Things I learned about customer service this weekend

by Ashvini on March 4, 2014 · 6 comments

in Business

I really don’t understand why companies leave customer service sections/department to unconcerned management and staff.

This weekend was full of experience with three different businesses.

Car rental service

I had to take service from car rental services as I could not drive my own car for some reason. The driver reached at my place half an hour late and after that he drove terribly. This kind of experience is not new with the car rental that I use but this service was a little expensive and thus I expected better service.

The problem was obviously bad driving by the chauffeur, however when I complained to the car rental service about this they apologized to me about this. A few mails then were exchanged within the company , to which I was party to and that was it. My follow up yielded no result.

Completely tired of following up this was my final message to them .

image

Supermarket chain

Yes, I know that supermarkets make you work . They make you pull groceries from shelves, put them into your trolley , stand in the queue , put items on billing conveyor, fill up your bags with purchase, put them back in trolley and then haul them up to your car, while they take yID-10067396our money with a smile. One supermarket chain here was  a little more friendly. They offered to pack groceries into bags for you. From now they removed this facility. Now we are inline with “international practices”, customer services be damned.

It is very difficult to haul things when they are heavy and the shopping becomes a tiring experience rather than a happy one. I can see old people working to their muscular best in order to get the groceries to their car.

I would love to go to small businesses if they could offer similar range of products because they would get things for you, bill them, fill them in bags saving the effort for you.

In the end I have shifted my shopping to online business. I get the service and the prices are competitive.

I believe that with the supermarket chain , its more about lethargy of management than anything else.

Finally something to cheer about

It was surprising when a bank that I went to get some work done this weekend, even though I had closed my bank account, solved my problem without a fuss, without a charge and in time.  The customer service was excellent and was delivered with a smile and a dash of humour. Who thought that a bank could be so friendly?

They did listen to feedback to customers when they did something wrong before and they considerably improved their service.

So not all news is bad Smile .

So what did I learn?

  • The best way to beat competition is to provide better service.
  • If there is a cost to it , better let it be known upfront.
  • Instead of destroying value, add options. Be innovative.
  • Do not lethargy seep in to destroy the value to the customer who have more choices than ever before.
  • Put your best people in customer service. The story about them spreads far and wide

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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{ 6 comments }

Barb Brady March 12, 2014 at 4:31 am

Hi Ashvini,
I finally made it to your site. I like it !!!

This post is great! You and I think alike. I put importance on my job and how I treat people. I try to offer great service to the people I work with. (In my other life I am an Accountant and I could be dismissive but I’m not. I try to explain things and be helpful). As I build my blog, I am going to keep those same values.

So, I get so annoyed with how the world is changing. I can’t believe the lack of effort sometimes. Ok, this post hit home because sometimes I go to my gym early in the morning. They have decided to blast the music because the manager, I guess, likes it that way at night. The problem is that loud music when there are 100 people in the gym at 6:00 pm is a lot different than when there are 20 people in the gym at 6:00 am. It’s way too loud.

You would think that a simple request to turn down the music a little for a short period of time once in a while would not be too much to ask for. It is! Forget customer service . . . forget customers . . . even though my buddies at the gym would like it lower.

So, this post hit home! I value customer service. I wish I could find it more.

P.S. you have great customer service. That is what you are known for.

Barb

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 13, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Hi Barb,
Thanks for reading the post and commenting :).
We all have our experiences of bad services and we know how much businesses need to improve. The gym story is a real dampener. Loud music in the morning in gym is definitely no no.
I only hope we can help business understand the value of customer service. To do that sometimes we have to start with ourselves ( that is why I try to be as prompt as I can be to support the plugin).

Thank you Barb for the comment once again and its great to see you here.

Adrienne March 7, 2014 at 10:42 pm

Hey Ashvini,

Don’t you hate it when companies totally ignore what you share with them and just go about their business? Sounds like that car rental company should have paid more attention to you but it’s obvious that they just don’t care.

I hate grocery shopping with a passion. I hate how things have changed so much that you’re right. We have to do all the work these days. Now at our stored they will bag the groceries but most of them you have to put those bags in the cart yourself and of course no one helps you carry them out anymore. I worry about my Mom since she’s 88 darn years old for crying out loud. These people should help the elderly which is why I have to go with her now because I don’t want her carrying those heavy sacks. They load them down so you need a cart to get them in the darn house. My goodness, what’s happened to these companies today! It’s obvious they only care about making money and nothing else.

Glad you had a good experience with the bank though. One out of three, that’s pretty bad.

Have a good weekend and hope you’re feeling your old self again.

~Adrienne

Jeevan Jacob John March 6, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Fortunately, many companies are realizing the value of customer service…so, it’s all good (although the rate of change itself is slow).

I can’t wait to see how customer service will evolve…imagine if most companies decide to pay attention to customer service? What then…do we compare how they treat us? (Or do we compare them based on how the service reps look? We do judge people by their appearance).

Thank you for sharing your experience, Ashvini :)

Daria Steigman March 5, 2014 at 12:52 am

There’s a grocery chain, Publix, that’s sadly not in my area but has the best customer service. They’re friendly, and they not only bag your groceries (common in the U.S.) but they also offer immediately to carry them out to your car. This is true if you’ve purchased 2 items or 2 dozen.

Counter this to a different store where they couldn’t scan the price on a case of water without my lifting it out of the cart and onto the conveyor belt — and then they had to lift it from the conveyor belt back into my cart (because they were bagging…). Worst part of the story: the cashier was rude to me because I didn’t initially haul the water out of the cart. ‘Cause, you know, I thought I’d save HIM the heavy loading.

Sigh. Customer service really shouldn’t be a point of differentiation, but merely a doh.

Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

Hi Daria,

Aww.. That was a really bad experience. I believe customer service ( or lack of it ) is universal. Here when things were going great, all companies wanted to woo customers. Now that we have lost the growth because of slowdown, they are back to old ways. I don’t understand it ( may be I am a little more demanding customer) why do they do this? Slowdown is time for customer consolidation and building loyalty.
Thanks for your comment and hope you are having a great day.

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