All Articles Tagged "customer service"
In the past week we’ve seen and heard some of the most questionable things from CEOs — from Abercrombie & Fitch’s Mike Jeffries to Amy and Samy Bouzaglo of Amy’s Baking Company on Kitchen Nightmares. If you’ve wondered how people with clear disregard for proper customer service or continued practice in discrimination are still able to hold executive positions in this world, I don’t have all the answers for you. However I do have ten gems of wisdom if you decide to run your own business or another’s company one day. Read on!
Many of us know that working in customer service is no easy feat but for one Indianapolis, Indiana waitress, making the best of it landed her a huge tip.
According to WTHR, Cece Bruce has been working at Steak ‘n Shake for two years and she apparently tries to do her job to the best of her ability while keeping a smile on her face. Wednesday wasn’t one of her best days due to some not so friendly customers:
“I was having a hard time at another table, but kept smiling and going on because that’s what you do.”
One of her regular customers, Miss Jo, was watching from another table and noticed that things weren’t going so great. So when she was ready to settle her tab, Miss Jo left a bit of an amazing tip: a $446 tip, to be exact.
Cece said she originally thought it was a $46 tip and when she saw it was much more, she was shocked. She then tried to refuse the tip saying it was too much but Miss Jo told her she did deserve it.
The part-time college student says the tip couldn’t come at a better time because it is going towards the payment of her bills.
As for Miss Jo, WTHR didn’t get to speak with her and that’s because, according to Cece, she didn’t want public praise:
“She’s a really sweet lady and she didn’t want any gracious gratitude. She signed the receipt and walked out the door.”
Don’t you just love feel good stories like this? Have you ever left a more than grateful tip – you know, more than the standard 20 percent – because of excellent service?
Don’t Let Your Social Media Get You Got: Delaware Restaurant In Pressure Cooker For Racist Comments On Facebook And Instagram
Offensive posts and comments are rampant on the internet, but they don’t make for particularly good business when associated with a restaurant. A Delaware eatery is learning this after derogatory comments and inappropriate photos popped up on its social media accounts earlier this month.
The News Journal reports that someone recently posted racial slurs and photos of receipts with low tips on Facebook and Instagram accounts associated with Padi Restaurant in Hockessin. The accounts have since been removed, but Daily Mail posted screen captures of the offensive posts.
Among the photos in question is an image of a paid bill of $53.80 with a tip of $5.20, which is less than 10 percent, from a customer with an Indian surname. It was accompanied by the caption, “What do you expect from a last name like that? Sand ni****s will never change #cheap #jew.” Another reads, “Cheap a**, order takeout and eat it at the bar. #notip #monday #cheap #trash.”
Read more at BlackVoices.com
We recently wrote about the retailers that were rated the worst for customer service. Bad service happens. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
For small business owners, offering customers good service can be the difference between repeat business and no business. We emailed Jeanne Bliss, author of the book Chief Customer Officer: Getting Past Lip Service to Passionate Action as well as I Love You More Than My Dog: Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad, three questions about modern customer service and what it means to give your patrons a great “customer experience.”
Ever go into a store and just hate the customer service? You are not alone. According to a new American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, some of the country’s largest retailers have the worst customer service while, on the bright side, e-commerce retailers scored high customer satisfaction scores.
Recently, 24/7 Wall St reviewed the ACSI data to find the companies with the worst satisfaction scores in retail. On average, the traditional retail companies peaked at 76.6 on a 100-point scale in 2012. Internet retailers, however, had an average score of 82 last year. Out of the nine top retail companies with the worst ACSI scores, only one was an online retailer.
Here are the worst top three:
1. Walmart. Just because a company is a major chain doesn’t mean good customer service. In fact, it seems that the largest chains have the worst track record when it comes to satisfying customers. The $469.1 billion chain only received a score of 71 in the survey. For the purposes of the survey, Wal-Mart Stores was graded as a department and discount store.
When graded for customer satisfaction as a supermarket, Walmart’s ACSI score was not much better, at just a 72, reports the 24/7 Wall St. This was the worst in that category. Despite having a history of poor customer service, Walmart has not improved over the years. In fact, it has been the lowest-rated department or discount store in the nation every year between 2007 through 2012. And, it has been the lowest-rated supermarket every year since 2005. Even it’s e-commerce division doesn’t fare well. According to ForeSee’s E-Retail Satisfaction Index, Walmart received a grade of 78 on a 100 point scale during the 2012 holiday season, while rival Amazon.com led all e-retailers with a score of 88.
