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Bad Customer Service – Is it Getting Worse?

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We all have stories of bad customer service that leaves us vowing never to set foot in a certain store again and there is no doubt that a bad experience can make the difference between a sale or not; in fact 86% of people stop doing business with a company or store that delivers bad customer service. But is customer service getting worse or are we just a little less patient in our fast paced style of living?

Staff not being attentive?

While the British are famed for our ability for form a cue, there is nothing more annoying that facing a row of tills and only one is open. As you gaze round the store, impatiently tapping your foot and looking at your watch in an attempt to judge how long you’re going to be stood waiting, there are members of staff who appear to be stood around aimlessly folding shirts or worse, chatting to other staff! Many shops have begun to address this with some supermarkets promising tills to be opened when more than two people are waiting, but for others, either a lack or common sense or lack of staff is stopping this.

Rude staff?

Rude or ignorant staff is another hot topic, ranging from those who barely utter a word to those who spend more time chatting to their mate on the till next to them. If you have spent time in their shop and time in the cue to then come face to face with someone who fails to even acknowledge your existence, this can leave a bad taste and awful lasting impression of the store. A recent US study showed that around 80% of stores believe their customer service is excellent, yet only 8% of their customers agreed!

Lack of staff knowledge

Customer service

If you’re making a purchase, especially important or expensive ones, you will probably want to know as much as possible about the goods to ensure you’re making the right choice. Assistants who aren’t able to assist can soon put a customer off, placing doubt in their mind and losing confidence in their purchase. New staff might not know everything, but a ‘hold on one moment and I will get someone who will be able to answer all your queries’ is certainly better than a series of ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure’s. The same applies when asking where certain items are; there are some shops that are great at taking you directly where you need to be, while others point vaguely in a direction followed by a string of instructions leaving you more confused than before.

Dread the fitting rooms?

Fitting rooms can be a frightful experience. To begin with, you may have to cue, then when you reach the front you can only take a certain amount of items in, forcing you to make a quick decision on what you really might want and what items need trying on with each other. When you get to the changing room they are usually cramped, with a curtain that just doesn’t want to close properly and the lighting is awful.

Instead of looking in the mirror and feeling great, we’re more concerned with our lumpy bits or how sallow our skin looks. Given that stores are trying to make us want to buy their clothes, it seems ludicrous that more attention isn’t paid to making changing rooms a pleasant and more purchase-inducing experience?

Pushy assistants?

No one wants a hard sell and yet you have to build up the courage to enter some high street stores, armed with ‘no thanks, I’m just browsing’, as you see sales assistants about to pounce on you. Apart from being put off as soon as you arrive, you are then increasingly nervous about asking any questions or showing the slightest bit of interest in case they increase their interest in you and then never leave you alone. Likewise, you don’t want to be bombarded with ‘can I interest you in’ -insert random item- when you reach the check out! If we want it, we would have probably already picked it up.

Bad customer service can be avoided

The expectations of a customer and aims of a retailer have certainly drifted apart from the days when ‘customer was king’. With profitability being at the forefront for retails, the service we expect has fallen by the wayside and in turn may be damaging the sales. We may tend to only shop in a certain store because they offer great service and it is often the small changes that make the big differences. Shop floors that aren’t cluttered with goods,  have knowledgeable staff, no confusing signage detracting from the items within, assistants with a smile and a genuine desire to ‘serve their customer’; they all make for a more pleasant shopping experience and more importantly, they don’t cost anything!

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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