Customer Service , what happened?

2Legit2QuitTx
2Legit2QuitTx Posts: 322 Member
So I’m an 80’s kid.. I remember a lighter, friendlier time.
I was little then, so I’m sure everything seemed less complicated... but still.
Is it me or have people just forgotten what customer service is?
Biggest pet peeve is being interrupted at a drive thru while ordering when they say “Is that it?!” In a tone that makes them sound put out for having to do their job.
Self check out in Target that has one lane open and 72 lanes closed.. its kinda like they said.. “you know what? YOU do it!” Lmao!

Anybody have similar experiences?
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Replies

  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,762 Member
    I havent found customer service to be decreasing - most service providers are friendly and helpful ; occasionally someone is not.
    Just like most customers are - but occasionally someone is not.

    I dont think that has changed over the years.

    i do think all of us have a tendency to look back with rose coloured glasses to the good old days when everything was perceived to be better.

  • orangegato
    orangegato Posts: 6,548 Member
    Agree with all responses above. Also I like self checkout, bank ATMs instead of tellers and wish I could pump my own gas in New Jersey. Also like shopping online. Those things are better than the 80’s to me.
  • beagletracks
    beagletracks Posts: 5,989 Member
    edited March 2018
    bojack3 wrote: »
    I truthfully and embarrassingly think customer service is more about me then them. If I'm in a good mood then it all goes well. If I'm in a lousy mood than its easy to pick out how horrible the service is. I noticed this a while ago, so I do my best to keep myself upbeat. I have noticed better customer service since then.

    I think this is true. It’s also about perception. To me it seems it’s gotten better, but I think that’s part my perception and part because I’m older and look like I have money to spend. When I was younger I might have been offended by a customer service provider’s bad mood or inexperience, but now I try to improve their moods and show sympathy, respect, and patience. Of course there are days I’m so filled with bile I simply shouldn’t interact with people.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    So I’m an 80’s kid.. I remember a lighter, friendlier time.
    I was little then, so I’m sure everything seemed less complicated... but still.
    Is it me or have people just forgotten what customer service is?
    Biggest pet peeve is being interrupted at a drive thru while ordering when they say “Is that it?!” In a tone that makes them sound put out for having to do their job.
    Self check out in Target that has one lane open and 72 lanes closed.. its kinda like they said.. “you know what? YOU do it!” Lmao!

    Anybody have similar experiences?

    I have not had these experiences.

    My annoyance is we used to get big thick instruction manuals for everything and now we get a one skimpy page instruction for much more complicated devices. You have to scour the internet or call someone if you have the slightest problem.
  • MarcA1218
    MarcA1218 Posts: 570 Member
    I work in customer service at a credit union and we have to bend over backwards as our norm. But I do agree with most other places the customer service is horrible. And when we get good- great service somewhere we do tip big and/ or let them know. But at least 50% of the time when I go somewhere now a days I don’t expect the same service I would have 10- 20 years ago. It’s a sad state of affairs...
  • seltzermint555
    seltzermint555 Posts: 10,742 Member
    I don't think it's changed all that much when it comes to the customer service people themselves and how polite they are. I think, at least in my small city and most of the places I visit on trips, it's pretty decent.

    I worked customer service in high school & college and managed a video store for awhile later on (early 2000s) so I have a ton of experience in retail and 2 things I have observed/considered...

    #1 - in the past we didn't have to worry about constant customer satisfaction surveys and possibly losing our jobs due to an angry bitter customer - or people reviewing us on sites like Yelp and saying how awful we were because of a problem/issue that was not OUR fault. I'd imagine this is hard to deal with, especially if you really try to do a good job and people still gripe about your service.

    #2 - people of the current generation tend to speak a little differently. They almost never say "thank you" but instead it's "Sure" or "No problem" or just a blank face. I am used to it, but I know a lot of people especially older than me (I'm 41) have a very hard time accepting this as polite. We used to have to say things like "Thank you for shopping at X Store! Have a great day!" and while it was a little fake (of course) it was what people came to expect. It's changed, most places.

    On the other hand...I do think all of the self checkout stuff is annoying, because I know the companies are cutting jobs when they have those lanes available. It's also very annoying to me when I have any type of special offer that isn't easily redeemed via self checkout. Target seems to be the absolute worst for that because I go there all of the time, use Red Card and Cartwheel, etc, but I NEVER go to the self checkout because I always have trouble using coupons, gift cards, etc. I'm not an extreme couponer or anything...this is just like, me buying 6 items and having a special offer or gift card and not being able to get out of their stores without waiting in one of the few open checkouts behind another customer with a heaping cart. Not cool.

