customer service

Decline In Customer Service: A Sign of the Times?

It is no secret that our economy has seen better days. I can’t even begin to comprehend the amount of people who have lost jobs, homes, cars, and their families over the past few years due to the mere fact of…..MONEY. It makes our world go round. So much so that we are forced to have it. We don’t want it, we need it. We take pride in earning it and spending it.

This love for money, however, creates a double edged sword…

Those earning it probably feel that the job they are working doesn’t provide enough of it. This is caused by a number of things. Many have been forced to take lower paying jobs and or secondary jobs to make the ends meet. Those spending it know how hard it is to come by and feel a sense of entitlement to it and may have some walls put up when it comes to using it.

Have you recently been in a position of spending your hard earned money and felt very negative about the experience?

As if those taking your money are not appreciative of it? I feel that store clerks and even doctor’s offices should be grateful for my patronage. This feeling leaves me very disappointed most of the time. For instance, I’m excited to have some extra spending money and I walk into a retail store and no one greets me. No one asks me if they can help me or help me find what I’m looking for.

I decide to make a purchase and feel as if I’m burdening the person behind the counter checking me out. I’m sorry; did I take you away from Angry Birds or Facebook? Or whatever it was you were doing on your iPhone before I rudely interrupted you to spend my money at your store? I’ve had the same feeling when calling a doctor’s office to make an appointment to, once again, spend my money with them. The person scheduling the appointment seemed irritated that I’m calling, doesn’t have any openings that can possibly work with my schedule and could care less.The doctor’s offices view me as a patient, but I’m also a customer….a consumer of their services.

All of this has weighed heavy on my mind lately. I oversee the customer service experience for my company. It is our policy to treat each potential customer with care and each person is treated the same as the next and the one before that. We are honored and thankful to even have you call us and be given an opportunity to earn your business. We will go above and beyond the normal call of duty to accommodate each person and each situation to give every customer the maximum benefit of every dollar spent with us. The fact you chose us to spend your hard earned money versus our competitor means a lot to us. All of our associates understand that our customers have a choice and we want them to choose us.

Mb>Why aren’t other companies doing the same? Why don’t their associates understand that their job is dependent on whether or not I spend my money with the business who writes their check? In the past, I would have blamed this on the teenager behind the counter who was forced to be there by their parents. This isn’t the case anymore. These people are grown men and women, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, grandparents even.

So what is it? I have a few theories. I believe people who are over qualified for their current positions were forced to take lower paying jobs or second jobs due to job loss and pay reductions in the past several years. We have people working retail positions, food chains, convenient store clerks that believe they are over educated, too smart, and too important to be able to relate to basic customer needs and expectations. We have companies that made the decision to cut costs by eliminating full-time positions to avoid ever-increasing health insurance premiums.

Many of these businesses are left with only temporary help or part-time associates. The corporate office thought the customers wouldn’t notice a change in staff, and they could save some money. Only trouble is the customers do notice, have noticed, and will continue to notice until there is another failed store or business. Are you seeing a common theme here? MONEY. It’s all about saving money, spending money, having money, not having money, wanting it, needing it, and finding ways to get more of it.

Smart companies will redirect their focus to basic business one-on-one customer service. Take care of your customers and they will come back to you, they will refer friends, family, and neighbors. Without spending any money in advertising your previous customers will advertise for you. This starts with the company’s employees. Hire people who want to be there, appreciate having a job, put the company and the customers above themselves. If you take your sole focus off of MONEY and focus on the customers, you will start a tradition of significance and excellence. Your business will grow on this simple basic principle. Be the difference, be helpful, be accommodating by bending over backwards to please and these attributes will be noticed by your customer and you will be rewarded. It’s not always about the money.

About the Author:
Candice is the Administrative Officer and Public Relations Manager at Total Exterior Franchise Systems, Inc. the franchisor for EXOVATIONS, a home improvement franchise headquartered in Cumming, Ga. She has been with the company for 10 years serving in several different positions before accepting her current role.