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Customer Service in 2022

It seems good customer service has almost disappeared from the business world. All businesses compete on price, quality, and service. It is not possible to excel in all three. Businesses need to decide which their customers value most and focus on that. If I were starting a business now, I would focus on customer service because it is so poor.

When I go into brick-and-mortar stores, I ask the first available staff where to find my item. Typically, there is one staff at the check out register and one or two re-stocking shelves. They tell me an aisle number. I go there and am confronted by numerous brands, models, and sizes all at different prices. What I need is for that staff person to go there with me and, based on what I need, suggest one or two items for me to choose from. Within minutes I am paid up and gone.

Self service has been taken way too far. It is very cost-effective for the business, but very inefficient for the customer. I refuse to do self-checkout. That is my bottom line. If I have a question for my insurance company, doctor practice, or medical laboratory service, the automated telephone menu gives me 10 plus choices, none of which apply for me, so I press O for operator. Typically, the automated phone puts me on hold for the next available representative. Then I listen to terrible music for a few and up to 30 minutes. When I finally get a representative and ask my question, they do not know the answer and either transfer me to another worker or offer a call back. Sometimes, number 2 person cannot answer and transfers me to the third person. When number 3 transfers me back to number 1, I know I have been had. Good service would be for number 1 person to be able to answer all questions or offer a call back before the end of the day and then call back.

Many businesses do not even seem to have any follow up process to ensure the service promised the customer is delivered. I have been left hanging so often. I always follow up with a phone call or email. Often, I find my order has been lost, and we start over.

Occasionally, I find a business with good customer service, and I become a repeat, local customer and recommend them to others.

Repeat, loyal customers are extremely valuable for a business. They provide reliable revenue to pay the businesses fixed expense. If treated well, they refer new customers who, in turn, become repeat customers.

Ralph Coker