We’re often in stores or restaurants and have come to the realization recently that good customer service is extremely hard to come by. It’s actually kind of disturbing that people working in retail or service industries have a hard time just being nice. I’ve had clerks in stores tell me to wait because they were on the phone (with a friend) or simply ignore me all together as they chatted away. As a teenager, I worked in retail for years, and the most important thing that was drilled into my head by the people I worked for was the importance of customer service. For myself, I am much more likely to tell friends that someone working in a store was nasty than if they were pleasant – pretty much a rule in retail.
Here’s a great example. Awhile back, we got a babysitter for the kids and went out to a Saturday night dinner with another couple to an upscale and trendy new restaurant. The restaurant was beautiful and so full that we had to wait 15 minutes past our reservation time for our table to open up. Very excited to be out in an “adult” restaurant, we sat down and eagerly looked at the delicious menu. It was after 8pm, we were extremely hungry and within minutes were ready to order. About a half hour later, we asked the hostess if we could place our drink orders. Seemingly surprised that no one had come over to us, she took our orders herself and brought the drinks over to the table relatively quickly. Another half hour later, we asked the manager of the restaurant if we had a server and could order. His reply? “The servers are very busy tonight.” Ummm….yes, we could see that, but why were they busy with the other customers in the restaurant and not us? And why was this response from the manager, the person who was supposed to be in charge? At the end of the night, the food was absolutely delicious, but we decided we wouldn’t go back because it wasn’t worth the stress of the terrible service.
Which is why recently, something totally surprised me. During a busy day of running from one place to another, we stopped at Chipotle on Hempstead Turnpike to grab something quick to eat. I asked the employee behind the counter which of their foods is not spicy, and casually mentioned that the last time we were in a Chipotle, the food was so spicy that I couldn’t even eat it. He told me about the different offerings in detail and I thought that it was really great that he was so nice and knowledgeable of the products. When we reached the register to pay, he approached us and said that he was not charging us for my meal since I was so unhappy the last time we ate at Chipotle. He didn’t care that it was a different location, he just cared that as customers, we were happy. How’s that for customer service?
As I shopped in stores this holiday season, I was constantly surprised by the number of people who are just rude – those who don’t hold the door for you when you are just steps behind them when entering or exiting a store, those who will not apologize for hitting you with their shopping bags and those who have no notice that there are other people in a store trying to shop.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on why the art of just “being nice” is seemingly so obsolete? Leave your comments.