    As for the customer service workers themselves, I am more likely to cut them slack when I know they are part-time and not exactly getting great pay and benefits. For me, I take more offense at poor customer service when it comes from a provider that DOES offer competitive pay, full time positions & decent benefits package. For example the Department of Motor Vehicles, cell phone providers in general...places like that. I am not very lenient in my judgment of people who just seem to have a chip on their shoulder. Fortunately I conduct so much business online that I barely have any issues with customer service.
  • 2Legit2QuitTx
    2Legit2QuitTx Posts: 322 Member
    edited March 2018
    Such great responses guys, thank you for chiming in.

    While I do often try to be very nice to the people that serve me.. there are times where their attitude is overwhelming.
    I have worked in customer service in the past, and I know customers can be difficult, but you can’t take that to the next customer. That’s just wrong

    I truly believe that’s why we do so much shopping online these days. Convenience and the opportunity to not deal with rude people is appealing. We WILL pay the service fees to avoid bad service or rude shoppers
  • 130annie
    130annie Posts: 339 Member
    thank you seltzermint!
  • CaptainFantastic01
    CaptainFantastic01 Posts: 9,551 Member
    I was a service person and i did great
  • Quasita
    Quasita Posts: 1,531 Member
    I worked in face to face customer service for many years, and now I work in UX design. I think from an industry perspective, customer experience and satisfaction is actually one of the top focal points.

    What happens, however, is that people navigate the world we live in assuming that they continue to be part of the customer sentiment majority, when the reality is, they are becoming the minority. Statistically speaking and through customer opinion polling, the majority of customers prefer to have access to self-service, whether it is on the phone, online or in person, compared to having to talk to a live agent every time they have a need or question. It just so happens that automation benefits both customers AND corporations, so corporations are investing more money in automated technologies and solutions than they are in making sure every existing check out lane will always have a human body to staff it.

    As time goes by, you'll see it happen more. Customers are literally asking for more automated solutions... More and more customers going through self-service options because they feel they are more efficient, no matter how friendly the face might be. Fact of the matter is, if you HAVE to deal with a person, yeah sure, you want a friendly person, but the majority of customers are just as happy if they are working with an effective robot to conclude their errands. Customers tend to want to speak to live person mostly when they are having issues or are upset and want to be heard and have their emotions be understood... Something a robot is not currently able to do.

    So if the question is, are we noticing more automated solutions, then yes, of course, because that's a reality that's occurring... that's what most customers that have come up in the digital age want. Customers want delivery options, order and pick up, quick transactions, etc. Corporations want this too, as it affords them more money to invest in the things that actually make them more money... which, to be real, is not hiring a front end full of staff for a Target that only really needs a couple available cashiers to call on to handle the 1 in every 20 customers that will refuse to self-serve or the 20% of customers or so that are incapable of self-service for any number of reasons.

    At times, I do think the quality of the actual personal interaction is down, but I think that is sometimes more because of the volume of inquiries vs. staffing vs. the ROI on live agent training and support. Then, when you DO have the people that we deal with in person, they are oftentimes the lowest paid of our whole career spectrum because our society looks at jobs like working at a drive thru as a job for the unskilled, the young, or those people that don't desire to work hard.

    We cannot expect high value in interactions from people at a place like a drive thru while also expecting to get a 2/$4 deal on hamburgers or griping because the wait in the queue was more than 5 minutes. From my perspective, going through the drive-thru is effectively like going through the self checkout... if you want to get friendly service and personalized attention, it's best to go into a non-chain restaurant that isn't described as convenience or fast food. I feel the same way about places like Target, Walmart, etc... If you want personalized attention, go to the personalized store rather than the larger corporate chains. You can't go to a place and endeavor to get the cheapest prices but also get the best attention. Cheap prices are determined by the ROI of other developments, and live people simply don't pay.
  • seltzermint555
    seltzermint555 Posts: 10,742 Member
    I have worked in customer service in the past, and I know customers can be difficult, but you can’t take that to the next customer. That’s just wrong...

    I agree with this so much. I think people who do that (carry the bad attitude on to the next customer after someone difficult) are likely to burn out really fast.

