Is Customer Service Dead?

I realised recently that customer service seems to be a thing of the past despite all the hype in the last decade about CRM and managing relationships more effectively. Good, reliably, friendly service is the exception not the norm.

Twice in the last week I have been charged full price for sale items and when I pointed out the error I was treated with resentment verging on hostility by the cashier. I have stood in line at both a major coffee house and a national music store while a gaggle of servers a) joked about Angelina’s lips and b) discussed their hangovers rather than address the growing queue. And the problem doesn’t end with retail organisations. A mortgage advisor recently suggested that I was “threatening” her because I was going to get quotes from other banks. How strange is that?

My mortgage is now held at another institution, I make my own latte and I buy music online. See a pattern here?

Companies are loosing valuable clients because they don’t understand how to provide the kind of service their customers want. All it takes is a little thought, care and attention to customer needs.

In search of a strawberry pie, I stopped at a small independent baker I hadn’t tried before. They only had one pie left and the juice had marred the top so they gave it to me for free. I didn’t even ask (in-fact, I would have happily paid full price). Now that is customer service. And guess what? I stop and buy from that store every time I am in the area and I’ve told all my friends to try them out.

Perhaps larger companies could take a leaf out of the book of my baker and increase customer satisfaction rather than cow towing to shareholder expectations. A happy customer will buy more, more often and companies wouldn’t have to spend wadges of cash trying to attract customers back so shareholders may even be happy too.

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