6
   

Is Customer Service Getting Better? Worse?

 
 
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 10:27 am
I am finding it down in places populated with millennials, up at most other places. Fast food has been bad for awhile, coffee shops seem to be going bad, places with monopolies like the phone company and Comcast have been dreadful for awhile, most other places are the same or better.

How is your mileage?

EDIT: A few days ago when I was in WAlmart I got a checker who seemed new. This woman did not know what to do when an item did not have a bar code . She eventually flagged down an other employee, who refused to help her. She then did basically nothing for a few minutes till the customer said he would leave without the item. "Are you sure!" she says. So for one she was never properly trained and for two for what ever reason she is not calling for a supervisor when she gets stuck. I am guessing because she has called the supervisor too many times already. This is what Walmart is hiring now. This was I believe the most incompetent checker I have ever seen.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 6 • Views: 2,154 • Replies: 22
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 11:02 am
Last month my brother rented a houseboat for a week on Lake Shasta. They have rented houseboats all over the world. The company never prepped the boat. It was not fueled, the refrigeration (propane) was not on and it takes a day to get down to temp, and they had to call for life jackets. Never has he before gotten on his boat and found that it was not ready, usually in fact there is a fruit basket or something of the like waiting for them with their name on it.

Just goes to show that bad service can happen upscale, these boats are not cheap.
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boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 11:03 am
@hawkeye10,
I stopped in at New Harvest the other day to pick up a sandwich and thought I'd wandered into some kind of cult -- everyone who worked there was SO happy and energetic and my sandwich was really good to boot.

Same with the Dutch Brother's coffee shop I frequent: a young always cheerful staff who do their jobs very well.

Lately I've found the service everywhere to be good and I'd have to think hard to come up with a bad experience.
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engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 11:05 am
@hawkeye10,
I think it really comes down to management. If management makes good customer service the expectation and emphasizes it, the employees will step up. If management takes it for granted, it won't happen.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 11:09 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

I think it really comes down to management. If management makes good customer service the expectation and emphasizes it, the employees will step up. If management takes it for granted, it won't happen.


sure, but there are trends. Before the recession for about 10 years I noted a steady decline of service at high end restaurants, and that has completely reversed. People who have those jobs now are much more interested in doing them well, and they have the ability. THis speaks to the job market, before the recession finding good people was getting difficult, now because the pay is so good in comparison to other jobs and because of the lack of jobs good people can be had.
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 11:22 am
@hawkeye10,
Look at how many facebook questions pop up on poor, unrelated A2K. What does that tell you about facebook customer service? Well, as they say, you are not the customer; you are the product.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 12:13 pm
@hawkeye10,
Basically I have seen it seems one extreme or the other. Extreme good service or really bad service -- very little in between.

Just the other day, I was providing a roll over check to the financial company I am keeping most of my investments with. They were so friendly and doubled checked everything offering other help and making sure I was happy with my financial adviser, etc.

I was like damn - they are kicking up the service.

Then I go some where else and the person you are purchasing something from does not verbilize anything - you say thank you and you are given a blank stare.

On the phone too - I've received incredible over the top service and then rude terrible service.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 12:27 pm
@roger,
roger wrote:

Look at how many facebook questions pop up on poor, unrelated A2K. What does that tell you about facebook customer service? Well, as they say, you are not the customer; you are the product.


Internet companies thinking that they dont need to offer humans to talk to( or ones that can speak english)to their customers is a different issue.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 12:39 pm
I was reading a restaurant expert the other week who claims that restaurants across the board are having trouble with millennials. He claims that they show up to the job with far fewer communication skills, that they need to be taught remedial skills like how to talk on the phone and how to talk face to face with a person.

Maybe, but this generation also has less drive and less ability to operate independently then we have seen as well. They need constant micro management and need to have cheerleader support before they can get a job done. In my experience this neediness does not go away, it is not a phase.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:05 pm
@hawkeye10,
The culmination of this millennial problem is seen at the olympia Five Guys store, where I saw an open kitchen of 6-7 17 to maybe 22 year olds and one middle age guy to lead them. At least once every 10 minutes more often every 5 old guy would yell out a cheer loud enough for us in the dining room to hear as in " GREAT JOB BUCKAROO'S!" , "WAY TO GO TEAM!", "THAT TICKET TIME WAS GREAT GUYS!".....

Annoying as hell, plus it did not matter if they were doing a good job or not, my food for instance took forever with no apparent reason, but the cheer went off on schedule.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:13 pm
Hmm.

