It is interesting to note that every once in a while, a column will spark a great deal of interest from its readers. I have heard from several of you about last week’s article in which I complained about the lost art of customer service.
I do realize that some folks don’t share my views on everything, and I’m quite comfortable with that. I can even cope with negative comments about my viewpoints and I can actually appreciate constructive criticism. This past week, however, I have received an overwhelming response to my comments, indicating that others are dismayed by the perceived lack of caring on the part of suppliers of goods and services.
In one email message, I was told that a problem exists in companies attempting to offer numerous products and becoming too departmentalized. The example that was given involved difficulty in dealing with a big box store.
Another person shared with me an issue with a pizza store. He ordered a specific type of pizza on the telephone. After the delivery person left his house, he discovered that the pizza that was delivered was a different kind.
He called the store and was connected to the person who originally took the order. That person blamed the customer for the error, saying that the order was repeated to him and he that he had agreed to it. From there, things got a little heated and he asked to speak to the manager. As it turns out the order taker was the manager! So much for customer service from that pizza joint.
One question arose in the feedback that I have received. Just how much of this service issue do we, as consumers, bring upon ourselves? After all, we all love a bargain, right?
We like to purchase items for just as cheaply as possible, but we demand that those items be of acceptable quality. Remembering the principal of price, quality, speed (pick two), unfortunately the speed aspect includes quality service.
Find a good deal on the internet? Great, no problem, order it and then do what? That’s right — we wait for delivery. We don’t mind waiting for the mail or the delivery service to deliver our ordered items, but heaven forbid if we have to wait for more than 10 minutes to check out of a big box store. Or worse yet, spend our precious time attempting to find someone who can help us locate exactly what we are wandering about the store trying to find.
Times have changed since the day of big department stores with large sales staffs waiting for us to enter so that they could then wait on us. Those companies are losing business to the discount sellers, who offer less than satisfactory service and to internet sellers who only need to fill and ship the orders.
Thankfully, there are still businesses out there that attempt to offer reasonable goods and services at reasonable prices and who can give reasonable service. But you must understand that if you are receiving a good product and excellent service, you are going to be expected to pay for it. After all, you do get what you pay for.
I once heard an old-timer say, “I will never criticize another man for charging less than I do; after all, he is a better judge of his value than I am!”
Final thought: This weekend marks the observance of Memorial Day, which is something much more important than the unofficial beginning of summer. Remember those who have made it possible for us to enjoy the pleasures we have of living in this great nation.