.

I can’t speak for all couponers but I am just a mom trying to make my budget stretch. I don’t have a huge stockpile under beds, in closets and in every nook and cranny like you see on Extreme Couponing. When I go into stores, at the very least, I expect some common courtesy.  I, as the customer, do everything I can do to make their job easier. I organize my coupons ahead of time, I don’t try to get away with something I’m not supposed to, I smile, I’m friendly and I say please and thank you. Isn’t it now their job to at least be nice to me?

I have been on the other side. Before I was able to be a stay-at-home-mom, I was in retail management for 15 years. Retail is not an easy job. It can get the best of you at times. Customers are not always the nicest. Those of you who have worked retail are now nodding your head and agreeing with me here! ;) I remember that it was always difficult hiring good staff. Trying to find people that would provide good customer service was really hard. Is it because of bad work ethic or they don’t like their job?

You’d think that with the unemployment rate as high as it is people would just be thankful they have a job and be happy to be working. But maybe it’s not as simple as that.

Guess I’ll just continue being a pleasant customer and hope that those that are actually getting paid to be nice to me will do just that…be nice to me.

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