The Catoosa County News

Customer service?

- Len Calderone is a constituti­onal conservati­ve who lives in Rossville. He can be reached at lencaldero­

I’m giving away my age, but I remember a time when I pulled into a service station to get gas. A man in a uniform came out and pumped the gas, washed the windows, checked the oil and checked the tire pressure. The man in the uniform also took my payment. I never had to step out of my vehicle. They were called service stations because they not only serviced your car but also had several repair bays with a mechanic available to fix most minor repairs. I really miss those days.

The days of customer service are long gone. Instead, we are faced with employees who could care little if you were satisfied with their service. Today, we have to deal with unhelpful or rude employees, long wait times, and employees unresponsi­ve to customer problems or complaints.

Bad customer service is a common problem faced by us consumers.

The results of poor customer service can be substantia­l and farreachin­g, affecting not only the individual customer but also the company’s reputation and bottom line. Yet, many companies don’t seem to care.

My pet peeve is making a phone call to a corporatio­n. Many companies rely heavily on automated customer service systems, such as IVR (Interactiv­e Voice Response) systems, that can be difficult to navigate and provide limited assistance. I find myself talking to a computer, which doesn’t care in the least who I want to talk to. “Please listen to the following menu as there have been recent changes. Press … ” Of course, the menu doesn’t address the subject of my call. I press “0” for an operator only to be brought back to the menu to start over again. Out of frustratio­n, I press any button. No matter what button you press, it seems that it goes to the same department. My blood pressure goes up significan­tly.

Then I reach an employee who is disinteres­ted in assisting me, or one who is actively hostile or dismissive of my problem. This type of behavior can leave customers like me feeling frustrated and angry, and can even discourage us from doing business with the company in the future.

Another issue that can contribute to poor customer service is long wait times. Whether it’s on hold for a customer service representa­tive (Your call is important to us), or waiting in line for assistance in a brick-and-mortar store, long wait times can be a source of frustratio­n and annoyance for customers. This is a problem for those with limited time or those dealing with an urgent matter.

Along this line is the problem of “I can’t help you. You need to speak to … ” Then, you are switched over to another person, who says that you have the wrong department and need to talk to …, etc. I don’t like being transferre­d from one agent to the next as it often means I have to repeat my inquiry again and again. One company that I recently called switched me to four different people, taking 45 minutes of my time. Then, my call was dropped.

I also hate it when the customer service person is in Bangladesh and I can’t understand a word that they are saying, which causes a complete communicat­ions breakdown. Don’t companies realize that we need to speak to someone that we can communicat­e with? Again, they are trying to cut expenses, but at what cost. When this happens, I ask to speak to a representa­tive in America.

Many retail employees are overworked because of a limited number of employees that are working. Companies feel that they are adding to their bottom line by using fewer employees, but in realty the employees are rude, uninterest­ed, or dismissive towards customers, creating a negative experience toward the company. This can be particular­ly problemati­c if the customer is already angry or distraught.

I don’t shop Walmart anymore because they are forcing customers to use self- checkouts, or else stand in a long line for the one or two actual cashiers. More and more stores are adding self-checkouts and employing fewer actual cashiers. Customers who use self-checkouts are adding to the store’s bottom line, while denying some person of a job. You are now an unofficial, unpaid employee of the store.

An Arizona woman in her sixties claimed she was cited for shopliftin­g after making an innocent mistake while using the selfserve checkout at Walmart. The shopper told local Tucson station KGUN 9 that she was “in complete and total shock” from the experience after cops slapped her with a petty theft citation after she forgot to scan an item. “I had absolutely no knowledge, let alone the intention of not paying for my items,” she said. Sixtytwo other people were cited by police at the same Tucson Walmart between January 2021 and April 2022. This would not have happened if Walmart had experience­d cashiers working.

Additional­ly, unresponsi­veness to customer complaints can also lead to bad customer service. When a customer takes the time to reach out to a company with a problem or concern, they expect a prompt and satisfacto­ry resolution. However, if their complaint is ignored or not properly addressed, this can lead to further frustratio­n and dissatisfa­ction.

When a company makes an agreement to resolve a problem but neglects to follow through, this can result in unhappy customers, a damaged reputation, and lost business. Companies that prioritize providing excellent customer service, on the other hand, can reap significan­t rewards, including increased customer loyalty and improved bottom lines.

Most customers just accept what big business forces on them. I don’t. Maybe it’s time for us all to revolt. If you experience poor customer service, maybe you should look for companies that place customer service first over profits.

 ?? ?? Calderone

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