October 31, 2011

customer service. be all and end all? it should be.

“The customer is always right”. We hear this phrase a lot but how often do we actually see this in writing or in person? Does one rude member of staff in Waitrose mean we would never shop there again? Have you ever visited somewhere which has an air of confidence (and arrogance) and the casual customer service makes you want to go there more? Sometimes, as a customer, I don’t think we have as much power as we think, or are often told.

For example, on Sunday morning I was in Leeds visiting friends. It was lunch time, we were excruciatingly hungover, but in high spirits. So, wrapped in our scarves and coats and crunching leaves underfoot, off we skipped to the cafe.

Then began the comedy experience. As we approached the bar, we were told that under no circumstances could we order for at least half an hour by an abrupt stern looking girl with a mountain of hair and a debatable amount of make up on her face. OK cool, we said, we’ll wait.

She fidgeted and raised an eyebrow as if to say I’m kind of hinting that you leave. 

We (practically) fought our way to the back of the table where we sat down sheepishly. “This is a cafe, right? We have just stumbled into some poor girls home and expected a bacon sandwich??”

A few members of the group had trains to catch and not to mention a few rumbling stomachs and dehydrated bodies from the jaeger concoctions of the night before. We were in dire need.

We finally (begged) asked for some water. Which reluntantly they decided to bring over. Which, actually, I think was accidentally left on the side so we went and got it ourselves.

As we watched the young bar staff pour themselves drinks and having a giggle behind the bar, a group of attractive boys entered the vicinity with their hoodies and trendy shoes on. Great, we thought, as the waitresses whizzed over and whipped out their notebooks, winking and throwing their heads back in an annoying flirtacious manner.

We finally got our food. The most irritating part of this whole experience? The food was great, the atmosphere was fun, the setting, annoyingly, was awesome with the decor resembling an record shop, with mirrors and lamps and old books and bright bold furniture. After the palava of being stressed angry and downright peeved at the quite frankly POOR customer service (they couldn’t have cared less if we were there or not), we smiled and paid politely (how british) and left. We even said thank you, twice.

Would I go back? Strangely, and quite frustratingly, yes, I definitely would.

  • Having a good customer service experience these days is a rarity. It’s ridiculous! Everyone seems put out all across the board!

  • I know, it’s such a shame. It’s seems like customer service is improving online through platforms such as Twitter (being able to immediately and efficiently respond to queries) but getting noticeably worse in person!

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