Whatever Happened to…..Customer Service

altIs it just me or did society completely get off the service train long ago, only to watch it leave the station with no return trip planned?  Can someone please tell me when we went to a total self service model in almost every aspect of our lives?

When was the last time that you went somewhere and were really taken care of?  Leads me to ask…..

Whatever happened to…..Customer Service?

My wife and I don’t go out much, but when we do it is as though we are cursed.  It seems as though we have pulled the ignore card when it comes to dining.  Every since we started dating it doesn’t matter where we go in town, our service in a word, “Sucks!” 

Now I was raised to believe that if someone was going to lay down their hard earned, then you give them your attention in order to get a tip out of it.  Maybe it is my Christian belief that you do all things as though you were doing them for the Almighty, and maybe that is placing things a little too high for some. 

I recall one time at a famous pancake house, that we sat for 25 minutes before we even got greeted and then another 15 to get out drinks and order taken.  The food finally got to the table and it wasn’t right.  After, getting the proper order it was cold, frustrated by this point but hungry we ate it, my wife never got a refill on her tea and actually got up and went to the beverage station and refilled her glass herself.  We brought this to the managers attention and what does he do, he tells our server that we were not pleased, the server comes out and says, “My manager told me you were unhappy with my service, well I am busy, so if you need something, just flag me down.”  Really?!  Needless to say, there was no gratuity coming, in fact, a note was drafted that said “Thanks for making calculating your tip so easy.”

Surely, I am not the only person this happens to and like I said, it seems to be an epidemic in the service world.  When was the last time you went to a store and needed assistance and actually got taken to the location of the item you were looking for?  Does that even happen anymore?  I mean good luck in finding a worker first of all, then if you do they generally just point you to where it may or may not be.  I have been kind of doing a small experiment lately in that when I call to see if an item is available to ask more about the item and unanimously I get the same answer, “I really don’t know.”  Okay so let me get this straight, you are not sure if you have it first of all and second you know nothing about it.  Wow!  Congrats on your career choice!

Is it really too much to ask that, you set aside what you are doing, ( in some cases it is texting your friend) and give me your focus so that you can possibly make some more money?  I am not asking for you to manufacture the product, just get me to where it is so I can get my hands on it.

Now I don’t want to get preachy…..but,

I work in the service industry, I know what it is like to be busy and have to deal with servicing the customer.  That is just it, servicing the customer, if this is the business you have chosen, guess what, you chose it!  There really isn’t an industry or business around today that we are not waiting, servicing or taking care of a customer, be it internal or external.  All of us need to be willing to stop what were are doing or at least politely request a second, and help those that we rely on to pay our bills to the fullest of our ability.  Don’t know the answer, admit it and say, “Let me find out for you.” then and here is the kicker, DO IT!  I am not looking for super service just to be left feeling important enough to come back again. 

I hear tell of a restaurant in town where you have your own personal server that just takes care of your table.  I also hear that you pay out the nose for the experience.  I will be the first to tell you that I have no problem in making it well worth the time for me to receive even decent customer service.  Why is that?  Because I have been there, I have been on the serving end and I know what it looks like to take care of the customer.

I could go on all day and half of tomorrow about this, but I am sure you get my point by now. 

Some helpful hints to those that may read this and say, “Hey that could be me he is talking about.”  First, look people in the eye when addressing them, it helps them feel important and can’t help but make you focus on them.  Second, give them you name, I love going to a restaurant and getting my servers name and using it. Most people love the sound of their name being spoken, gives them a sense of intimacy.  Third, Do Not! I repeat do not ask how everything is when people have food in their mouth.  Give them a second to get adjusted and check back, when you do, have drink refills ready.  Lastly, ask them to come back.  Again, they are paying your check. I promise you that if you do these things you will be taken care of in return.

Finally, let me say this.  It does not matter to me if you work at McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, or the Warren Duck Club.  If you have chosen to be in service, be in service and don’t expect anything in the end.  Don’t get me started on tip jars at the places that I am paying you to do certain tasks, then you want a tip for handing it to me.  Understand that the customer is not always right, but they are always the customer. 


About the author:  Ernie Osborn is just a regular joe that sees life around him a little differently.  He is a former youth leader that believes that life should be lived to the fullest.  His views and opinions may or may not reflect those of Tulsa Today.  Ernie serves as Concert Editor for Tulsa Today.  (In other words, if his writing strikes you and makes you think, great, or if it just makes you laugh and scratch your head that is fine too)