Here is a question for all our ABC readers:
Why does customer service stink so badly these days?
I mean, all you hear is how customer service, which is the
one real way you can stand apart from your competition, is terrible. In a
York Times article, Chicago
small business owner Jay Goltz discusses the three reasons he has come up with
for the terrible state of customer service. He blames health insurance, crazy
pricing and the lack of a real merchant class in this country. Here is what he
has to say:
Because of the high cost of health insurance, many
companies have opted to hire a lot of part-time staff, which allows them to
avoid having to offer benefits. This creates a problem: It is difficult enough
to train full-time people. Having them there part-time and having a huge
turnover makes it all the more difficult.
Meanwhile, in the retail world, pricing has gone mad. It
used to be that stores would have four sales a year to get rid of stale or
seasonal merchandise and to promote business. These days, stores have “crazy
once in a lifetime sales” every two weeks. When you have manic pricing, up one
day, down the next, it wreaks havoc on customer service. When the sale is on,
you don’t have enough staff. When the sale is off, the staff stands around and
complains about the slow business.
And then there’s the issue of who’s running the show.
Where have all the merchants gone? Their kids are lawyers, hedge-fund managers,
computer programmers, professors and a thousand other things. The people
running the stores today come from all different backgrounds. Many of them did
not work their way up from the sales floor or have generations of family
history and training to prepare them for the job. Perhaps they are even
So, according to Goltz, poor customer service comes from
companies avoiding high health insurance rates by hiring part-timers with high
turnover rates, having too many sales, and being run by people who really don’t
know what they are doing. It all makes sense, but what we want to know is
whether this is your experience.
I invite you to send in your comments and tell all of us
what you think poor customer service stems from, and I will choose the best
ones for a subsequent article.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 9:36 AM
Larry W. Long says:
To whom it may concern,
For most of my customer service experiences, I am saddled with talking to a foreign person, usually of mideast descent. Too many of these people cannot speak English well enough to effectively communicate. It becomes frustrating to re-explain the condition one is attempting to convey, over and over. They work cheap and are usually in their own country, without any concern for health care costs for the hiring company. Cheap labor most certainly produces an inferior product. And in this case, that theory is proved. Everyone to whom I talk about this subject wants to communicate with someone who can speak and understand English! Bring these damn jobs back to this country so that we can accomplish this.
Sales, sales sales. It has gotten to the point where I don't pay much attention to them. Repeated going-out-of- business sales, inventory clearance sales, overstocked sales, etc. have numbed my mind. It's too much. It rather makes me distrust the store and its business practices.
I have not found incompetent store or business ownership to be any more of a problem now, then it was 40 years ago. There will always be idiots and clueless people in positions of authority, ownership and management. We just have to deal with it.
Larry W. Long