Service - the missing component?
We have certain expectations when we enter a store, a restaurant, or a fast food establishment. Fast, friendly, efficient service is something we may come to take for granted. Until, or unless, it is missing. Many corporations advertise about their service. And it used to be that you could expect to be looked after well, regardless of the establishment you were paying at.
Changes in service
Increasingly, I have been finding that the type of customer service I have been experiencing does not live up to my expectations. And I find myself wondering if others are experiencing the same. Instead of a line being moved along quickly, or some friendly chatter while with the cashier, watiing times are increased and the chatter is often with a co-worker.
A case in point
I could cite a number of recent examples of poor service but today's is freshest in my mind. Today, while standing in line waiting to order a bagel and a coffee at a chain, that deals in such fare. I was next in line to be served, when suddenly both cashiers disappeared from behind the tills. As I watched, the two cashiers and two other workers flocked over to a non-working employee to chat. Any thought of the people in line was clearly not present as there was not so much as a backward glance to their waiting customers. While greeting a fellow employee may not be amiss, leaving customers waiting, while socializing seems a bit much. After waiting for several minutes, the customer behind me said in exasperation, "Do you think we're invisible?" to which, I replied, "I don't know but I've had enough time to decide that I don't need what I was going to order as much as I thought. And they obviously don't think my money is important." With that, I turned and walked out., the employees still happily ignoring their customers and chatting on.
So instead of buying a bagel and a coffee at an inflated price, I drove to the nearest store and bought six bagels for the same price as I would have paid. This was not the first time I have experienced poor service there but it will be the last in awhile. I will not be returning to that establishment in the near future. I can certainly pop a bagel in the toaster for a few moments before leaving in the morning and make myself a coffee. It has been easy to go to a fast food establishment but thankfully these disinterested employees have given me a cure for that. I remember bringing food from home along on trips from when I was a child. I will now be reviving that tradition. I will be saving money and I will also not be subjecting myself to being poorly treated by people who are employed to give customer service.
Are my expectations unreasonable? Perhaps. Yet when I deal with the public in my own work, I always am sure to be courteous, efficient, and take care to meet their needs. I do not dish out rudeness or poor treatment and I do not expect to receive it.
Perhaps the very concept of service is outdated. Yet I do believe that courtesy and a job well done are good for both the doer and the receiver. Perhaps customers simply need to step up and start voting with their feet and spending their dollars elsewhere, as I did today. Without customers, or at least with less, management will have to look at what is going wrong and they may address the issue at hand.
But my expectations for kind, fast and courteous service remain.
What are your thoughts on the subject? I would be interested to hear.
I'm not sure if this is a regional problem and would welcome feedback about it.