Are We Witnessing the Death of Customer Service?

My wife went into an upscale store last week.  She was looking for something specific.  She saw three workers in the store.  One was staring intently at his phone.  The other two were in a conversation and too busy to notice her.  No one acknowledged her.  She looked around the store for a few minutes and walked out frustrated, buying nothing.  I’m quite confident she told a few other people her story.

I received a credit card in the mail last week.  I thought I had closed the account long ago.  I called the financial institution to close the account.  I had to enter the credit card number, my birthdate, the last four digits of my social security number, and a few other details before I could talk to a person.  After my fat fingers incorrectly entered the data a few times and the automated system repeatedly said, “I’m sorry.  I do not understand what you are saying,” in response to my expletives, I had to tell the customer service representative all of the information again.  To add insult to injury, the CSR told me the account was closed in 2015.  She could not explain why I got a new card.  I wish I could have that twenty minutes of my life back.

Every business wants to be as efficient as possible.  In the first case, the company probably did not invest in training for their employees, resulting in a lackadaisical attitude.  In the second case, the company probably has two systems that do not talk with each other, resulting in duplicated work and wasted time.

Customers understand mistakes happen.  They do not understand apathy or systems that frustrate them.     As simple as it sounds, a business cannot exist without customers.  It amazes me how often that is forgotten.

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