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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Awesome Customer Service – NOT!

When I was a child and was able to read, I remember seeing signs in just about every place of business that gave the ‘rules of customer service.’ Rule #1 was the Customer Was Always Right. Rule #2 Was When the Customer is Wrong, Refer to Rule #1. In this day and age of big box retailers that are at the mercy of shareholders, it’s hard to find businesses that adhere to these rules anymore.

I can remember knowing the owner of the local grocery and hardware store. We knew who owned the Dairy Queen and the gas station where they came out and pumped your gas for you and cleaned your windshield off with no tip expected. They would take your money and bring you change because credit cards didn’t exist back then. Business was done over a handshake and people kept their word. You shopped with local people to keep them in business and Made in China stamped on the bottom of an item was the exception rather than the norm.

So call me old fashioned if you want. In my humble opinion we’ve lost a lot of great customs and ways to appreciate our customers in this electronic age. Advances are great in a lot of ways but not at the expense of customer relationships.

A couple of weeks ago, I came home from my full time job over lunch to do some training with a partner in my business. It’s important to me that if they are going to take some time to work with me, that I make time for them. On the way back to work, I pulled through Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC as many refer to it. I’m a sucker for the grilled chicken and the owners are Aggies so I tend to support as many local businesses as I’m able. So I order my food at the little speaker and she repeats it back. So far, so good as that’s half the battle in getting exactly what you ordered.

I pull around to the window and luckily I’m the only one in line at this given moment. I hear her taking another order though so I know others are behind me. There are people putting the orders together and ticking them off the screen. I happen to see one of the sacks get knocked off the counter and onto the floor. I can see that none of the food spilled out onto the floor, it just happened to land upside down is all. I’m thinking to myself and hoping it’s not mine but I can’t tell in the assembly line of orders that are ready on the counter which is which.

The girl comes to the window and I pay for my food and she runs over to all the sacks and pulls one out. I still can’t tell if it’s mine or not. I get back to work and get ready to eat and lo and behold all the mashed potatoes are stuck to the lid of the container. It was mine after all. Thank you KFC lady for the yummy upside down food. I suppose I needed a lesson in the fact that gravy all mixed into the potatoes is just as good as only on the top of them.

While grocery shopping yesterday at Wal-Mart (I only buy groceries here because they are the cheapest in town), I of course bought eggs and several other grocery items. While the cashier is bagging the groceries in my reusable grocery bags, she slides the eggs down sideways next to the frozen pizza. So they are now sideways in the bag. Not laying flat in the bottom and stuff on top or anything, they are sideways. I grab the bag quickly and lay the entire bag sideways on my cart with the eggs on top. Once I get to the car I put them in a separate bag so they are safe and check them to make sure none are broken. Luckily they are all ok. So am I too picky with that? I think not. A little common sense and rules of bagging should apply here.

These are but 2 examples out of hundreds and probably not the worst. I worked in retail for 15 years and I and my friends could probably write a War and Peace size book on all the stuff we saw and learned over the course of several years. What is your story about some really bad customer service?? Please comment as I’d love to hear it!

Kathie Hitt

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