Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Soapbox: Where Has All The Customer Service Gone?

I am on the hunt for a new printer. Each time I need to print a document or some labels, I hold my breath and utter a little prayer. I am secretly thinking to myself: Will this be the time my little printer prints it's last words? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get this one last document done! Phew....success! As I have mentioned before, living in the country has its benefits and convience isn't necessarily one of them! I an error message that the overflow ink something-or-ruther is full. I can push the reset button a couple of time and make it work, but I know eventually this little game will come to an end...and I will be on the losing team. So I called the manufacturer (this is where rural living comes into play) and they tried to troubleshoot....but (oh what a surprise) this is not something that I can fix on my own and I need to take it to an "authorized repair shop" (again...surprise). Hopefully there will be one in Missoula (30 miles north of me)....but no....Great Falls is the closest! Hmmm, what do I do? Travel the 200 miles to get this fixed? Or replace? Well the choice is obvious.... so now we are on a hunt. I guess I should mention here that the customer service that I received from the manufacturer was good. Even though he was not able to be of great help, he was polite and spoke relatively good English! I give them 4 out of 5 stars!

So, here again, being relatively rural, Missoula does not offer a huge selection for us to choose from.....we have Best Buy and Staples...that's pretty much it (just on a side note...they don't even have Red Lobster or Olive Garden ?!?!?)! First stop: Best Buy. So I find the printer isle....find the models we are looking for. We were in the store for well over 30-40 minutes...NOT ONCE did a sales person come up to us and ask us if we needed any help?! Meanwhile there was a salesperson "busy" at the end of the isle flirting with two pretty little blonde college girls...who I'm sure weren't even the least bit interested in what he was selling...LOL! I was trying to make myself as conspicuous as possible....opening hatches, lifting the printer up....turning it upside down....you would think someone might take interest in what I was doing...NOPE! So out we went....no printer. I refuse to spend my money in a place that does not take interest in their customers! They get a -10 out of 5 stars...SERIOUSLY!
Next Stop: Staples. Total time spent there about 10-15 minutes. Same scenario (minus the blonde bimbos)..lifting, pushing buttons and pretty much doing everything but pick up the printer and throw it on the floor....no service....there were hardly any associates even present in the store. They did have better prices...so I would give them 1 out of 5 stars.
So being somewhat disappointed with our search for printers...especially since we didn't even speak to a single sales associate! We thought we would take a trip Costco. Can you believe that they had a printer we wanted? AND...this is where we came the closest to getting customer service?? COSTCO! The sales associate was busy in the electronics department...and he told us that he would be with us in a minute. Come on, Costco? Really?? Yes...customer service in Costco of all places. Even though we moved on before speaking to the sales associate(being pressed for time), I believe we will be spending our hard earned dollars here of all places for a piece of electronics! They had the best price....and sadly, the best customer service. I give them a 3 out of 5 stars.

With people being extra careful with how and where they spend their money, you would think that companies would kick up their customer service. They would want their associates to be overly friendly....to apporach any and all customers....at the very least, asking them if they have found what they are looking for! I know I will be approaching my Farmer's Market customers differently this year....talking to them more....making suggestions.

SOOO, am I the only one experiencing lousy customer service? Tell me your horror stories! Let me know that I am not alone...you know, misery loves company!! LOL! So share with me!

6 comments:

  1. Sadly, this has become the norm in most places. At a business conference my DH put together in February, one of the points he made was, since it's harder to find "new" customers we can't afford to "lose" the customers we already have because of various things, one of them being poor customer service. But most companies don't think about this or care. You are more patient and understanding than I would have been. I woule have gone over to that young man and said in a loud voice, "Excuse me do you think you can tear yourself away long enough to help an actual customer with something?" and then after he had tried, I would have walked out. :)
    http://KayzKreationz.blogspot.com
    http://KayzKreationz.etsy.com

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  2. Customer service? What's that? Ha ha! Great Post!

    I am with you! We live in a small town and we have to drive about 2 hours to even see an Olive Garden and Red Lobster! We don't even have a Target!

    We have Wal Mart, K Mart, and Office Depot. UGH.

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  3. KayzKreationz: I had Mr. Moose with me and he tends keep me "in line" when it comes to things like that....I was thinking about doing the same thing! HEHE.

    Angela: I guess that is the trade off we that are rural dwellers must pay! Oh, well....I think it is well worth it.

    I have been doing some thinking on this and I think, honestly, that the reason places like BB or Staples are poor on customer service....the sales people are just there to collect their HOURLY WAGE...whereas in the past, there were incentives to work for your sale....ie, they were commissioned. Just a thought!

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  4. I got a laptop at Best Buy a couple of months ago, and I had done a little research on the web but wasn't 100% sure what I wanted. Someone asked if I needed help right away, but he was absolutely no help at all. All he would do is point out which ones were in my price range and when I asked what the differences were he said "They are different brands."

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  5. Plaidfuzz....I would have said, well thanks so much Einstein! LOL...Well Duh...I can see that for myself. I think that they are just hiring people who don't really care and are not being trained properly...I am utterly amazed that they have stayed in business over Circuit City...I always got the best help from them!!

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  6. I thought I would share about Best I mean WORST Buy. I purchased an xbox 360 for Christmas for by fiance, which we purchased together (part of it he bought for me) although I purchased on my bank card. Several weeks later an employee who had access to my bank card number (because they keep that on file) pulled almost 600 dollars out making it look like a purchase. Luckily I caught it right when it happened and called Best Buy who along with Chase recovered my money. It was the worst and to this day I will never shop at Best Buy... or anywhere without cash or credit card. NEVER use bank cards! How about lets just not go to Best Buy :) they obviously cannot trust their employees enough not to steal from their customers. It could happen anywhere I guess and I should be kinder to best buy because they reimbursed me the very next business day. It was rough.

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