What the Heck Happened to Customer Service?

As a mother, my number one job is customer service.

Sure, my ‘customers’ may be hormonal teens and short tenacious toddlers (or anything in between), but they are my customers just the same. The biggest difference between them (meaning my kids) and the folks at Wal-Mart or the check out girl at the fast food drive through is that I am not getting paid in any form of currency. Besides love of course! (And admittedly, even that is sometimes subjective to their behavior).

Considering that the employees that I meet on a daily basis who are supposedly there to ‘serve’ me are paid, why are they not doing their job? Ever? Why is it so hard to get real assistance and what the heck ever happened to ‘please’ and ‘thank you?’

Not that long ago after a drive through ‘princess’ took my fast food ‘on the go’ order, messed it completely up (and taught me the valuable lesson of NEVER leaving the drive through spot until I have checked to see what is INSIDE the bag), she then had the audacity to ask me, “Do you want your change?”

“Umm, I sure as hell am not giving it to you as a tip” I thought as I looked at her as though she had just grown horns and reached my hand out for my 11 cents. After all, it was MY 11 cents and not hers. Good customer service would have given me a coupon for a free order of fries or a milk shake after the fiasco I had just endured, and for the time this cost me – I could have had a sit down meal with my family.

Which brings me to my next customer service issue. Time! My time is valuable too. In fact, my time is the most valuable commodity I have and it is the exact currency with which I pay my own customers. (AKA my kids)

So why is it that people with a label behind their name (DDS, PhD) feel that their time is worth more than mine is? Funny how our local pediatrician won’t see me if I am 15 minutes late for an appointment but has no problem making me wait 63 minutes to be seen when I arrive 15 minutes early?

If you offer appointments – you should abide by them . I don’t care if you are a doctor or a car dealership. If you cannot stay on schedule – then perhaps you need to take some lessons from a mother of 4 who relies strongly on a schedule to stay sane.

And for the record, the little ‘sign’ in the waiting room that says ‘you are only waiting so that the doctor can take the best care of his or her patients – so please be patient,’ is utter bull$hit. The truth is, ‘I am waiting because you double or triple booked because you know that some people despite reminders won’t show up and you want to make your financial quota for the day so you can finish paying off your college degree.’

Customer service is also not knocking a mere ten percent off my room when I arrived at YOUR hotel to find a dead parakeet lying between the beds, a can of opened bean dip under the table and a stain (of some sort) on the white sheets of the bed I am paying good money to sleep on. It’s bad enough I have to bring my Clorox wipes and Lysol. In fact, I think I should have received the room for free. And charging for pool towels or extra pillows. Give me a freaking break! Just because you are the only hotel within 50 miles doesn’t mean you can kill sacrifice birds in the rooms and expect me to be happy about it!

(On a random note, this little ordeal has me wondering – why the heck do shoddy hotels use white sheets? Wouldn’t it be easier to hide their un-cleanliness if say the sheets were black?)

To the young fellow at the local home improvement store who stands outside – for the SOLE purpose of assisting customers with heavy loads – who actually ASKED me (with a hopeful look on his face that I’d say NO so he could continue texting) if I needed help loading an entire pallet of laminate flooring with 5 kids in tow? I think YOU my young friend are the one who needs help! Those muscles will do you no good if you don’t have a brain to back them up! NOW LOAD MY STUFF!

Then of course, there are the cashiers who for some reason, can’t get an item to ring up on the register and just stand there like they have just been asked a million dollar question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Seriously!? Isn’t there a protocol in your training that tells you how to handle this situation without assuming the CUSTOMER should be the one to schlep through the store and find another one of the same item?

Bottom line is customer service today sucks! If I treated my kids the way paid employees treated me – society would be in trouble. Perhaps the reason unemployment rates are so high is because no one knows how to work anymore, and no one really gives a crap about anything more than their paycheck.

I say this! If you are there, you might as well work and do your best. Maybe you aren’t happy, but you never know who is watching you – or what good fortune may come your way by going the extra mile. (Or at the least taking one teeny tiny little step!) Go the extra mile. Put in some effort. Earn the consumers business for Goodness sake! And by all means, remember that this happy little housewife with the 4 kids and the minivan is the one paying YOUR salary – so regardless of my yoga pants and stained t-shirt I deserve some respect.

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