About Me

Friday, 7 September 2012

Good Customer Service - something for the church...?

Ok a bit off the usual path... but is it just me or is good customer service really going out the window? it seems to me in the age of choice and the free market, companies don't value their customers as they once did, I wonder if some of the larger ones just think that if they loose one customer they will just gain another somewhere else...?

This rant is of course prompted by something that happened and I won't go into details because I don't think that would be right or fair, but to give some background, I am fed up with my grocery shopping not arriving as it should... and prior to that there were some dealings with a communications company... and further prior to that some insurance affairs to be sorted out...

When I got my first job, a Saturday job at Superdrug (oh so glam...) the manager said to me on my first day 'remember the customer is always right... even when they are not'. That has stayed with me, and when serving the public I have always sought to be reasonable, polite and helpful. Partly I think that's just being nice and being a well-brought up young lady that's the kind of thing I think one should do ;) but partly there was an element of being proud of ones job, or ones workplace and wanting to aspire to something more.Now, so often people don't seem to be that bothered about the customer, nor their job nor their place of work. It's a means to an end, something that just has to be endured to fund life.

If a company is not doing what they should, not offering a good service or even making a mistake, it would be nice to hear an apology, an 'I'm sorry Madam, it will not happen again' or even a respectful level of understanding. Not an 'it was your fault (it wasn't, for the record, in any of these instances!) so we're not doing anything...' Then there's the incessant hold music, press 9 for help, or perhaps I misheard was it hell? or 'no we can't possibly call you we can only receive incoming calls'. Why is to so hard to actually talk to a company that you would think actually want your business. One could be mistaken on that front....

It was amusing that this afternoon I received one of those automated emails asking you to rate your experience. A 'were you happy with your experience' email.... sadly for them it came at the wrong time. I was not at all happy with my experience as I calmly wrote down in the little box. Then  I clicked on submit only to receive an error message telling me that my syntax field was wrong.  Oh the irony of it all....

I write not to have a moan (well maybe a little bit...) but because despite my frustration I was not actually hugely surprised at any of this. We seem to have arrived in a world where it is normal to complain, to get cross and to make endless phone calls, just to get a good service. And that is not right. I don't want to be someone who has to do this. I don't like getting cross or having to complain and neither do I want to have to deal with companies who should be able to give a much better service and actually care about it too. And it's funny because I realised in all this the church is one of these places too. Well actually it's not at all funny is it? For many there is a choice of church and if we get fed up we just move to another (rather consumeristically if you ask me). But as leaders or ministers or stewards of Gods church, should we not also be offering good 'customer service'? Because if people get fed up with church they often get fed up with God too and that is not something that can be solved by a 10 minute call on hold and a request for compensation... Although I'd like to think God has a good line in compensation packages...

And I don't mean that we give the 'customer' everything they want, I do not want a consumer led church (perhaps that's for another post) but equally, I get so fed up of hearing peoples 'bad church' stories, it's just the same as peoples bad customer service stories - they affect others too. You know how it is, you tell a friend, they are upset for you, 'well I'll never shop there again', 'that's the last time I visit that church' (or any...)... 'that vicar, said this to me....'  it happens so easily. Churches are rarely never going to be perfect but we have to try, even when the customer is wrong, or damaged, or broken, or rude, or cross, or angry becasue they feel they haven't received what they should. People can be both fickle and fragile, but we have to love them anyway. We have to show them Jesus and not just let them walk out the door...
..and I rather wish the same went for supermarkets too.... (and insurance companies, and phone companies and......)



2 comments:

Naomi said...

People these days don't seem to care if they work for large corporations. My daughter works in a Hotel chain and she is always complaining how the other staff just don't pull their weight and don't seem to care about the customers (even sometimes the management). When she started work we told her to always put everything into it, because the knock on effect of customers walking away will be losing your job!

My husband and I are self employed and we are constantly complimented on our good customer service, because we know the buck stops with us - we lose a customer we lose our living!

I don't think staff at the bottom end of large companies think like that, although they should!

Red said...

Hi Naomi, how you doing?
I was self employed too, running my gallery and we always prided ourselves on good customer service, being polite and friednly, no matter what. We often went the extra mile for customers, delivering work they couln't pick up and it gained us customers as they told their friends, and of course came back themselves. Perhaps we should just try to shop with smaller retailers!
redx