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Old 01-15-08, 09:36 PM   #1
Portis
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Customer Service. Pretty much gone.

I think i am aware of the reasons why customer service is becoming a distant memory. I understand the Walmartization of America and how we sacrificed our desire for customer service at the alter of Everyday Low Prices. But what i don't understand is why everyone drank the Kool aid and why we the consumers are so willing to accept it.

First of all, i must say that i am a service manager for a company and my job is to kiss people's asses pretty much all day every day whenever the time arises. We go above and beyond to accommodate our customers, in fact sometimes i think we go too far. I think a lot of the reason we do this is because my company is owned by an older gentleman who is probably doing it old school.

The thing that irks me is that I kiss butt with my customers all day long yet I don't go ANYWHERE and get the same treatment. I can give countless examples. A couple of weeks ago we traded cars. The salesman and staff of the dealership were nice enough but did absolutely nothing beyond bare minimum to get the deal done.

Then they got mad at me when i told them i wasn't going to finance through them. They told me that it was such a lean deal for them that i should at least finance through them so they could get the $200 kickback from the bank. That was just one thing. Then we ended up with only one key and they didn't give a crap at all. I also called the salesman on a couple other issues and he has promised to call me back and I haven't heard a word.

I can recite tons of other examples where people just don't give a crap and they don't follow through. It's no wonder everyone is buying everything online because you can do your own research and get it cheaper online. And besides you don't get any extra service with crap you buy locally because half of the sales reps haven't done the bare minimum like reading online to garner even the slightest bit of product knowledge.

It's scary how bad it has gotten in my relatively short 20 years of adulthood. How much worse can it get? It really makes me stop and think that most customers must be HUGE push overs because how else do these people stay in business? I end up raising hell everywhere i go, because i don't accept mediocrity or indifference.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:44 PM   #2
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Last car I bought I agreed to finance it through the dealer if they knocked some more off the price. Refinanced the loan through my credit union about a month later.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:48 PM   #3
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My belief, in 25 years of industry experience, is that customer service entities are not driven toward customer satisfaction.

They are driven towards managing the metrics that they mistakenly believe measure customer satisfaction.

For example, in a helpdesk scenario, what do you measure? What metrics are passed on to management? Do you measure how many calls are opened/closed? How many PR1 calls are closed in 24H (or your stated objective), or do you go back and survey the callers?

Is person motivated to solve the problem or to simply close the ticket?

I guess that I'm in complete agreement, but I believe it's been going on a while longer than you might suspect.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:49 PM   #4
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makes one wonder what happened first: the death of customer service ('cause it is dead), or customers turning into jerks (cell phone guy in the checkout line, for example).

i spent over ten years in retail. i was always polite and cheerful to my customers (hard to believe, i know).

but i had to get out - because the vast majority of them were complete asshats. i just burned out.

i'm so insanely glad i do all of two hours or so a week dealing with customers. it's so much better than when i was doing 60 - 80.

Last edited by jhota; 01-15-08 at 09:51 PM. Reason: i'm an eejit...
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Old 01-15-08, 09:50 PM   #5
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My belief, in 25 years of industry experience, is that customer service entities are not driven toward customer satisfaction.

They are driven towards managing the metrics that they mistakenly believe measure customer satisfaction.

For example, in a helpdesk scenario, what do you measure? What metrics are passed on to management? Do you measure how many calls are opened/closed? How many PR1 calls are closed in 24H (or your stated objective), or do you go back and survey the callers?

Is person motivated to solve the problem or to simply close the ticket?

I guess that I'm in complete agreement, but I believe it's been going on a while longer than you might suspect.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:51 PM   #6
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I think i am aware of the reasons why customer service is becoming a distant memory. I understand the Walmartization of America and how we sacrificed our desire for customer service at the alter of Everyday Low Prices. But what i don't understand is why everyone drank the Kool aid and why we the consumers are so willing to accept it.

Because Target treats you the same (actually worse than Wal-Mart)
Because Albertsons treated you like **** long before Wal-mart became known as "wal-martization"
Acutally because customer Service was long dead before Wal-Mart came around and became known as "wal-martization".