2. Netflix. This is the only e-commerce business that had poor grades. It earned a customer satisfaction score of only 75. The company, which makes $3.61 billion annually, was slightly up from 2011 when it received a score of just 74. Over the years it has been dropping in rank. Things got really bad in 2011 when Netflix enraged customers by increasing prices and announcing plans to separate its DVD rental and streaming platforms. But, writes the website, after a considerable hit to its image — consumers were outraged at the prospect of having to pay bills for two platforms that would not be coordinated — the company pulled the plug on the service split.
3. Safeway. Despite earning $44.21 billion each year, Safeway hasn’t put much of an effort in improving its customer service. The supermarket chain received a 75 on the customer satisfaction score. Safeway, which is among the nation’s largest retailers., has more than 1,600 stores. “In each of the past 10 years, Safeway has underperformed supermarkets as a whole in the ACSI,” reports 24/7 Wall St. Customers complain often about inaccurate pricing, which led the state of California to sue the company twice. In fact, a court order required Safeway to refund customers $5 or give them the product free-of-charge if they are charged more than the advertised price. Still, according to a report by CBS 5 in San Francisco the company still often overcharged consumers last year.
We wonder if convenience and affordability, at times, trump a retailer’s commitment to customer service. If you can find what you need at the cheapest price at one store, do you care if the sales associate says “please” and “thank you”? (Though that doesn’t explain what’s going on at Safeway.)
Do you shop at any of these stores? What do you think of their customer service?
Saying “no” is hard for many women. And not being nice is even harder. But when you are an entrepreneur you can’t always be the nice girl.
“[S]ometimes, when you’re an entrepreneur, being nice to others means shortchanging yourself and your business,” writes Inc. Learn to say “no.” Although a client or customer is “always right,” there are times when you can’t cater to their every whim, especially if it does not make sense for them or you.
Set boundaries even with your customers. According to Peter Bregman (via Inc.), writing on the HBR Blog Network, there are effective ways to say no:
- Push back: If you have a customer or client who is pushy, “give yourself permission to be just as pushy as they are. They’ll respect you for it.” It might be best to make light of the situation instead of just butting heads. Bregman suggests you say something like: “I know you don’t give up easily — but neither do I. I’m getting better at saying no.”
- Have boundaries: There are just some things you are always going to say no to regardless of how many times you are asked. Make this known and standard policy; one that is not flexible.
- Don’t worry about loss: As they say, one door closes and another opens. Don’t say yes to every opportunity just because you are afraid of losing business. Your peace of mind and work standard is worth more than money.
We’d also like to suggest that when you say no to a customer, give them an alternative. Even if it means sending them to another company that can handle the service they need. Your client will appreciate your honesty and the fact that you are trying to solve their problem. They will come to trust your opinion and your company’s ethic.
Do you have a hard time saying “no”?
In the last two days alone, we’ve written a story about multiple lawsuits against Disneyland over perceived discrimination committed by some of its theme park characters, and another from a set of New York City party-goers who felt they were the victims of racism at the hands of a bouncer demanding hundreds of dollars for a bottle of liquor in exchange for club entry.
No one is supporting discrimination, but are these lawsuits really furthering the cause of racial justice?
In these cases, the basis for the lawsuit is questionable. In one of the Disneyland cases, parents claim that their children didn’t receive the same treatment as other children because the characters didn’t hold the kids’ hands or hug and kiss them. Is it possible — just possible — that these characters are being overrun by kids and some will get a little more attention than others?
And in the case of the 230 Fifth partiers, the plaintiffs actually did pay the $320 for the vodka that they say the bouncer demanded to get in. If they sensed that white patrons were getting preferential treatment, why did they pay the money? Why would they want to continue to lounge in a place that, they say, made it plain, that they were unwanted guests?
Now this doesn’t mean that the plaintiffs weren’t wronged. The Black family paid to have the full Disneyland experience for their kids. That means lots o’ love from the characters. And Jermaine Sanders and his friends wanted to have a fun night out, especially after they paid hundreds of dollars to get into the club. Anything less than a fun and boozy night of good music and good atmosphere is going to feel like money wasted.
But in both of these cases, the problem sounds like a customer service issue, not systemic racism. The Disney characters who are unable to handle the throngs of children vying for their attention need to be working at the food counter or somewhere else entirely. And a surly bouncer needs to be bounced from the door for a new line of work. The managers in charge of these arms of the business need to pay closer attention to how patrons are being treated. And be sensitive to the fact that people from different walks of life are going to be paying customers with high expectations.
