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Is Customer Service a Priority anymore?

Customer Service

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Customer Service is not what it used to be.

This came top of my mind while out was out running some errands. I wanted to bring back some Chipolte but that was not going to be. When I went to the store there was a sign on the door stating that they were only accepting online-only orders and they could be picked up at the side door.

Looking through the door you could see some workers at the front serving counter so I knew it wasn’t because the counter was broken or some other mechanical issue.

Come to find out that they were just short-staffed and could not find enough staff to man both the front counter and the online/call-in counter where they process the other orders.

When I asked about it they said that they had to give a priority to online orders or else their online rankings would suffer.

Now I have been in the service business for over two decades and that was one of the worst excuses I had ever heard. One because that was insulting to me as a customer who expected to get waited on in person so I could get my bowl exactly how I wanted it and two because they took the easy way out.

I have slowly watched the two Chipoltes that we have in town go downhill and it started well before the pandemic.

They are always short-staffed and can never find enough workers while right next to them is a Chik fil a who has more staff than they know how to manage efficiently.

Now, this is not just limited to Chipolte’s. I have seen this trend get worse every year or I am just getting less patient as I get older and time is passing me by.

What Changed in customer service?

I really think the biggest change is that customers no longer come first. Businesses and employees are forgetting that customers pay the bill and them having a good experience is critical to that business making it in the long run.

When you walk into a store or business now it seems like it’s you as a customer against the Business. Employees take the side of the business and fall back on the policy instead of realizing that the policy is there to give some guidelines and not create an enemy with the customer.

Why did it Change?

It all seemed to change when business became more corporate and the managers started to be held more accountable for enforcing the policy and handbook than making sure the customer was taken care of.

Why do some businesses do it better than others?

I think it comes down to the overall philosophy of the business owner with their managers and the culture they create. I have seen really good Chipolte restaurants that really take care of the customer and make you feel like they only want you to be happy. And then there is the completely other side of that coin. Employees who treat you like you are an inconvenience to them and interrupt them from doing something else they would rather be doing.

Where does good customer service come from?

Good customer service comes directly from supervisors, managers, and owners. If each employee is treated how they want their customers treated you will start to see some amazing customer service.

Each employee should be treated like they are the most important part of the team and without them, the company would fail.

The next step is to let employees know they should always take the side of the customer. There are plenty of times when a business screws up and instead of creating an enemy by taking the business side. A good employee apologizes and instead of making excuses or trying to blame someone else they take responsibility and try to make it right with the customer.

What does great customer service look like?

That’s easy to answer. Look at all the businesses around you that are known for good customer service. Costco, Chick fil a, and certain hotels, and all these businesses create a culture where the customer is always right and the answer is always yes. Each employee is empowered to make things right for the customer a lot of times no questions asked.

If need to look at how you rank your managers, is it based on some policy that dictates every situation, or is based on an end result? The best manager is liked by their staff and would have no issue with you doing a 365-degree review. These were my favorite review to do. I wanted each one of my managers to know that the culture and how customers were treated were more important than some policy.

Most policies are created because of a screwup at some level and an attempt of avoiding that outcome again. The business that has the most policies are going to have the worst customer experience in my opinion. This leads to employees just taking the easy way out and blaming the policy instead of making things right.

Troy Watson

Passionate about helping businesses grow their bottom line using marketing, software, and optimization systems. 

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