RANT: Where Has Real Customer Service Gone?

***After you read this post, be sure to visit me at my new home here.***

My husband and I LOVE sushi, so sushi is naturally what we wanted to have for lunch on our 5th anniversary last week. We headed to our regular Austin stop, Sushi Zushi. Our server brought our drinks and proceeded to trip and spill my husband's Coke all over him, his white shirt, shorts, and iPhone.

Although he apologized profusely and moved us to a different table, when he brought the bill, it included all of our food and drink, Coke and all. No discount. No complimentary edamame. Nothing.

When I asked why we were paying for a drink that was spilled all over my husband {and resulted in a hefty dry-cleaning bill, a trip home to change, and missed productive time}, he just mumbled something and walked away. No bueno.

In addition, we've recently stopped going to Sugar Mama's Bake Shop. The goodies are fabulous. The customer service is awful. No less than a dozen times we've left the store {yes, we have a high bad customer service pain tolerance} and said, "Great stuff. Bad service." The owner responded to my tweet, and promised a few free cookie sandwiches. Tempting, but we would still have to deal with her staff. No thanks.

Where has the good customer service gone? I think "bad customer service" or "barely-there customer service" has become the norm, so much so that if someone even smiles or is the least bit accommodating, it's like a miracle has occurred. Why is that?

Here's what will happen as a result of that unfortunate incident at Sushi Zushi and our multiple disappointing trips to Sugar Mama's:

  • This blog.
  • The loss of our at least once-a-week visit to Sushi Zushi. We eat lunch or dinner there at least once a week, and usually once a week I meet clients there. No more. The same with Sugar Mama's.
  • I'll find another place to get my sushi fix. And I'm going to learn to make a rockin' chocolate chip cookie sandwich.
I conduct a seminar called "Exceptional Business Courtesy," which is good customer service on steroids. I emphasize how to create an incredible experience that brings people back again and again, and makes them absolutely have to tell everyone about my clients, their business and their experience. I think the near future will result in companies taking a hard look at what keeps people coming back to their establishments, both professional services and retail, and implementing better customer service. At least I certainly hope so.

What do you think? Will it get better or keep getting worse? 

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