Thursday, July 2, 2009

The slow, agonizing death of customer service

I was appalled and outraged to read the email transactions between a pseudo-professional printing service and a customer they should have been fighting to keep - our very own Localshops1!

The economical swoop has left us all a little ragged, but small businesses seem to have been affected the most. Local places that we support and love are closing shop, casualties of this recession. It's just not as simple as being honest and hardworking anymore to stay afloat in this credit storm.

So that having been said, how has customer service become a casualty in this mess, also? If anything, catering to your patrons should be top priority when most small entrepreneurs today are two or three clients from being bankrupt. Keeping customers happy is vital; for this economic climate to ever bounce back we need to keep people spending at our local businesses.

That's why I just can not understand why anyone calling themselves a professional would engage in such spiteful email traffic with a client they are supposed to be serving! Burning your bridges is just not an option in business today. Localshops1 was keeping the faith by keeping their patronage local - and was given a virtual slap in the face.

Disgusting. Customer service just isn't what it used to be. Yesterday I had coffee with a client to consult for an upcoming project at a fairly good-sized restaurant (not mentioning any names here). We were paying customers in a place that was 90 percent empty, not bothering anyone, content to keep to ourselves, and pay for coffee refills. After a couple of hours, the waitress brought the check over and quite rudely told us that their place didn't appreciate "squatters!" Are you kidding me? There was no one in there but us! If not for our business, they would have had none in hours.

We can all tell these stories. But that's just it, we all have these experiences! I think we're seeing the slow death-rattle of customer service. And it's not pretty, folks.

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