Gone are the days when customers used to take the product to the till themselves and the assistant would merely put it through without much interaction. Just as prices of goods have increased, so has their expectation. If we as retailers and businesses, do not meet that expectation, it is likely that our customers will go elsewhere.
So why is customer service only great as an exception and not as the rule? Why is customer service dying and in some places I have visited, it is already dead?
I racked my brain and this is what I came up with.
- Poorly qualified staff who have a lack of experience in their chosen field.
- A lack of training, this is an area companies often cut budgets for when times are tough. If they had any sense they would make this a bigger focus to beat off their competition.
- The staff are poorly paid and so there is no incentive to improve.
- The Manager does not lead by example. They do not approach customers so neither do their staff.
- Staff have pre-conceptions about who will buy and tend to focus on those particular customers rather than speak to everyone in turn.
- Staff do not know how to build a rapport with customers, to get to know their needs as an individual and the customer leaves feeling uncared for.
- Staff are disinterested in their job and therefore lack motivation.
- Staff have the wrong personality for the job, they don’t like engaging with strangers or approaching them.
- Some staff may be experiencing bullying from colleagues and it is stopping them from being confident in the job.
- Companies are unreliable. Staff do not keep in contact with their customers by phoning them back when they say they will. I have had this happen to me and it is very frustrating and rude.
- Customers are made to feel it is too much trouble for the business to help them get what they want.
- Staff don’t care. They have a bad attitude.
- Staff are too task orientated and the customers are made to feel they are in the way.
- Owners of the business have lost touch with the reality of running it at local level and put too much pressure on staff to multi-task and hit deadlines, leaving less time for their customers.
- Staff are too engrossed in their own conversations and talk about things which are not of interest to the customer.
- Staff are miserable and take their personal problems to work with them, which customers can find uncomfortable, unwelcoming and it makes them want to leave.
I could go on.
If anyone has anything to add, feel free.
- FYI Mary Portas: great customer service costs money (almostalwaysthinking.com)
- Mary Portas on secret shopping (bbc.co.uk)