Thursday, November 30, 2006

Customer Service

I admit to a degree of impatience with shoddy service. At the same time I do fight the English tendancy to put up. Often I have an internal conversation with myself that generally ends in ''ll be disgusted with yourself tomorrow if you don't do something about this..' Generally by then I am pissed which doesn't help. Anyway over the past two weeks, I have felt a little awash in the Bermuda Triangle of customer service.

I checked into a Holiday Inn recently and on leaving the desk I asked if my room had a connecting door. I hate them. Happily the receptionist said "When you get up there if your room has one just come back and I'll put you in another room." Sure enough I was back at the desk five minutes later. By then she had seemed to have found the floor map.

Mrs PND and I travelled to the UK last week. British Airways used to have one of the best in-flight services going. Coming and going we noted the total mediocrity of the service. Periodically the flight attendants seemed to forget we existed. I never got offered breakfast and for some reason the crew moved four from economy into business class - a significant bonus for them no doubt - and in the process spent more time addressing their needs than the rest of the paying travellers. Return wasn't much better but it was prefaced by a standing room only arrival in the executive club lounge. Staff couldn't give a rats arse.

While in the UK, I walked into a Starbucks near home at 5:45pm to access my email only to realize the place was closing. This was apparent because rather than waiting to clean up after they were closed (at 6pm) all the chairs were on the tables and they were mopping up. No staff were available to serve. The next day I went down to get a coffee at 8:20am, paid for my grande and then realized (together with the clerk) that they had forgotten to put the coffee on! This is Starbucks - that's what they do!

In Hatchards on Monday I was picking up books I had paid for over the phone and rather than have someone bring them to the front desk they had me up and down the stairs doing my own research on where someone may have put the three books in question. I ended up in the mail room on the top floor. As I left someone asked if I had found everything I needed. Christ.

I might be a whiner but over the same period, I can't think of any occasion where I have witnessed good or exceptional customer service. No one cares anymore.

1 comment:

meika said...

I love bad service, but then I am Australian and we don't have the American democratic penchant to all be in touch with the inner princess nor the Brit desire to be in touch with the inner cap-doffing-faithful-old-retainer.

I love bad service because it is human.