    If anything, I tried to look at the next customer as being so nice & cooperative by comparison and probably gave them better service. Often a customer who sees another customer mistreating or berating the staff is going to be even nicer! I know on the other side of that as a customer, I am.

  • YosemiteSlamAK
    YosemiteSlamAK Posts: 1,230 Member
    My son works at Target and one of the things he told me after he started there was "If there is an available cashier, go to them, not self checkout." (The only exception being, if he is the cashier. One time, I may have filled my basket with what would amount to making your child want to wash his brain out with soap items, then going through his line.) Back on topic, he said if the cashiers are standing around or not actively advertising they are open, less people get scheduled or they get sent to another department for future shifts. The result of that being someone else doesn't get that department's shift.
    I work at a gym, we rely on folks walking through the door to continue walking in, tell their friends, try new classes, etc. If we have subpar service people go elsewhere and the number of staff we schedule lessens. Additionally if staff underperforms or continually get substantiated complaints they don't last long. We have trainings at least monthly and have great mentors for incoming staff. Of the 9 gyms in our company we have one of the top (typically 1st-3rd) customer satisfaction percentages in all departments.
  • 2Legit2QuitTx
    2Legit2QuitTx Posts: 322 Member
    My son works at Target and one of the things he told me after he started there was "If there is an available cashier, go to them, not self checkout." (The only exception being, if he is the cashier. One time, I may have filled my basket with what would amount to making your child want to wash his brain out with soap items, then going through his line.) Back on topic, he said if the cashiers are standing around or not actively advertising they are open, less people get scheduled or they get sent to another department for future shifts. The result of that being someone else doesn't get that department's shift.
    I work at a gym, we rely on folks walking through the door to continue walking in, tell their friends, try new classes, etc. If we have subpar service people go elsewhere and the number of staff we schedule lessens. Additionally if staff underperforms or continually get substantiated complaints they don't last long. We have trainings at least monthly and have great mentors for incoming staff. Of the 9 gyms in our company we have one of the top (typically 1st-3rd) customer satisfaction percentages in all departments.

    So to that point, so you think these places, target, Walmart and such have so few lanes open because people aren’t shopping there as often anymore?
    I mean I can totally see that.
    I think people choose online and other avenues BECAUSE of *kitten* experiences. Whether that’s service or dealing with other rude shoppers.. it seems we want to be around other people less and less when it comes to shopping.
    What I can say, without a doubt.. is customers reflect workers.
    If I have a great cashier and they are bubbly and nice.. I smile a lot, joke with them and walk out with a smile .
    If they seem put out for scanning my items, I more than likely will self check out the following time.
    Yes, I want to be “serviced” with a smile.. I want to hear those manic words “thank you” for coming in.. maybe I’m just old school.
    I’m not a sensitive person, but I think part of the markup that I pay for your items is so that you will be appreciative.
  • RaeBeeBaby
    RaeBeeBaby Posts: 4,246 Member
    edited March 2018
    orangegato wrote: »
    Agree with all responses above. Also I like self checkout, bank ATMs instead of tellers and wish I could pump my own gas in New Jersey. Also like shopping online. Those things are better than the 80’s to me.

    I've had both good and bad service just in the last few days. Good service makes me smile, bad service makes me laugh. No reason for me to get cranky over it. I just think "gee - too bad your life sucks and mine doesn't".

    I just returned a microwave that was too large for the space to Lowe's. The salesperson was very nice. Then I bought some paint and moulding and used the self-checkout. There was a person there who had to help me (due to a markdown on the paint) and she was also friendly and helpful. It seems when using self-checkout I always need assistance anyway, so not sure where they're saving money in that regard.

    Then went to Sears and purchased a different microwave. Salesperson was great! Checked on some specs for me and also gave me an extra discount that I wasn't expecting.

    Compare the above to shopping at Target a few days earlier. In the children's department there were clothes all over the floor, sizes all mixed up and not a great selection. I found a couple things and went to check out. The saleswoman seemed annoyed. Told the lady behind me she was closing, then rang me up and stuffed the clothes like wadded balls of tissue into a bag. These were gifts for my granddaughters, so when I got to the car I had to take them out and fold them so they wouldn't be a wrinkled mess going into a gift bag. Oh well, not the end of the world.

