What Happened to Customer Service?

I don’t complain on my blog too often. In fact, I generally try to keep things fairly positive here. However, after some bad experiences this week I’m wondering…What happened to customer service?

I guess I should rephrase that and say what happened to good customer service. The service we receive from many companies out there is fair at best. I have no doubt many of these companies employ good, hard-working people. But, overall, the level of customer service is often horrible.


I really wish I could answer that question. I know that, in the past, many organizations would do whatever it took to make the customer happy. Not anymore. Good customer service is so hard to find. Allow me to give you a few examples of the poor service I have received recently.

  • The good old, out of touch, US Post Office. I can remember the mailman that delivered to my house when I was a kid. He always delivered the same time every day. He was courteous and provided great service. If the package was too large to fit in the mailbox, he would get out of his truck and walk it to the door. Contrast that with the service I receive from the Post Office today. The carrier rarely delivers the same time each day. Over-size packages are generally stuffed in the box. And, forget about reliable, on-time shipments. I recently ordered something that was shipped via the USPS. It left San Antonio, TX on 8/18, traveled to Hebron, KY (why, I do not know) where it departed 8/20. It then went to Memphis, TN before finally arriving to my home in Franklin, TN on 8/29. The USPS has yet to respond to my e-mail complaint.
  • Fast food restaurants. I took Elise to lunch at a popular fast food place (with big golden arches :)) Sunday after church. The service I received there would have been better had my dog been the employee. When I approached the register to place my order the girl behind the counter was looking away…at what, I’m not sure. I waited. After several seconds I said hello. She looked at me, with no emotion, and said absolutely nothing. I proceeded to place the order, and she turned to speak to another employee. Then looked back at me and said, “What?”. I repeated my order, she took the money and did not speak another word. When I said “thank you” she just continued looking down at the register.
  • Grocery stores. Generally I experience good service at the local Kroger, where I usually shop. However, this happened just a few days ago. I was using the self check, as I often do. I had coupons, which I often do. When I pressed the coupon button, the electronic voice told me to give them to the attendant. I looked around and saw no attendant. So, I waited…and waited…and waited. Another cashier noticed several customers waiting, so he tried to flag down the attendant, who I discovered was standing near the front door having a conversation. I then noticed an employee in a tie (a manager or assistant manager, I assumed) step over near the self check lanes. He looked around, but said nothing. So, more waiting. The assistant finally appeared and cleared the screen. I pressed the coupon button again and was told to give the coupons to the attendant. He again cleared the screen, so I had to go through the process again. Fortunately this time he got it right. He offered no apologies for making any of us wait.

These are just a few examples of things I see often. I understand the importance of good customer service. I know there are times when someone is having a bad day or may be distracted by something else, and the level of service may be less than par. However, those times should be rare exceptions, don’t you think? I think that anyone working in a service or retail environment should be focused on providing good customer service . Am I wrong?

What examples of poor customer service would you like to share?

What are your thoughts on why we receive such poor service?

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