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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Customer Service: It Ain't that Hard

I hate bad customer service. Providing good customer service is not rocket science. In fact it’s easier than, say, stocking shelves, selling a product or filling an order. So why is good customer service so hard to find when anybody can provide good customer service if the choose to.

The other day I was at a motorcycle shop to pick up part I had ordered. I was told it would only take a couple of days for it to be in but when I didn’t receive a call I dropped on by just in case they forgot. At the counter they tell me the part is on back order. OK, great. Any idea when it will be in? I have to ask this! They call the manufacturer and are told that nobody knows when it will be available. Can I have my money back? I have to ask this too!

So I get my money back but really would have appreciated a call letting me know that the part really won’t be in like they told me and that they have no idea when it’s available. Good customer service would have initiated at least giving me the option of getting my money back. But I’m over it and move on.

I head over to the the motorcycle store next door and see if they might have the part. Now understand that I have a Suzuki and the first store, where I get a lot of my parts is a Honda dealer. No problem, though because these parts are pretty much universal, not specific to any bike. I figure perhaps the Kawasaki dealer next door might have it on the shelf, or at least have a different distributor. But this is the part where customer service really goes south.

The guy in the parts department couldn’t even look the part up on his computer without a) the part number or b) the Kawasaki motorcycle that was most similar to my Suzuki. He can only looking parts up by number or bike. WHAT?!!! Ever hear of universal parts and accessories?

I just turned and walked out. Customer service is a pretty simple process for anyone who doesn’t mind getting off their butt and work once in a while. At least give it the old college try!

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

3 Responses to Customer Service: It Ain't that Hard

  1. Igor M. says:

    I can feel the pain of a motorcycle enthusiast who’s dealing with idiots. 🙂

    Stoney, I see this almost every day. The good thing is that if you compare customer service today to what it was 20 years ago, I’d say we’re making a progress. Nevertheless, there is a long way to go and here is why.

    People generally don’t care about anyone else. People that we have to deal with in stores (customer service) are not at the highest salary bracket and thus they don’t give a “rats ass” (did I say that right?) about anyone (customers). They are not trained to care for the business they work for and who’s fault is that? ……… Ever heard a phrase … “Fish stinks from the head” ? ………… Their boss.

    Stoney, marketers usually notice these things faster and harder because a part of our job is to create an effective customer service so when we see these problems, it’s like a musician listening to a performer who can’t play in tune.

  2. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    Yeah, but if you compare customer service today to what it was 30 or 40 years ago, it’s not even close. Actually, I think it was better even 20 years ago, but definitely not 10.

    I hate walking into a store like Home Depot and not being able to find someone to help you. Those stores are incredibly understaffed because the “customer service” people are also the same ones who are keeping the product stocked… two full time jobs!

    We actually have a small hardware store near our house and I swear they have as many people working at any one time than all of Home Depot. That’s an exaggeration, but you can’t walk in and not have at least three people ask you if you need help finding something. That’s worth slightly higher prices!