It has absolutely nothing to do with wal-mart and everything to do with Accountability. This country lost it's accountability in the late 60's and 70's and now we are living with a generation that has never heard of it.

Has absolutely nothing to do with Wal-Mart and everything to do with how the generations trained, taught and nurtured their children. It's a domino effect.

The only good thing is now those who want a scapegoat have it and so they blame it on "wal-mart" and everybody jumping on the bandwagon - because that's the easy way out and its what everybody tells you to blame iton.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:14 PM   #7
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It depends on how much each specific customer can affect the bottom line.

Big car dealer or discount store? No one cares.

Smaller non-franchised or client/project-based business? Word of mouth spreads fast, one bad review can be disastrous.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:29 PM   #8
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It depends on how much each specific customer can affect the bottom line.

Big car dealer or discount store? No one cares.

Smaller non-franchised or client/project-based business? Word of mouth spreads fast, one bad review can be disastrous.
Good point. Not accidentally when i bought the prior car it was from a small dealer, he followed up on everything he said he would do. Size does seem to matter. I think the farther you get away from the ultimate guy who owns the company being involved on sight the farther you get away from customer service.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:32 PM   #9
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I've found bike companies I've dealt with are about as customer service oriented as a kick in the nuts from a school bully.

But gun and knife companies in the US (not distributors, jut the actual manufacturers), aside from the God awful CAI, have been nothing but helpful.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:34 PM   #10
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Good point. Not accidentally when i bought the prior car it was from a small dealer, he followed up on everything he said he would do. Size does seem to matter. I think the farther you get away from the ultimate guy who owns the company being involved on sight the farther you get away from customer service.
All going hand in hand with how people are raised/trained/taught throughout their life. Most jobs in this world do not reward their employees and have not for many years. Going in hand with a generation that was never taught about work, pride and that there should be both in both and you come out with a world filled with people who neither care nor have any motivation to care.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:53 PM   #11
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I got a complaint card, from my resort bike rental days, that the customer service was too good to be true and demanded a refund.

Conversation at the local Wal-Mart:

Brad: "Can I help you sir?"
Me: "Yes, I'm looking for a dog harness."
Brad: "Those are over here, come on."
Manager: "BRAD! LEAVE THE CUSTOMERS ALONE AND GET BACK TO WORK!"

Yeah, service is dead as it was once known. Salesmen seem to be a little more then hustlers now, more interested in a quick big sale then building a lasting relationship with a customer. I tried to by a TV at Best Buy, but they insisted I spend another $500 to have it installed! No way was I going to fall for that scam. I can attached the enclosed TV stand, set it on the TV stand that we've had since forever, screw in the cable TV box, then plug in the DVD player/VCR. This guy insisted I needed professional installation to completely enjoy their TV. I told them go screw themselves and went to Aaron's and got a better TV, no money down (I had to pay for the whole thing up front at Best Buy, which wasn't a problem that day) and made three payments that totaled less then the set alone at Best Buy, and was never pressured into a BS installation. The TV works fine with myself installing it.

I then went back and bought a computer from them. Same 90 day terms.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:38 PM   #12
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Because Target treats you the same (actually worse than Wal-Mart)
Because Albertsons treated you like **** long before Wal-mart became known as "wal-martization"
Acutally because customer Service was long dead before Wal-Mart came around and became known as "wal-martization".

It has absolutely nothing to do with wal-mart and everything to do with Accountability. This country lost it's accountability in the late 60's and 70's and now we are living with a generation that has never heard of it.

Has absolutely nothing to do with Wal-Mart and everything to do with how the generations trained, taught and nurtured their children. It's a domino effect.

The only good thing is now those who want a scapegoat have it and so they blame it on "wal-mart" and everybody jumping on the bandwagon - because that's the easy way out and its what everybody tells you to blame iton.
sez the guy who buys all his groceries from Wal-Mart...

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Old 01-15-08, 11:46 PM   #13
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sez the guy who buys all his groceries from Wal-Mart...