The US is the most litigious country on the planet. And in many cases, these lawsuits serve as pathways to justice. But in these cases, one has to wonder whether, once the details of the cases are hashed out, we don’t find that these plaintiffs just had a bad time one day and decided to sue. In that case, it’s setting the stage for actual cases of racism to get short shrift. Discriminatory acts are committed every day and high-profile lawsuits should be reserved for those instances where the outcome will positively move us further along the road to equality.
Christmas Shopping Fails: Going Into “Upscale” Shops And Employees Making You Feel Like You Don’t Belong There
How fun is Christmas shopping!?
If you could see me right now, you would know that the sarcasm in my voice as I read this out loud is major. Christmas shopping is very difficult. If you’re not dealing with a big family to shop for but with less than baller funds, you’re buying gifts for people who never wear or use what you spent good money on. Successful Christmas shopping all depends on the reaction you get on the big day, and up until then, you can only sit back, wait, and wonder if what you bought will knock some socks off.
Seeing as how very underwhelming all that is, things can get ten times worse when you have an experience like I did early this morning. Feeling a bit inspired after a good night’s sleep to go out and shop on 5th Avenue, I got up, got dressed and tried to get in the holiday spirit. Being that it was still relatively early (I left the house at late 9 a.m.), I went out in clothes that I would later return home and go work out in. Some yoga tights with combat boots, a long tunic-like shirt, my long utility coat, (which covered my tight-adorned booty), and a long colorful scarf. Did I look like something out of the pages of Vogue? Uh, no, but I didn’t know you had to be all Style to Steal just to Christmas shop with thousands of other people. Indifferent, I headed to a very popular jewelry and accessories shop on 5th Avenue, jamming with my Beats by Dr. Dre headphones on. When I entered the store, it was gorgeous! A huge Christmas tree covered in gold tinsel, clutches and bracelets in candy colors–it was enchanting at first glance. I pulled my headphones down around my neck and proceeded to shop around, half browsing, but half keeping an eye out for the pieces I was interesting in picking up for my mother that I had seen online.
As I walked over to a tall section of bold bracelets, I stared hard, looked them over, touched them a little bit. To the right of me were two employees, chatting it up and laughing about whatever. When I looked their way to see if they were even going to greet me, they looked at me kind of weird, and then looked back at each other and kept talking. I didn’t let that that bother me, but as I moved around the store, I noticed many other employees treated me in a similar manner, and I wasn’t appreciating it…
As I went to another room, I looked at fly bracelets with bright Swarovski crystals. When I picked one of them up to make sure it would be long enough or big enough for my mom’s wrist, that’s finally when someone finally walked over and asked me if everything was all right: “Oh yeah, I was just wondering, if this is too short for a person’s wrist, can an extra link or two be added?” She quickly said no, but that I could return it. I smiled thinking that she, out of all these lazy employees, would finally offer me some steady help, starting by asking me the million dollar question: “So, what is it exactly that you’re looking for?” But she walked away quickly and proceeded to get on the phone behind the register for someone else.
Another employee, a young man, was working in that room, and I felt him watching me, but definitely not helping me. When I looked up to ask him a question, he walked away and talked with other customers. With my Beats headphones on, my locs and my colorful, dare I say, tackalicious outfit, I thought that maybe I looked like a broke a** teenager to the employees and felt a little embarrassed. While I didn’t try and adjust my ensemble, I put the headphones away and kept shopping. However, I couldn’t help but feel like the lack of help and attention (positive that is) I was receiving was a way for someone to let me know I didn’t really belong in the place. I became pretty uncomfortable with the whole scenario, so I decided to scoop up the gifts I knew my mom and my boyfriend’s little sister would like, and hurried to get the hell out of there. And guess who was more than ready to help me out at the register? The same guy who avoided me the whole time I was there, this time very giddy: “Were you ready to checkout!?”
As I stepped up to the register and pulled out my fancy wallet, the guy was finally looking at me, a smile on his face. When he asked me was I helped in picking up the bracelet and other items, I thought for a sec–did that girl REALLY help me?–and I confidently said “No.” He said nothing, and I wasn’t surprised. I could feel that the girl who answered my question earlier was staring at me from the other register, and I didn’t care. With all the energy she put into everyone else, I knew she really didn’t think she did a damn thing for me now did she?
