Thursday, January 20, 2011

Service Please

So today me and some co-workers were talking about Customer Service. I am in a position at work where most of the time, I am the customer, which, most of the time is nice.
So anyway, we got to talking and when we finished it occurred to me that Customer Service as we once knew it no longer exists.

Now I don't necessarily remember the full service filling stations where the dude would come out and fill up your gas tank, kick your tires, and check under the hood all Andy Griffith style for ya, but I do remember a time of actual Customer Service.

There are several different definitions of Customer Service, but the general idea is that it is the act of providing service to customers before, during and after an item is purchased. Wow when was the last time you saw that at good 'ol Wal-Mart.

Don't get me wrong you small business owners. I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who still believe in the actual act of Customer Service and providing for your customers before, during, and after the purchase. So maybe I'm speaking to the large corporations here.

Ok so think about the actual act of customer service as we know it today. Business have removed the actual act, and I believe we're all to blame. I mean lets think about it. We scan our own groceries. We pump our own gas, we even check ourselves in at the hotel and airports right? All because we want it now. We want it faster, faster, faster. I can scan my groceries quicker than the teenager behind the counter. I don't want or need to stand in line to check in when there's a kiosk that can do it for me right? It's the age we live in. Fast food and drive thru windows, 4G wireless connections, Smart phones and iPads. Everything is fast, and at our finger tips.

So what has become of Customer Service? Now a days we think of it as the place to exchange something, or the complaints department. How many times have you called to "log a complaint" only to be transferred to Customer Service, or had someone on the other end immediately pick up the phone and say customer service, how can I help you?

And what about the cost of Customer Service? My DW once called an 800 help line regarding a computer router issue and was told by the representative that for 60 dollars they could help walk her through the problem? What? So now I have to pay for a service you provide, or at the very least, a service I thought you provided when I purchased the product. No thank you. I think she ended up fixing it herself (my girls wicked smart).

I bring all this issue of customer service up because like I said, me and some guys were talking about it today, and we sounded like a bunch of old crows talking about simpler times, and back in the good ol days. Also because like I said, most of the time in my position I am the customer and recently I had a supplier basically tell me that I could do it myself if I wanted.

See that's exactly what these large companies want. They don't want to be bothered with our complaints, or our grumblings over their product, because they know we'll come back regardless. I'm sure we've all done it. We storm out of a place so mad we can't see straight because we didn't get the results (service) we thought we should have, vowing to never return. Only to find ourselves returning at some point, because we've calmed down, or it's quick, or on our way. Whatever the reason we go back, and deep down we wish we didn't have to, but we do. 

So I guess if you find that business or company that really cares about customer service, and cares about the act of taking care of you before, during, and after the purchase, you should take note and relish in the fact, because in my opinion they are few and far between.



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