I am generally not a person who complains about much and I am usually pretty tolerant of people and their mistakes, but one of my biggest pet peeves is poor customer service.  As a teenager, I worked at a part-time retail job and I prided myself on being helpful and courteous to customers.  Now, when I am a customer, it annoys me when I do not receive good customer service and most times, I will comment when that happens. 

Many businesses including ours must be able to rely on their employees providing good customer service to its customers.  While no business or employee can expect to have a 100% customer satisfaction rating, we can all strive for perfection and should!  Employers should recognize those people that belong in customer service and weed out those who do not. 

We’ve all had bad customer service experiences with both small and large businesses that can leave us frustrated and angry even when a ‘supervisor’ tries to remedy the situation.  I sometimes wonder how they stay in business.  On the other hand, some supervisors really do care how their employees treat customers.  As customers, we all need to be vigilant and be sure we are treated in a fair and respectful way.  I have been known to make complaints about poor customer service, but I have also been known to compliment exceptional customer service.  

A few years ago, during the winter, I was on my way to the office with my daughter and we were at a local Dunkin Donuts drive thru window.  To make a long story short, I ordered a hot chocolate, and then a Dunkaccino for her and neither was available, so I resorted to coffee with cream and sugar and received an iced coffee.  When I commented:  “I didn’t order an iced coffee.  I ordered a hot coffee.”  The rude and snippy reply I received was “You didn’t SAY you wanted hot coffee.”  There was more to this exchange and as I drove away, I became more incensed.  I called the manager and described the situation.  I shared with her that I owned a small business and I would want to know if my employees were treating our customers that badly and would not tolerate an employee who was that rude to customers.  She was apologetic and offered me coupons for free food and coffee.  She indicated that the employee would be terminated because I was not the only person to complain.  While I appreciated her coupon offer, I declined it telling her that I thought good customer service was more important.  It’s too bad someone lost their job, but if it wasn’t this incident, it would have been another.  She just wasn’t meant to work in customer service. 

More recently I had a poor customer service experience with a very large company.  I had a home repair appointment scheduled with Sears for a certain day between 12:00 and 4:00.  I arranged to receive a call on my cell phone 30 minutes in advance of the arrival so I could leave work and arrive home for the appointment.  They were happy to provide this arrangement, but because I was worried about it, I called that morning to confirm my appointment and to verify that the notes were clear regarding my arrangement.  I was assured that the notes were clear and the technician would call me.  By 3:40 there was no call.  Upon reaching a live person, I was informed that the technician did call me at home but because I didn’t answer, he cancelled my appointment.  I tried to speak to a supervisor and was left on hold for over 20 minutes.  When I finally spoke with a supervisor on a second try it was to no avail.  The supervisor was indifferent to the inconvenience their mistake caused me and was only interested in knowing if I still wanted an appointment.  She should have initially acknowledged their mistake and apologized, but she never did.  Even though I was still near the window of my appointment time (I at least started my calls to them before 4:00), I was told that no technician was available that day.  The best she could offer was the next day between 12:00-4:00 and as I was deciding if I could fit it into my schedule, she said “Never mind.  That appointment is now taken.  The next available appointment is in three days.”  I can’t express how angry and frustrated this type of inept service and poor attention to detail makes me.

I vented, now let’s hear your customer service stories, good and bad.  We can all relate to them!