Customer Service or the Lack There Of
Those who have been following, know my husband and I are downsizing. Prior to our realization that too much was weighing us down we were chasing bigger, better and more like many others.
Last year we considered trading in one of our vehicles for a larger SUV due to the terrain in West Virginia. My husband had talked with the dealer and we arrived (on Valentine’s Day) for a test drive. The sales man never acknowledged me. (Did I mention that my husband took me to test drive a vehicle on Valentine’s day, oh and the trade vehicle was in my name only?) I digress, the sales man proceeded to offer a trade value well under my vehicle value and continue to ignore me. I stopped him as politely as I could muster and we left.
Yesterday, my job led to dealings with the owner of this same dealership. I assessed the damage to the vehicle and provided an estimate. Long story short, he said “Honey, let your supervisor handle it.”
I maintained my professionalism but it’s hard to small while biting through your tongue. I did let my supervisor know the full situation and he was shocked by the dismissive tone from this local business owner.
Here is the thing, customer service comes from company leadership. My company has core metrics dedicated to customer service. Restaurants like Chick-fil-a are famous for their customer service. These standards are set by management. They are practiced by management toward both internal and external customers. It sets the entire attitude for an organization.
I am from the south, I call everyone honey or darlin’. If I say “bless your heart” the meaning is determined by the tone of my voice and the position of my face. I am not offended by a man or woman referring to me as “honey” in a friendly context, but when you say it they way you would to an errant child…you have another thing coming.
While on the customer service subject, why has it died a slow and miserable death is stores and restaurants? Locally, I can only think of 2 restaurants with outstanding service. None of my local grocery stores have pleasant customer service and we will not even discuss Wal-mart. Do not misunderstand, it is not everyone, but the culture of customer service is absent. It is a shame.
I can only speak for myself but it always makes my day better to know I’ve made someone’s day better by being pleasant or going a step beyond my required parameters. Good customer service is a kindness and is its own reward.