Once again - you all are told to "hate" wal-mart and so you blame every problem on Wal-Mart. No Wal-Mart is not the problem. This was a problem long before Wal-mart came. It's a generational thing. The worse each generation is taught about work and pride the worse it gets. And it happens all over the place not just "at wal-mart" And Wal-mart did not precede it either, contrary to popular opinion as portrayed by the Media.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:48 PM   #14
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I got a complaint card, from my resort bike rental days, that the customer service was too good to be true and demanded a refund.

Conversation at the local Wal-Mart:

Brad: "Can I help you sir?"
Me: "Yes, I'm looking for a dog harness."
Brad: "Those are over here, come on."
Manager: "BRAD! LEAVE THE CUSTOMERS ALONE AND GET BACK TO WORK!"

Yeah, service is dead as it was once known. Salesmen seem to be a little more then hustlers now, more interested in a quick big sale then building a lasting relationship with a customer. I tried to by a TV at Best Buy, but they insisted I spend another $500 to have it installed! No way was I going to fall for that scam. I can attached the enclosed TV stand, set it on the TV stand that we've had since forever, screw in the cable TV box, then plug in the DVD player/VCR. This guy insisted I needed professional installation to completely enjoy their TV. I told them go screw themselves and went to Aaron's and got a better TV, no money down (I had to pay for the whole thing up front at Best Buy, which wasn't a problem that day) and made three payments that totaled less then the set alone at Best Buy, and was never pressured into a BS installation. The TV works fine with myself installing it.

I then went back and bought a computer from them. Same 90 day terms.
hah. Best Buy and Circuit City are like the Target, Whole Food Markets and etc's of Conns Appliances. Aaron's is like the Wal-Mart.

By the way, if you had bought it at Best Buy they probably would have called you non-stop asking you how pleased you were with your purchase. And when you told them not to call the number and to take it off of their list, they would then again call you back the very next day with the same question.
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Old 01-16-08, 12:33 AM   #15
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I'm so glad to be one-layer buffered from our customers. Doctors and scientists who mess things up feel that they are entitled to free replacements.

Tech Support to me: "So, I've got a doctor who rehydrated the product with PBS instead of d.i. water. Will that impact the results of the assay?"

Me to Tech Support: "Yes. The doctor is ******** and needs to learn to read the all the instructions before just rehydrating everything however he sees fit. Tell him to buy a new kit because we don't sell spares for that reagent."

Tech Support to Doctor: "Our engineer has informed us that the assay will not perform correctly, and we need to get a replacement reagent out to you." (proceeds to send out free replacement.)

How I'd actually phrase it to the doctor: "Listen. I don't care how you did things at East Elbonia Medical College. Here in the real world you have to read and follow the instructions, and when you don't do that I'm not required to send you a freebie. Unlike golf, science doesn't have Mulligans."

(This is why they pay me to solve problems, and not talk to customers.)
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Old 01-16-08, 01:53 AM   #16
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I had a similar experience at my car dealer with only one key. I waited patiently for over a month and i was always the one calling about it. Finally I received a customer service survey in the mail and let the sales guy have it.

I got a call right away from the Service Dept Manager with an apology and a key the next day. I also got a free certificate for an oil change. Not a big deal but the thought was there.

I'd suggest going above the sales persons head with a written letter or a phone call to the manager with a follow-up letter. Sometimes the pen is mightier than the sword!
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Old 01-16-08, 08:41 AM   #17
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If you would like to hear my reply to this post, please press 2 now. Para Espanol, prensa tres ahora.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 01-16-08, 08:50 AM   #18
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The reduction in customer service is directly in line with the expectations of the customers.

People do all their investigation on the internet before they shop, so often the customer knows what they want or doesn't even want help when they go to purchase something, whether it be an iPod or a new car.

FWIW, Stuff is so cheap nowadays and technology changes so fast that it's easier to just throw it away and buy a newer, better, less expensive version of whatever you want than to deal with customer service.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:12 AM   #19
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I guess the two words that come to mind when thinking about my most recent customer service experiences are hostility and indifference. They act pissy towards me because i try to negotiate a good deal for myself and act indifferent when i ask for something.

It's kind of like: "You are here to spend money at our company, hurry up and give it to me and don't bother me."
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Old 01-16-08, 09:19 AM   #20
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I guess the two words that come to mind when thinking about my most recent customer service experiences are hostility and indifference. They act pissy towards me because i try to negotiate a good deal for myself and act indifferent when i ask for something.