I get it. I used to be a sales assistant trying to survive in different retail stores during the holidays. It can be terrible, and it can be VERY terrible when you put a lot of attention on a needy customer who walks out empty handed. However, it’s part of your job, so you should do it, not pick and choose who looks like they’re worth the time and energy. I didn’t have a million and one questions for these people, and in all honesty, as you read, I could move my way around and figure out most things on my own. Yet and still, it’s the principle of it all. Don’t go through hell and high water for the older white woman who later tells you they’re going to change their mind on a product, and ignore me, a paying customer, because I don’t look like a soccer mom or a city girl with a very big disposable income. You can’t judge what’s in my wallet based on what I look like or how eclectic my attire is, and you shouldn’t try to. While I’m sure the recipients of the gifts I bought at this boutique will definitely appreciate them, I didn’t appreciate my experience in the store, and I definitely won’t be back.
Have you dealt with a lack of customer service like this while shopping? Have people made you uncomfortable in their place of business?
The holiday season is here (as of Thursday), with droves of shoppers looking to spend their extra cash on the latest gadgets, toys and big purchases. And while the economy might seem a bit more stable when it comes to driving consumers, many still struggle with unemployment. As 7.9 percent of Americans face the possibility of unemployment during the holiday season, the craziness of the popular consumer season sparks an increase in seasonal job openings.
According to the Tribune Chronicle’s TribToday, retailers nationwide “are expected to hire 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal workers this holiday season, according to estimates by the National Retail Federation.” So if you are still in search of a job, or looking to earn a little more money for extra spending or expenses, try your hand at getting a seasonal position for the holidays.
It might be Election Day, but we still have to eat. And the just-released survey of the worst supermarkets in America shows that I have shopped at more than half of them.
A number of factors make these supermarkets so bad, but one thread running throughout is that the bigger they are the worst they are run. There is a major lack of customer service. And while prices are usually great, they run out the competition. Small grocery stores, where you will most often get great customer service and quality prices, just can’t compete with the supermarket chains.
Ironically, many of these chains were opened decades ago as small grocery stores but are now supermarket chains. We’re sure when they were small and family run, customers were more satisfied. Today people complain of long lines, rude employees, unsanitary conditions and poor selection. Consumer Reports surveyed 24,000 shoppers to rank the best and worst out of 52 grocery chain stores.
The stores were rated on four categories – service (includes employee courtesy and checkout speed), perishables (food quality), price and cleanliness – were scored from “very satisfied,” “fairly satisfied,” “neutral, “fairly unsatisfied” and “very unsatisfied.” “The highest-rated supermarket, Wegmans, received a score of 88,” reports the Fiscal Times.
Among the worst were: Stop & Shop, which scored 73. The store was founded in 1914 as Shopmate and now has locations in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Ralphs, which also scored 73, is a Southern California store founded way back in 1873. After all these years you’d like they would be getting things right. The chain is now actually a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Kroger. It ranked below average on cleanliness.
Food Lion, which was founded in 1957 and is located in the Mid- and South Atlantic regions, is no stranger to bad publicity. A 1992 segment on ABC’s PrimeTime Live show accused the chain of deliberately selling spoiled food. Today, on the Consumer Reports survey it scored 73. “Food Lion was mediocre across the board. Customers weren’t even just a little bit satisfied with cleanliness, service, food quality, or price,” reports The Fiscal Times. Maybe next year they will fair better—the company recently announced it would be closing 113 stores and rethinking their marketing strategy.
And if you’re on the East Coast, no doubt you’ve shopped at A & P. The chain, which was launched in 1859, scored just 70 in the survey for issues with poor service and poor prices. According to The Fiscal Times, the company, which includes supermarkets Food Emporium and Pathmark, filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and is now a private company.
Even though they get the most business (Walmart accounted for 22 percent of American food sales in 2010), Walmart Supercenter is nearly the worst on the list, receiving a rating of 69. Of course you can get everything in one location—from food to furniture—but if you hate going shopping at a Walmart Supercenter, what’s the point? The only thing people who took the survey were satisfied with about the Walmart Supercenters was price.
But the worst of them all turned out to be Pathmark. The chain, which is located in Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, earned a score of just 68. And like most of the those surveyed, I have found Pathmark stores are usually unclean. “One customer on Yelp who reviewed the Harlem, New York location went so far as to call Pathmark, ‘the bane of my existence.’”
For the full list, visit The Fiscal Times.