Where Has Customer Service Gone?

There are lots of good shops out there. But it seems as if more and more businesses really don’t care anymore about customer service. Both online and also at retail stores. Maybe I am old fashioned, but it used to be that people really cared about me as a customer and were happy to answer my questions. We had two recent episodes I wanted to share with you.

Not long ago, we ordered a rail cutter for $54 plus shipping, from a quilt and fabric store in Rockledge, Florida. These are hard to find, and this store had one. They advertisize that their friendly staff is there to help you.

I’m glad I checked my bank, because they charged me with shipping twice! When I called, they refunded the amount right away. While I was on the phone, they also told me they would ship the cutter right away.

A week later it still hadn’t been shipped, as far as I knew, since I had no notice at all. When they finally sent me a delivery-confirmation number, I thought, great, since by this point it had been two weeks. Then, two days after sending me the notice, they sent me an email saying they’d sent the wrong confirmation number. They said that for sure!…they would ship it right away.

Another week goes by and then I get a second confirmation tracking number. All told it ended up taking close to a month to get the cutter, since they sent it the slowest method. A month!

Since we make a lot of flags we go through material at a pretty good pace. The next example involves an order we placed for some fabric online at a fabric and notion place up in Wisconsin. We ordered 8 yds (24 ft) of tomato red Kona cotton fabric. What a mess!

Normally fabric is folded in half and you have the center crease. Since the fabric is 44/45 inches wide, that makes it around 22 inches across. When we got it, this fabric was totally opened up, then folded back together in a wrinkled pile of creases everywhere!

On top of that, there must have been dirt in the warehouse floor since we saw a lot of dirt on the fabric. Luckily, it brushed right off. For you folks out there who like to sew, you can visualize 8 yards of fabric, folded in halves, quarters, eights, in any which way, like folding a bed sheet!

We had to spend quite a bit of time re-folding it all. So we sent them an email explaining the above. It was a nice email, and we asked them if this was standard practice and would we be better off ordering a lesser quanity. We never heard back from them at all.

Okay. So they’ll never hear back from us either. We’ll order our fabric somewhere else.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve emailed a company with a question and never heard back from them. Is that any way to run a business? Maybe they believe that they can treat customers shabbily and think not lose any customers. They are so wrong!

We may only be a small business, but we honestly care about our customers and love hearing from them. We always list our expected shipping time on our website, so people know ahead of time how long they’ll have to wait. When we get an order, we send a confirmation email so that people know we got the order, and that we know what they want. We also give a specific date when we are going to ship their order.

If anyone has a question, we respond within a day because that what we expect from other people and other businesses. We treat customers the way that we want to be treated. Is that so hard to understand? And yet, it seems more and more companies and even small business owners couldn’t care less.

Maybe this can be a wake-up call to those that don’t care about their customers. For the ones doing a great job, you know it because your customers tell you how happy they are. I’ll bet your business will continue to thrive, even in these troubled economic times.

I’m sure some of my readers have stories of their own.

customer service,business,job


8 thoughts on “Where Has Customer Service Gone?

  1. Alex Jones

    I am amazed businesses last who fail to put customers at the centre of their business. I have had these sort of bad experiences myself.

  2. Elfie Morgan

    I agree with you about the lack of customer service these days. I’ve had my share of very disappointing experiences and I honestly wonder how some of these places can stay in business. They sure don’t get repeat business! It does make me want to give the very best service to my customers though, so that’s a positive side to bad experiences. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the comment, Elfie. When you were talking the other day about a order you were waiting on it gave me the idea to do this blog post. Have to agree with you though that it sure makes us also want to be positive with our service. 🙂

  4. No, you aren’t wrong, When I had my business,I was right on top of things.If anything went wrong,I fixed it ASAP. Businesses that did not care about my orders never got my business again.It is just common courtesy, let alone common sense, to treat people, (Esp. those who are paying you for your services), well.
    I have had a great deal of trouble getting companies to answer their emails. You think they’d WANT business, huh?
    A month? What did they do, send your cutter by ox cart?

  5. Thanks Tonette for your comment and sure agree. We are the same way with our business and stay on top of it. I too think that business would answer there emails but more times then not they don’t. Needless to say they don’t get our business.

    Although we paid for Priority then shipped it Parcel Post. I was amazed that it wasn’t damaged. Thanks for your respose!

  6. Carmelo H. Mack

    View the tone used when communicating with customers as an extension of your brand. If your shop could talk, would it be formal or playful? Make sure your communication style and visual presentation are in sync with your brand.

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