It's kind of like: "You are here to spend money at our company, hurry up and give it to me and don't bother me."
Man, you should see how the company I work for bends over backwards for customers, whether they are multi-million dollar clients or Joe Schmoe down the block.

When the industry is uber-competitive, it does a lot for customer service.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:24 AM   #21
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I like the way the software industry deals with customer service. You pay through the nose for support of the product you pay retail for, and then wait inline on a phone tree to speak with someone whose native language is not your own.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:29 AM   #22
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I like the way the software industry deals with customer service. You pay through the nose for support of the product you pay retail for, and then wait inline on a phone tree to speak with someone whose native language is not your own.
Is that a fantastic business model or what????
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Old 01-16-08, 09:30 AM   #23
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I think i am aware of the reasons why customer service is becoming a distant memory. I understand the Walmartization of America and how we sacrificed our desire for customer service at the alter of Everyday Low Prices. But what i don't understand is why everyone drank the Kool aid and why we the consumers are so willing to accept it.

First of all, i must say that i am a service manager for a company and my job is to kiss people's asses pretty much all day every day whenever the time arises. We go above and beyond to accommodate our customers, in fact sometimes i think we go too far. I think a lot of the reason we do this is because my company is owned by an older gentleman who is probably doing it old school.

The thing that irks me is that I kiss butt with my customers all day long yet I don't go ANYWHERE and get the same treatment. I can give countless examples. A couple of weeks ago we traded cars. The salesman and staff of the dealership were nice enough but did absolutely nothing beyond bare minimum to get the deal done.

Then they got mad at me when i told them i wasn't going to finance through them. They told me that it was such a lean deal for them that i should at least finance through them so they could get the $200 kickback from the bank. That was just one thing. Then we ended up with only one key and they didn't give a crap at all. I also called the salesman on a couple other issues and he has promised to call me back and I haven't heard a word.

I can recite tons of other examples where people just don't give a crap and they don't follow through. It's no wonder everyone is buying everything online because you can do your own research and get it cheaper online. And besides you don't get any extra service with crap you buy locally because half of the sales reps haven't done the bare minimum like reading online to garner even the slightest bit of product knowledge.

It's scary how bad it has gotten in my relatively short 20 years of adulthood.
How much worse can it get? It really makes me stop and think that most customers must be HUGE push overs because how else do these people stay in business? I end up raising hell everywhere i go, because i don't accept mediocrity or indifference.
Stay tuned.

Actually this is a great potential business opportunity. If your business or service provides outstanding service these days, you really do stand out. That's why my business works. Here's another example: why is Apple so successful? It's the software stupid. I'm astonished at how bad user interfaces are on the cellphones, DVRs, ATMs and PCs I use regularly. When a company offers software that's easy and intuitive to use, people will gravitate towards it. Think Different.
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Old 01-16-08, 09:33 AM   #24
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Stay tuned.

Actually this is a great potential business opportunity. If your business or service provides outstanding service these days, you really do stand out. That's why my business works. Here's another example: why is Apple so successful? It's the software stupid. I'm astonished at how bad user interfaces are on the cellphones, DVRs, ATMs and PCs I use regularly. When a company offers software that's easy and intuitive to use, people will gravitate towards it. Think Different.
This message brought to you by Apple, Inc.
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Old 01-16-08, 10:57 AM   #25
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Stay tuned.

Actually this is a great potential business opportunity. If your business or service provides outstanding service these days, you really do stand out. That's why my business works. Here's another example: why is Apple so successful? It's the software stupid. I'm astonished at how bad user interfaces are on the cellphones, DVRs, ATMs and PCs I use regularly. When a company offers software that's easy and intuitive to use, people will gravitate towards it. Think Different.
I won't argue with that, but it's tough. The big successful companies can put a lot of pressure on the up and comers. You can have the best service in the world but people will always go with the lower price. If I start a fast growing electronics company that offers things like free in home service, etc. then Best Buy just copies the same thing and cuts prices 20% below mine. Bye, bye me.
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