Lousy Customer Service

I guess I’m just like a lot of people.  I don’t make tons of money and when I spend portions of it I expect a leastdecent customer service.   I’m low maintenance, not hard to please.  But, when I walk up to a counter to speak to a sales representative and the guy says, “Yes,” or “Yep” which I really friggin’ hate, it’s evident that the guy with the one word greeting skills needs some training.   Or, maybe just a Mydol.  (They work for women and men don’t they?)  Maybe the guy just needs a really good kick in the onions.

It just seems to me that far more often than not, I receive shitty service no matter where I go.  And, I hear others complain about it constantly.  One thing I have noticed though, is that when I travel to the US, the customer service I receive is typically (although not always!) much better than what I see in Canada.  I was in a Canadian store recently and had to buy 18 GPS units for a hunting and fishing guide training program I was teaching.  The units were priced at about $450 a shot.

18 x 450 = $8,100.

I walked in and stood there while the young chick behind the counter was transfixed and in fact, owned by her I Phone.  She ignored me for about 60 seconds as I stood there like I was lost at the zoo.  She finally and seemingly reluctantly looked my way and dribbled out a very monotone and unenthusiastic, “Hi.” That was it.  “Hi.”  I told her what I was interested in and she said, “Wait, I’ll have to get one of the guys.”  These are quotes by the way.

After about five minutes a guy showed up and greeted me with the standard-issue “What can I do for you?”  Man, I hate that line.  So thoughtless, uncaring and lame.  But, here’s the sticker… he didn’t even attempt a fake smile or offer any hint of politeness.  It was like his cat took a shit in his Lucky Charms that morning (not so lucky that day) and hadn’t yet found the inner strength to put the unsavory event out of his mind.  With his deadpan voice and his far-less-than-friendly demeanor, all I got was “What can I do for you?”  I felt like telling him that he could direct me to one of his competitors who has some basic customer service skills.  The problem was (and man, I hate this part) this was pretty much the only store in the city that would have the product I wanted or worse, needed.  Ach!

After just a couple minutes of his precious time, I had the unit picked out that I needed.  Now, here’s the reallyridiculous part.  I hadn’t told the guy that I wanted to buy 18 of these GPS units.  So, I guess the whole time he assumed that I might buy just one.   It appeared like he deemed me just another “tire kicker.”  When I said, “Okay, I’ll take 18 of them please,” I was expecting some kind of reaction from the dude.  Nothing.  All I got was “Okay, I’ll see if we have them in stock.”  It turned out that he had to order them, but to me, that wasn’t a big deal because I didn’t need them for three weeks and they were expected to arrive in a few days.  I had to pay for them before he could (or would, perhaps) place the order though.

When the transaction was complete I did something I often do when I receive poor customer service.  Just to see what the final reaction will be and to confirm to myself that I am not being too critical, I said, “Well, thanks very much for your excellent service.”  And, I didn’t say it in a way that he could have detected any sarcasm whatsoever.  His reply was again a staple of shit-service front line workers everywhere.  “Not a problem.”  No smile, no handshake, not even a “Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out.”

$8,100 plus tax… fifteen minutes.

I could relate many instances of such brutal non-service.  And, I could relate some great ones too, but I’d have to sit down and really think in order to recount more than just a few of those.  Almost every single time when I spend money or even discuss a product with someone with the purpose of spending money in the near future, I do the same drill.  At the end of the transaction or sales consultation, I say, “Well, thanks very much!”  I just want to see what they will say.  Incredibly, I almost never hear a “thank you” in return.  What they should be saying (and at least thinking) is, “No, no, sir, thank YOU!”

I’ve worked at many customer service jobs in my lifetime and I owned a half dozen businesses where customer service was everything.  And, believe me – I know as well as the next guy that we all have off-days, plenty of behind the scenes personal problems and concerns not relevant to the task at hand – dealing with customers.  But, guess what?  Suck it up, asshole!  Take your shitty attitude, cover it with butter and shove it up your ass!  It does not require any effort to be polite, even if you have a customer or client that is a little harder to deal with than some.   And, they’re out there.

When I teach my fishing and hunting guide training program, most of it has to do with customer service.  I say the same thing to each class.  When you’re working, imagine that you’re on stage.  You are performing to a certain degree.  Imagine a famous rock star who, just ten minutes before going on stage in front of 40,000 people received a distressing phone call of a personal nature.  Well, guess what?  The rock star has a choice of either cancelling the show and disappointing 40,000 people or he can put his personal problems to the back burner for now and go out there and rock.  99 times out of 100 he’ll go out there and rock.

So, if you work in the customer service industry, especially in sales, put yourself in the mindset of a rock star.

Get out there and rock!

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