Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The downward spiral of Customer Service

There is a world that divides the concepts "customer SERVICE" and "customer SERVANTS", in the neverending cycle of service at some points we will serve and in others we will be served.

The last 11 years of my life I have worked in the service industry, whether it has been as an art instructor, a service agent, being the link between the company and the end user the goal has always been to provide the best customer experience possible. Afterall, word of mouth is the best advertising.

Most of the trainings I have received on the subject sum it up in two words: EXCEED EXPECTATIONS. It's quite simple. Just give your customer their money's worth and they will be happy. No ugly surprises, no hidden fees, just what they want and maybe a little something more.

Good customer service goes along with impecable ethics. You don't need to have your supervisor breathing down your neck all the time or be monitored constantly by your supervisor, you KNOW how to provide the best customer experience possible if you want to keep their business.

There are many options in almost all servies fields. There are very few that own a specific market. CEO's know this, but it looks like they haven't trained their lower ranks to keep customers happy.

Lately, I have noticed some businesses go to the dogs service speaking. I'll cover a few industries I've had bad encounters with. I am a movie freak. I could spend there my weekends. Those VIP theaters are my equivalent of a spa.The BEST VIP is Cinepolis Valle Oriente. The installations and the service are top of the line. However, Cinemex's Paseo San Pedro is at the edge of decay. The recliners are uncomfortable, maintance turns the AC off when the movie begins, they never have change at the registers in the candy shop and to top it off, they use cheap ingridents. These are all material things that can be fixed, what they can't fix is the ATTITUDE employees have.

Another incident at the same movie theater chain happened this Sunday. Since they changed their ingredients, I buy food not made by the theater. My weakness, Ben & Jerry's Ice cream. I walked over to the girl at the deli and asked if she could help me with the ice cream. I honestly expected her to say "Give me a minute and I'll be there" or " Let me get someone to help you". I must have been dreaming or on heavy drugs to expect that, her response was "I'm full of pending orders, knock on that door and see if someone comes out" EXCUSE ME? I have to go bang on some door to get service? Needless to say, I didn't get my Cherry Garcia fix.

The food industry is very weak right now. Though SMBC may be a good drinking spot or a great place to watch the game, it lost it's spark as a nice place to get together. I stopped going since they changed their menu a few years ago. Applebee's and Chilli's became the places to go, even the burger joint (El Arbolito) by the ITESM Campus. I went to SMBC in January, Mayra wanted her farewell lunch there. The experience wasn't as bad, though they are slow in the kitchen. Two weeks ago the story was different. I had to wait 30 minutes to get my order taken, and 30 more for them to correct them. The waitress dared ask if I was sure about what I was ordering. Not a single refill my glass saw, I had to swallow the burger. Though i was craving apple pie, if I had ordered it, I might have left at midnight. Of course when they left the tab they dare ask "do I add the tip?"

Tipping is a customer's way of showing appreciation for good service. Outstanding service gets equally as amazing tips. Have you noticed there's a tipping jar everywhere? Even at Starbucks.

Finally there's my alma mater, TI. One sends the emails through the proper channels and the request gets ignored.If I email the Executive Director, who I am on a First name basis on, everyone is willing to help.

Why do people have to be told by their superior what they know they have to do? Why take the risk of losing a customer's business for an extra cigarrete break? Why do business change things that work of things with lower quality? Who hires and trains these people?

So, how is your business treating your customers?

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