Bad Customer Service Can Really Ruffle Your Feathers

22 Dec

Something tells me that employees on this street know how to provide good customer service.

As a teenager and a college kid, I put a number of years into working in the retail and restaurant industries. I quickly learned that whoever came up with the saying “the customer is always right,” is a complete moron. In fact, the customer is typically always wrong. Regardless, I had to learn good customer service skills, so I could swallow my pride and let idiotic shoppers order me around, insult my intelligence, hit on me, and tell me how to do my job for $6.50 an hour. As you can see, customer service jobs are awesome.

As a flaming warrior who has survived her fair share of customer service jobs, I feel that I have some weirdo connection with all retail and restaurant workers.  After all, I’m a survivor. I know that practicing good customer service skills isn’t easy, so I do the best I can to be a pleasant consumer.  I politely listen to credit card sales pitches at my favorite stores, never complain about the table I’m sat at in restaurants, and even thank the annoying sales girls when they “helpfully” bring extra clothes into the dressing room that they’re “sure I’d look great in.” But in return, I expect the same respect, in the form of good customer service.

In the past couple of weeks I’ve received a lot of really bad customer service. Many of the employees I’ve come in contact with have the customer service skills of a mentally deranged cow. When faced with one of these snarky fools, I’m learning more and more that it’s imperative to stand my ground and remember that ‘I am the customer.’ If they’re going to be rude and expect me to bend over backwards for them, than I expect to be paid their $8 an hour salary for having to deal with them. And I’d also like their employee discount.

I learned my stellar customer service skills working at TJ Maxx as a teenager.

My Week of Bad Customer Service:

  • Example #1: The Auto Body Shop. As I revealed a couple of weeks ago, I accidentally drove my car into a concrete wall in my neighborhood on the way to work recently. Oopsie! If you think that’s shameful, check out the customer service skills of the employees at this auto body shop! First, I was a given a “don’t call us, we’ll call you,” when calling to inquire about the status of my car. Then they “forgot” to hook the horn & all accompanying sounds back up. Finally, they refused to investigate a new squeak that the car left the body shop with.  Although my car repair skills end with the ability to replenish windshield wiper fluid, the customer service skills and brain capacity of these goons has left me feeling more secure with the idea of operating on my car myself. Yowza!
  • Example #2: CVS drugstore. I ordered a photo book online at CVS last week, and when I went to pick it up, the wrong picture was on the cover. If they wanted to choose the cover image themselves, they shouldn’t have made me do it, right? So I ask the cashier to fix it, but apparently no one currently in the building had photo book expertise. So I went back the next day, and find the photo clerk and the cashier in deep conversation at the front of the store. Photo girl is crying. Photo girl disappears. No one can lure her back. Cashier tells me that photo girl is “having an emotional moment.” I ask if I need to drive to a different CVS, and I’m told that could be a good idea. Finally photo girl makes her triumphant return and fixes my photo book. So as if it wasn’t bad enough that I had to make a repeat trip to CVS, because they couldn’t properly arrange my photo book, I was almost further inconvenienced by having to drive to a different store because of photo girl’s on-the-clock emotional breakdown. I’m sorry, I know that everyone has bad days at work and I’m sympathetic to that, but someone with good customer service skills checks their issues at time clock.
  • Example #3: Thai Restaurant: My friends and I all went out to a Thai restaurant last weekend. In my typical fattening food-is-the-enemy fashion, I opted for the healthiest item on the menu, the ‘mixed vegetable’ dish. This was a main entrée in the vegetarian section. There was also a side dish similarly called ‘steamed mixed vegetables.’ Somehow the waitress decided I wanted the tiny side dish of vegetables, instead of an actual dinner, like the ones my friends were eating. She dumped my Barbie-sized bowl of vegetables off and promptly scampered off, not to return until light years later when we had to beg her for the check. Any normal waitress with good customer service skills would’ve been back a couple of minutes after dropping our food off, to see if everything turned out alright. Can we say bad customer service?
  • Example #4: Giant Eagle: If you live in Pittsburgh, you understand the value of Giant Eagle fuelperks. If you don’t, you probably still understand the concept of grocery stores and money saving incentives on gas. A cashier failed to scan my advantage card a couple of weeks ago, which means lost fuelperks(!), so I went to customer service with my receipt to get them added on to my account. Although I was the only person in line, it seemed as if the two employees behind the desk were too busy dealing with invisible customers to even acknowledge the presence of the customer standing directly in front of them. After five minutes of standing there, wondering if I was actually the invisible one, I surrendered. Winning customer service skills Giant Eagle.

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  1. Think Miles & More is Bad? Check Out What British Airways Has to Offer | Big hot news - December 23, 2011

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