Thursday, April 15, 2010

"Customer" Service

I remember sitting in a movie a few years ago. The scene was a 1950's-era gas station, full-service of course. When the attendant came out and was courteous, attentive, and seemed to care genuinely about the driver and his vehicle, the audience erupted in laughter, which I'm certain was not the intended aim of the movie's director. He was simply trying to set the scene. The laughter instead was derived from the fact that the attitude displayed was so totally foreign to us today that it was comical. Whatever happened to customer service?

Today, you don't have to go too far to see overwhelming evidence that it has evaporated into the past. Simply stock of old Leave it to Beaver or Andy Griffith reruns. Just open your eyes and you will see:
  • Store workers who arrive for shift and park in the spots closest to the door.
  • Cashiers who wear ear phones, listening to music, while they are attempting to interact with the paying customers.
  • Cashiers who make customers wait while they have a leisurely chat on the phone with their friends.
  • Delivery men who come to your house and are surly, rude, and unkempt.
  • Store workers who use foul language when they interact with you.
I was always told growing up that you can tell a great deal about a company or business by how the secretary in the lobby acts and performs her duties. If she is attentive to the customers, energetic, honest, and competent, you can likely bet that she is a good representative of how the company operates. I believe that the same can be said for businesses in general. Their workers are an accurate representation of their corporate identities. Those who tolerate lazy, rude, and inconsiderate workers don't give a whip about their customers, only their money.