I do take it that facebook can be hard to figure out, only part of why I'm chary about it but a fair part.

In my now more 'small' life than I am used to previously, in a relatively new place, I find people generally friendly. In Albuquerque, it is other than people that gets me down (lousy city planning, lousy transportation, lousy signage, apparently well disliked police department, on and on). I know if I drag through my memory I'll find occasions when service was deficient, but that's not coming to mind right now.

My coffee shop is.. a shop for coffee, with bakery goodies and tables and chairs. I like the owner, and I've liked the people who work there, at least lately, and they're on the young side. The people at fav italian restaurant are generally paying attention, helpful but not obnoxiously so, good re both helping and leaving you alone. The people at the lesser italian restaurant closer to our area try like the dickens but they seem to have a manager that says run around looking busy at all times. That is soooo un-italian, at least re wait staff in italy. (Except in that wonderful food movie, Bread and Chocolate - let me recommend that flic.)

The people at my grocery are almost friends by now, even the shy-of-customers shelf people, once I broke the barriers that tend to be there.
In contrast to the only one of my several grocers in northern california - Safeway - that I tended to avoid since it was the least interesting store in the area. Anyway, I knew one of the worker's mate, via my own work, and he said they would be fired if they weren't consistently asking people how are you today while the people were shopping in the aisles, and similar stuff. I hate false friendly.... makes me surly, even if I don't respond surly.
This present grocery store staff is realistically helpful and friendly to a non-sticky extent. They vary widely in age. Some do say hi now when I'm in an aisle, but that wasn't right away and wasn't programmed by bosses.

I agree with engineer, re management being a key, but it may also have to do with the general, um, mode of the town.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:21 pm
I've even found Walmart workers helpful, including non-phony nice. It's the place I don't like, not only the business model as such, but that it's damned dangerous for an older person less sure on foot, what with the cart rush, sort of like a cattle rush at some times of day. I feel I should wear cleats to go there.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:21 pm
@ossobuco,
Re management we have a sex store chain called Lovers which used to be pretty OK then three years ago everything changed. Now you get accosted at the door, if you say that you dont want help or are " just looking" they will go away for about 2 minutes and then be right back up in your face " are you sure I cant help you find something?". You have to be very rude to them to get them to leave you alone. I have concluded that management changed the pay structure, now who ever rings up the sale gets a commision. I had the problem 4 times in a row in three different stores.

I dont go there anymore unless I need something on no notice. I go mail order, much cheaper and I dont have the very poor customer experience.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:31 pm
@hawkeye10,
That reminds me of a dress shop (the name before boutiques) in Westwood Village. I liked the place, but I kept getting helped/hovered at by an older woman - this was when I was in my early twenties. Even then I understood - she was from the Bullocks Wilshire department store generation, where that was the way in the salon rooms. I'm afraid I snapped at her more than once. I was more polite back then, though, so those were probably soft snaps.
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hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:40 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
I've even found Walmart workers helpful, including non-phony nice. It's the place I don't like,

My local Walmart is a horrible experience..... store looks worn out, carts need replacing, carts are usually all over the parking lot, last time I was in there were no carts to be had unless you went out into the parking lot to get one, shelves are poorly stocked, checkout lines are almost always long, all 12 self check terminals are closed after 11 or so, the electric rides are either not charged or the batteries are crap so they run out of juice and people abandon them in the store....

And yet one of my last times in a guy from customer service had nothing to do so he came out and snatched me out of the long checkout line, and rang me up, acting all customer servicey as he did it.
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PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:50 pm
I notice the at the local Meijer's store checkout, the first thing the cashier asks is "Did you find everything alright?" I always say yes, but once I said, "Well you stopped stocking the XYZ jam I liked. " No response. She just looked at me blankly. The whole thing is an empty gesture.
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 01:58 pm
@PUNKEY,
PUNKEY wrote:

I notice the at the local Meijer's store checkout, the first thing the cashier asks if "Did you find everything alright?" I always say yes, but once I said, "Well you stopped stocking the XYZ jam I liked. " No response. She just looked at me blankly. The whole thing is an empty gesture.



This happens very often. I was once at a burger king and they had an obvious retard in the dining room wiping tables and asking everyone if the food was OK. I said that the fries were cold and then she moved on to the next table like my words never made it to her brain.

