Customer service seems to be a thing of the past with self service becoming the norm today. Since we all buy groceries, let’s use them as an example. Some employees and customers became incensed when the self service lanes came into being. Those wanting to use the self serve were sometimes harassed by others saying that by using those, we were putting someone out of a job. Well that may be true but I generally get more attention from the machine than I do from a human cashier. Generally, the only acknowledgment I get from the clerk is “do you have your store card?” Other than that, they will inevitably be talking to a co-worker and the discussion involves a work schedule. “What time did you come in?” “What time are you done?” “When is your break?” Pay attention the next time you are in line and you will see that I am right about that. I have often joked that if I owned a store, I would put everyone’s schedule on a badge for them to wear so no one would have to ask. Maybe, just maybe, we could then move toward acknowledging the customer.
I am always surprised when I actually do get even mediocre customer service and isn’t that a shame? I will have to say that there are some grocery stores that promote excellent customer service like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Mariano’s and Publix. Publix is owned by employees and that really does make a difference when they have skin in the game. Trader Joe’s promotes teamwork and customer service in their training and it is a pleasure to shop there. Whole Foods is consistently on the list for Best Place to Work so they are doing all the right things. If employees are treated well, they respond in kind. Studies show how engaged employees effect the bottom line in a positive way.
True story my friend just experienced: After trying to order several things from a bubble tea shop and them being out of most fruits, he finally asked, what fruit they did have. “None,” was the answer. Now, couldn’t they have informed him after his first request they were all out of fruit. He tried to be nice and joke with the cashier. Her response was, “It’s not my problem. I’m just here to get paid. If you want a real drink, get some water.” It’s unfortunate that most retailers are missing out on additional profits because employees just see their position as a paycheck and benefits but not as a career choice. My mom always said, “I don’t care what you do, but be the best at whatever you do.”