You would think with all of the customer surveys we via e-mail and the little cards you see at hotels or restaurants that say "please rate my service", we should start to see an upgrade in the service we get from businesses every day. I am here to tell you the exact opposite. I think we will see a continual decline in the service we get from all types of businesses, and for the life of me I can't remember the last time I got really good service.
I've always believed that happiness is often dictated by expectations met or unmet. Many of these businesses are always curious to know what you thought about the service, but rarely when your turn comes to actually get some service does it get done. What happened to the age old adage that the customer is always right? In today's customer service queues, the on line representative will spend most of their time telling you it's not their department, it's not their fault, and most importantly it's not their job to solve your problem. The most annoying of all may be that you have to enter all of your information on the touch tone phone only to have a representative ask you for your information again. When I asked the last customer service representative why they bother to have me put in my information if I am only going to have to repeat it again to them, they replied "I think it has something to do with routing your call".
It isn't just the large companies. If you eat at most local restaurants, nobody is even training the wait staff on how to actually serve a customer. Here are two ideas the restaurants should think about. Number one, nobody eats dessert the moment that the choke down the last bite of a half pound burger. You would think even if someone didn't get trained, it shouldn't be very hard to put two and two together that after stuffing down dinner that dessert might not happen at that very moment. Give us a few minutes to at least digest our food. Number two, please let us enjoy our last bite before you are ready to clean our plates. I can't tell you how many times I am literally eating my last bite of my sandwich and there is someone in my face ready to take my plate away. Newsflash . . . people like to chat and talk with their clean plate in front of them for a few minutes before you take it away. It is all part of the dining experience! What's funny is that with all of that poor service, we are now guilted today into nothing less than an 18% gratuity even for lousy service. If you can't add quickly, many bills will actually have it calculated for you at the bottom of the bill.
So many times over the past several years, I have experienced bad service. It appears that this is the norm we should grow to expect in the upcoming years. If we expect nothing, perhaps we will be happier when we get slightly above nothing. For the businesses who want to improve, I have five suggestions:
- Return Phone Calls Within 24 Hours
- Do What Is Right For The Customer
- Your First Response Should Be We Will Solve Your Problem
- No Excuses
- A Tip Is Earned, Not Given
I live for the day again where service came with a smile. I guess in the meantime I'll just have to leave half my burger on my plate so nobody steals it from me.
Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®
Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc
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