Costco is the only place of all the places that asks this question at the register that I can count on anything happening. Usually it is in the store and they moved it, as costco moves things constantly, and an employee will go get me one. A couple of times they were not sure so they went to the store computer to look up the item, once is was not in stock the other time they got one for me. Anywhere else this is usually a pro forma question, part of a script mandated by management, that will only sometimes get a customer service response.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 02:46 pm
@PUNKEY,
Ah, but not at my Brooks market. Ms. food/restaurant/cooking obsessed chases possibilities down, and I get answers. The Brooks checkout people at least write it down.

The first thing I chased, years ago, was fish boullion cubes. I know how bad they are but I liked them. Turned out they stopped being manufactured, and they eventually told me they couldn't get them.

They had a store brand of feta cheese I liked. They stocked it once in the sort-of-fancy-cheese display (this is not Sonoma County); a major seller feta cheese I find boring is there all the time. They had the feta I liked from France stocked once but gave up, apparently I'm the only one who bought it, and it was a budget nudge so I didn't wimper. But the store brand that showed up tasted good to me. Wasn't there the next time. I asked. It's been some weeks, but it's there again, in the ordinary cheese aisle. Whoop.

I've been on a bread making kick for it seems a long time now and partly for economy I make all my own, a learning process. I eat less bread (a) and it's pretty good (b).
Mostly I make italian breads, now increasing the starter phase timing so quite sour dough. But I'm interested in rye breads, one of them italian (Bolzano), and that calls for malt syrup.
Old fashioned bagels do too, and I want to play with making bagels.
Anyway, that is how I got to know the manager of the store better. He never did find malt syrup (what is that? - and there are two kinds) to suddenly supply it to almost zero customers (I'm sure it's online, but I try to avoid shipping costs). I figure I'm a one person niche.

Ever after that he always at least nods to me, has been known to wave. Anyway, he listens. I think he must be a good manager. The people who work there keep staying there.

Meantime, I see a balance going on. One of the reasons I liked the store in the first place was that it had a lot of new mexican and mexican products. It was unsophisticated to me otherwise when I first went there. It has improved from my view on things like different flours, asian products, and so on, but also stayed in the zone on new mexican food items.
Except, the chile (how you spell it in N. Mexico) is now less interesting.
I will have to talk with him. Their dried chiles were how I have have been learning.
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FOUND SOUL
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 03:08 pm
@hawkeye10,
I think that Management are too focused on making money as so many businesses are closing, or bad critic is given even to food chains, especially the meat component of McDonalds so what do they do? Create a Monopoly game, so you can win "burgers"... They will still keep selling.

But, as such, some staff are over-worked, others are under paid or not given enough hours and have to seek more work, such a stressful situation all way round.

The only service I note that is "great" is those that aren't over worked or under-paid and for the most part, just started out in business. I'm sure once they are doing 90 hrs a week for little money whilst growing, they too will lose the service.

I choose a great company to do my photography, brochures, signboards 3 years ago. 3 years later, they don't even invoice me for 2 months and when they do, they demand early payment, or if you send back a proof asking for the brochures in two days, you get an email, well if you gave it to me the night before. All of a sudden they are so busy they can't keep up, stressed and rude.

One restaurant I loved going to as I felt special who doesn't want to feel special when dining out, changed most of their staff. One started her own restaurant (good for her), another moved Interstate and the other followed out of there once those two were gone. Nothing is the same except the food. No personalised service just robots.

I too can't handle being followed around, "oh this would suit you", yep, no it won't thanks I'll just look. "how about this? " ...

Also peeved me to see someone sitting back reading a book not even looking up, I kinda figured ok, seeya. Yet we don't want all the attention there is the extreme.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Oct, 2014 03:15 pm
@FOUND SOUL,
Quote:
But, as such, some staff are over-worked, others are under paid or not given enough hours and have to seek more work, such a stressful situation all way round.


That covers Walmart for sure, the fast food places not so much because until the $15 min wage kicks in there are still a lot of employees running around each store. A lot of them will get fired. Fast food places with loads of employees and still super crappy service get me pissed more than any other bad service. Loads of employees and dirty stores is the absolute worst, I turn and run.

Quote:
The only service I note that is "great" is those that aren't over worked or under-paid and for the most part, just started out in business. I'm sure once they are doing 90 hrs a week for little money whilst growing, they too will lose the service.

I see that a lot, a year or so into business both the food and the service in a lot of mom and pops gets bad due to financial stress and physical exhaustion. . I see it too in chains sometimes, it has happened here with the Ram, the Rock and Hopjacks, regional chains that open great and then lose focus as company leadership turns its attention to the next opening.
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