Will "the Mighty" Strohl

What has happened to Customer Service?!

Customer service is something that each and every consumer once took for granted. Now, most business owners, and supervisors wouldn't recognize it was if it hit them in their groins. It has seemingly become an endangered species.

In every industry it comes in a variety of fashions. It could be a cashier (or "associate" as companies like to say now) simply taking the time to explain selling points of a product. Sometimes, this is a simple as using a respectful tone and language while on a telephone call. There are many different ways to provide excellent customer service without much effort at all. Sometimes, customer service is to people who are not even customers, or who are potential customers later down the road. For instance, an internal Technical Support Call Center would provide service to their own employees. Each fellow employee is a customer. Professional drivers deal directly with customers during each lane change and intersection - provided that there are other drivers on the road.

It is deeply saddening that customer service values are going on the way side. I have found myself boycotting more and more companies due to it. This is not to say that excellent customer service does not exist. It definitely does. However, these days it normally takes a complaint in order to see results.

I have dealt with representatives from companies like Bed Bath & Beyond, Taco Bell, 7-11, Subway, K-Mart, and more. (Yes, there was more than just the food industry.) These are normally all companies which portray a front that tells me they are serious about customer service practices. Although, 7-11 has proven to me otherwise since. Each company provides a method for you to easily provide feedback on customer service experiences in their business - good and bad. As with all other aspects of customer service, the company must adapt to the needs of the consumer. This should not be limited to various methods of sales. This should also be applied to all areas of consumer interaction.

I am namely speaking about methods of contact. If I am the type of person who enjoys filling out a card and dropping it in the mail or a comment box, so be it. Should I be the type of person who prefers to speak to someone over the phone, it should be made available. And if I should find myself as the type of person who prefers sending in an e-mail - this should be an option to me, as a consumer.

I am also a small business owner. Every single person in the world is a potential customer and must be treated accordingly.

Not only am I a small business owner, but I also keep a full-time job for stability. These days in this country, it is imperative that you have more than one plan to stay afloat. Now, in my interactions with various people throughout the day, I have business cards which are given out, a web site address, contact forms online, P.O. Box for mail, e-mail addresses, and a phone number - all of which can be used to contact my company for ANYTHING. This is a great example of such a small piece of good customer service.

Recently, I have been noticing a downward trend at a business I frequent at least once a week for breakfast on my "running-late" mornings. This is a Burger King location near my full-time job. Usually, their service is palatable, and their food substantially good (we are speaking about fast food afterall). However, lately I have been given wrong orders, burnt food, wrong order sizes, etc. I am a patient person, so I always wait it out initially to see how things go before my first complaint. This place has not changed and you never truely know what you have until you are several blocks away and you bite into a cold sandwich, or burnt bacon.

Today I decided to complain about them and another local appliance sales and service company, ServCo. Low and behold, a large corporation like Burger King cannot provide an online form, or e-mail address to contact them about this specific problem. This is simply not acceptable. The ServCo company has less information to be found online. All I have to go on is an address and phone number. By the way, one of their vehicles was cutting off vehicle after vehicle south-bound on the Florida Turnpike this morning. Thanks to our forward movements in technology, I have a couple great pictures of this.

In this time of hurry up and hurry up some more, all method should be provided to account for the consumers needs and resources. This is just one of many deficient areas of customer service today. In my opinion, the number one deficiency is training. I do not mean the diploma type either. Some things can only be learned in the work force - by capable supervisors.

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