The good, the bad and the ugly of customer service

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For some time now, I’ve been wanting to rant and rave about the good and the bad customer service I’ve noticed in and around Valencia County.

One of the reasons I haven’t opined about this subject is because every time I think things are looking up, it just gets worse and worse.

Since I’ve been on this whole lifestyle change thing, not going out to eat isn’t on my weekly or even monthly calender. But the other day, my coworkers and I decided to treat ourselves and went to a popular local restaurant.

It was nice to see that things such as good customer service is an every-day occurrence in most of our local eateries. The waitress was attentive, the bus person was cordial and we all had a very lovely time.

But I can’t say the same for a lot of other places I visit, whether it be in person, online or even on the telephone. It takes a lot to get a rise out of me (just ask my coworkers), but when someone isn’t doing what they’re paid to do, it just irritates me.

For example, earlier this month I walked into a store, which I will not name, looking for a birthday gift. I went to the jewelry department. Nothing. I searched in the clothing department. Again, nothing. Then, I walked over the to the back of the store to the “gift” section.

What do you think I got? Nothing — nothing in terms of customer service. No one came to ask if I needed help. No one was around just in case I needed help. Nothing.

It’s not like there was anyone else in the store at the time, and all of the employees I saw were just standing around talking to one another. It was only when I started to walk out that the clerk asked if I found everything I needed.

“Nope, I didn’t, but thank you,” I told her as I scooted myself right out of the store, probably never to return unless I hear from someone else that their customer service has improved.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect someone to wait on me as soon as I walk into a store, but I was always taught that whenever someone walks into your place of business, you greet them with a smile and ask if they need assistance. It’s just common sense.

Not only have I noticed poor customer service in person, but more than once I’ve wanted to scream while slamming the phone down because the person on the other end makes no sense or doesn’t (or won’t) help me with my particular situation.

How hard is it to be courteous? How difficult is it for someone to actually do their job, and do it to the best of their ability? Is it really that hard to ask someone what they need and try to help them as best as they can?

Apparently it is.

I have actually never written one of those nasty letters letting managers know about there lazy and/or unresponsive employees. But I have called local business owners and let them know my experience — both good and bad.

Some people believe bad customer service is something we all have to put up with. While some customer-service slights can be stomached, egregious customer service cannot.

While the saying goes, “the customer is always right,” we’ve all been in that situation when no, this particular customer is just wrong. Sometimes, the customer is just dead wrong. And yes, I’ve been wrong. But when I am, I always try to be courteous and even apologetic.

I know how hard it can be to always put on a smiling face, and I know that we all have good and bad days. But sometimes I just wish I didn’t have to always be the one on the other end of someone else’s bad day.


-- Email the author at cgarcia@news-bulletin.com.