Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Join Me in a New War

Okay so I'm sure we've all noticed the downward spiral of customer service in the past few years, but now it just seems to be getting to the point of ridiculous. Have we become so numb that we just roll over and take it. Are our expectations so low that the stores meet them every time? Balogna! I think it's about time we stand up and demand a certain level of civility from the companies we CHOOSE to spend our hard earned money.

I think we should reward those who get it right, and bring to light those that are a bunch of slackers. Case in point: today I would like to highlight two recent experiences I've had, one bad and one good.

The Bad: Yesterday Clare was so kind as to stay with my kids so I could run up to Safeway (on Rt. 40 in Catonsville) to pick up a few things. I was rushing a little more than normal because I knew she was waiting for me. It took me about 30-45 minutes to load up my cart, but when I headed for the check out I was quickly overwhelmed by the long lines. They had 2 express lanes open (only one with a light on) and 2 regular lines open (again only one with a line open). It almost felt like we were being herded like cattle (being led to slaughter). I could feel my blood begin to boil. It wasn't even a peak time. The cashier began ringing up my items over 30 minutes after I first entered a line. Everyone could tell that was not excited to be there. There was no greeting, no friendly smile. Heck, she didn't even ask if I had a Safeway card. She simply rang up my items. I made a comment about the wait and she made no response at all. She did her job (granted not well), I paid, and was about to leave when I realized that I wasn't doing anyone a favor by leaving angry.

Turning my cart around I rolled on over to customer service and asked the store manager for a comment card. I could tell he was frustrated by my request, and when I explained my disappointment, his response was, "uh well the times are hard on us all. My hands are tied." Luckily for him I kept my cool. I get that the economy sucks right now. Everybody gets that because no one will let you forget it. So is that the excuse now? We don't get good customer service because the economy is bad. Here's my advice Safeway...figure out a way to keep your customer's happy now because we still have a choice and right now, I choose to go to Super Fresh or Shoppers or any other store that treats me with respect and courtesy. You'd think that in times like these, companies would be bending over backwards to make you happy.

The Good: You all know about camp, right? Well this is the time of year that we're not only bringing in money, but we're also spending it. Last week I went in search of a stamp with our camp logo on it. I browsed several sites, and chose to get quotes for three. One I never heard back from. One sent me a response that was generic and really didn't answer my question. The last one (who was actually the first to respond) emailed me the next morning and let me know that he could make the stamp, but the way our logo was set up it wouldn't come out very well. He even went through the trouble of inverting the colors in the artwork so he could present us with a quality product. Steve at simplystamps.com gave me what I would consider great customer service. I didn't even have to entertain the other company's quote because I knew I had found someone that would treat me right.

The stamp arrived this morning and it's just what I wanted, and the price wasn't too shabby either. I was actually surprised at the low price. Considering some of my research I figured we were talking $50-60, not $30. So if you are in need of any kind of stamp I highly recommend www.simplystamps.com.

So there ya go folks. I encourage you to share your war stories as well. Don't leave a store angry, fill out a comment card, talk to manager, send an email. Let's declare war on poor customer service.


candace said...

Amen to that.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, that Foster angst shines through. I love it. My wife hates when I speak up but companies have to wake up and realize that customers will shop even when times are tough.

The Lilly Pad said...

I have been so frustrated with customer service lately too. We went to Applebees with a group last week at 11:30 for lunch and it took over a hour and 15 minutes to get our food and the kids food was cold. The manager was a jerk about it. All of my other friends got surveys with their receipts. I did not so I got on their website and posted a complaint. The owner of the store called me and apologized and is mailing me a $30 dollar gift card. None of my friends did their customer surveys. That is why people get away with crappy service. The owner told me she had never heard of a complaint about the store. This applebees has a reputation for having bad service. So I am all about telling management!