    I live in Oregon and we also do not pump our own gas here. I would not want to do that anyway, so I have no problem sitting for a minute waiting for the attendant especially when it's cold and nasty outside. Whenever I travel to Washington and have to pump my own gas I end up with stinky hands and the price is NOT lower because of self-service.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,762 Member
    My son works at Target and one of the things he told me after he started there was "If there is an available cashier, go to them, not self checkout." (The only exception being, if he is the cashier. One time, I may have filled my basket with what would amount to making your child want to wash his brain out with soap items, then going through his line.) Back on topic, he said if the cashiers are standing around or not actively advertising they are open, less people get scheduled or they get sent to another department for future shifts. The result of that being someone else doesn't get that department's shift.
    I work at a gym, we rely on folks walking through the door to continue walking in, tell their friends, try new classes, etc. If we have subpar service people go elsewhere and the number of staff we schedule lessens. Additionally if staff underperforms or continually get substantiated complaints they don't last long. We have trainings at least monthly and have great mentors for incoming staff. Of the 9 gyms in our company we have one of the top (typically 1st-3rd) customer satisfaction percentages in all departments.

    So to that point, so you think these places, target, Walmart and such have so few lanes open because people aren’t shopping there as often anymore?
    I mean I can totally see that.
    I think people choose online and other avenues BECAUSE of *kitten* experiences. Whether that’s service or dealing with other rude shoppers.. it seems we want to be around other people less and less when it comes to shopping.
    What I can say, without a doubt.. is customers reflect workers.

    I think it works both ways - ie workers also reflect customers - ie as with all interactions be calm and polite and other person more likely to respond positively.

    But, no, I don't think poor face to face person customer service ( which I see rarely anyway) is why people are shopping online and self service.

    I think it is just because we live in a digital high tech age and convenient for people.

    The reason I use an ATM isn't because the bank staff are not friendly - they are. The ATM is just quicker and more convenient
  • 2Legit2QuitTx
    2Legit2QuitTx Posts: 322 Member
    I’d consider Texas (at least south) to be one of the friendliest states. But maybe you just have a nice area where people smile and what not.
    I have seen a consistent decline in customer service and attitude here.
    It’s noticeable. It’s actually a frequent topic among people at various stores.

    Now the outraged and unreasonable shoppers.. that I get. I wouldn’t want to deal with them either.
    But I can’t write off poor service due to their wage. To me that’s a cop out. You knew the wage and the job going into it.. why not do the best you can and be the best you can regardless?
    I’ve worked for sonic when I was in high school and I was always friendly. Even if my boss was being a prick.
    Now that I’m older and have a successful career, I treat everyone well.. no matter what the situation. However.. stupidity and rudeness are difficult for me.
    As for an atm, I’m not sure I’d classify that in the same vein as self checkout. The convenience there would be the equivalent as a drive through target.. so I don’t think that’s the same.
    The reality is, people are not as friendly as they once were. For whatever reason.
    I’ve recently spent years around millenials and I can tell you, they don’t give af about anything but themselves. It’s a different generation. Different priorities, capabilities and interests. These will not be the 30 years at the plant folks. Many (not all) fee that they are OWED better. THAT to me is where the change is coming from.

    Earned Vs Owed

  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,762 Member
    The reality is, people are not as friendly as they once were

    No that is not the reality - it is the subjective perception of your experience.

    I havent found that myself.

    Not sure why you think the ATM was not a good example - but same goes for other examples - I dont use the self serve checkout because the checkout staff are not friendly - they are.
    It is just quicker and easier to go through self serve. Or to order online or whatever other examples there are.

    Just a reflection on the high tech digital age we live in - not on the friendliness or otherwise of service providers.
  • amyteacake
    amyteacake Posts: 768 Member
    I've worked in customer service for several years now. I still do and it's in a drive thru. I try my best to be upbeat but I will admit there are some days that aren't so great or a customer has done something that was rude and puts a damper on your mood.

    It's difficult to be upbeat all the time especially if you're having a bad day. I don't think one customer service employee being rude and self service checkouts really reflects the decline of customer service
  • gophermatt
    gophermatt Posts: 129 Member
    I’m as guilty as anyone, but our words indicate we want good customer service while our dollars have made WalMart the largest retailer in the world.

    Nothing against the people who work at WalMart, most I’ve met have been great. The low staff hours / customer help yourself business model is just so much more successful. Regrettably for those looking for good service, we’ve done it to ourselves.