Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Customer Service, Ha!

Friends and acquaintances will attest to my continued chagrin when it comes to customer service.

In the old days, whenever a company would want to attract customers, they would provide their products with polite and accommodating service.

One of my favourite services of years gone by was the Service Station.

I recall accompanying my father to the service station on Saturday mornings. It was a big event for a young Daddy’s girl. Not only did I get to be with Daddy, I got to ride in his sports car, top down in the summer. What fun!

Much to my delight, every Saturday we pulled up to the Service Station and a man would hustle out to the car and ask, “May I check your engine?”

“Of course and fill it up!” Daddy replied.

The attendant hopped over to the pump and began the pump. In the time it took to fill the gas tank, the fellow would have washed the windows, popped the hood, checked and added needed oil, checked the air filter, check tire pressure and added air if needed. All this, just as the ringing of the pump bell stopped. (For you young people, there used to be a bell that rang every ten cents, imagine what that would sound like now!)

He’d happily ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” as he made change.

If a customer had a question exceeding the attendant’s expertise, that was not a problem. Each station had an on-site mechanic that was happy to answer your questions and schedule appointments (at your convenience) for any work needed.

Oh Yes! And the gifts! If you bought ten gallons or more, the customer would have their choice of gifts. I don’t recall what adults would select. But for a year, my father chose the International Doll Series, each time a new doll was available.

I tell you our parents and grandparents had it made!

Today, we’re overcharged for gas (by at least $2+ plus tax with a cost analysis), pump our own gas, and stand in line to pay a disgruntled, underpaid cashier. When the bill comes in the mail, there’s always something that isn’t quite right. So a brave consumer might venture to call the 800# to ask a question. No human answers the phone, the recording says they value your business… sure they do… that’s why you’re on hold so long! Finally if you make it through the labyrinth of push # for this, push# for that… you’ll reach someone who doesn’t speak English, and they can’t do anything but read the bill back to you. Don’t get too upset because the second they irritate you to frustration, they either put you on hold, or tell you they are recording the conversation from that point forward. In the end they refer you to the web site.

So much for 21st Century Customer Service!


Catherine said...

Funny! And oh so true!

Growing in the Green said...

Mercy, I have had emotional breakdowns with customer service people. enbarrassing but true. Thank you Email! I make my choice weapon the internet instead of the phone so at least I dont behave like a whacko begging them to please cancel my service for 1 hour. Aol is the worst!
HP is

~ Roxanne said...

At the new Sam's Club gas station the gentleman working there has offered to pump my gas after I have entered the payment options. It has been nice to hop back in the car during some of the cold spring days we have had!