Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Does this Bother You?

I normally don't use my blog to vent. And I don't think that I'm venting so much as commenting. Usually if you vent you're mad about something. And right now I'm not mad, I'm just confused.

I'm confused at to what is happening to manners, courtesy, and customer service when it comes to operating an online business. It seems to me that today there are a lot of businesses that operate online who seem to think they don't need customers. Who seem to think if they offend a customer here and there, or don't answer a customer email, well hey, it doesn't matter because there are so many other customers available to them. Excuse me?

I grew up with parents who operated two different businesses in their working life. I myself am now on my second business. And before I opened either of my businesses I spent 20 years in customer service related jobs. I was taught the customer is always right. Even when they aren't! BECAUSE...hello you online businesses who don't seem to give a fig about customer service? Where are you without customers? And people may forget who you are if you give them good service. But believe me they wont' forget you if you give bad service.

I am appalled at the businesses who do not answer a simple customer email or if they do answer seem to have a markedly lack of concern. And how do I know this? Because I am that customer. Just because I run my own business does not mean I am not a customer at other businesses. And also because I receive emails from customers who say, thank you for being someone who answered my email, my question, my request. When someone is surprised to receive something I feel should be normal standard operating procedures for a business, then there is something not right.

As much as I love a lot of aspects of our technology, there is a lot that saddens me about it because I think it causes us to lose in other ways. Like manners, common courtesy and decent customer service.


Coastal Sisters said...

Oh my goodness....I could have written the same post today after the experience I had with an oline order I placed OVER two months ago (this business offered a 48 hour turnaround time)...well, HMPH! They will not be getting my biz anymore. Period.

You are so right, manners have gone out the window. Toot sweet!

I can't wait for your next class!


debi @ life in my studio said...

Well said!!! I know I won't go back to a business that doesn't treat me well...while those who treat me good will see me again and again!
Have a wonderful week,

sherry lee said...

Gail, you raise a most excellent point of customer satisfaction, customer relations and just because we are talking "on line" some business people think that means "invisible".

I agree with your viewpoint...good manners, good business etiquette means good word of mouth. And believe me, all business thrives on word of mouth...some people need to remember that the "good times" don't last forever.

tam said...

Hi Gail,
I am sooo with ya on that sister! I have worked in retail and in fact managed a store for almost five years. I think what has happened is people in general have lost their good manners! We are not aloud to teach our children the golden rule in school anymore, and it sure isn't being taught in most homes either!It is one of my pet peeves as well. And you would think that in times like this where companies are struggling they would try a little harder to have good customer service-but no!
It is a shame.
Hope your week gets better for ya!~Smiles~Tam!

The Joy of Nesting said...

Hi Gail,

I'm really not sure why or how but it seems that once some humans get behind a computer keyboard they leave their human sides behind :( Some how they can't comprehend that at the other end of the computer there is a flesh and blood human. I do know that the lack of human respect and plain old common courtesy in the overindulgent countries up north is one of the reasons we chose to live in this culture. For now respect for eachother is very important. Hopefully it will remain, but I worry.

Pattie ;)
Mazatlan Mexioc

Jemjoop said...

So true, I'm starting to wonder if everyone has lost their manners. But then you come across a super nice person and you don't feel so alone.

Lisa Gatz said...

You're right about this, Gail. And yes, the customer IS always right. It's amazing how that seems not to be the norm.

Jenny S said...

I agree!! Glad someone else feels the same way!!

Marilyn said...

My family was in Retail all their lives. My Father always said there was nothing easier than to be nice to one another....
Manners see to be a thing of the past!!
Hugs, Marilyn

Debra said...


I agree with your "comments". Seriously though it isn't just online. Most of that has been good. I am appalled at some business people though. I had a run with a certain line of stamps. This person even called me to yell at me.
I think some of these people forget that just as easily as you rise so to can you fall. I work for a franchise and thank goodness my employer treats even the blatantly rude with calm consideration.
I honestly prefer talking to a real person, because I can never tell if my message has gone though or when they will answer. I miss the one to one. I find that many will read emotions into an e-mail that may not be there. Yeah, I prefer "human" contact.
Still it is nice to know someone out there does care!


Bunty said...

Hear Hear Gail! I so agree - I think that customer service and standards in general have taken a nose dive in recent years and nobody seems to care anymore about anything. What a shame.

I'm afraid that I am "old school", brought up with manners and taught how to be polite and do things properly. It is a sad testimony to the younger generation, though I wouldn't describe myself as old yet!

Sorry to rant!

Best wishes

Barbara (UK)

The Junkin' Yaya said...

You definitely hit the nail on the head on this one! My Texan hubby and I both have been running our own businesses for over 30 years....and the one major thing that we continue to notice that is failing in this country (and maybe elsewhere)...is, CUSTOMER SERVICE!

We train our staff that the customer is always right..because technically they are the boss! They are the ones that ultimately pay them their paychecks and bonuses.

And as a deep Southern lady...we were raised to believe such! Guess that is where "southern hopsitality" comes from? ;)

xo...deb (junkin' yaya)


i agree 100%

Nita Jo said...

Gail, I'm glad you spoke up. It's a shame that so many forget common courtesy.

It is true that a customer will remember who treated them poorly, and will revisit sellers that treat them with respect. We all appreciate a bit of niceness.

Nita Jo

Elizabeth Golden said...

Gail, It must have been "bad" for a Southern girl to complain. You give great service and everything is packed beautifully , it is like a birthday every time I get a package from you.
It must feel so horrible when that kind of service is given but not received. The really sad part is that it just takes a moment to make someone feel special. And that kind of energy comes back to get you - good or bad.
I had a really bad moment not to long ago on an online market. The girl was just hateful. I actually felt so sorry for her. It must be really hard to be that thoughtless and rude. Unfortunately, I have seen more of that kind of behavior everywhere lately. Just because someone is having a bad day it does not give you the right to go off on others. Period.

MaryAnn said...

Hi Gail!

You are so right. I do think that this lack of concern is not just online anymore. It really strikes me odd that when I walk into a store and go for assistance I have to wait for the customer service people to stop having a gabfest and be treated as if I was intruding.

Kathy said...

It is so sad, I believe TV has shown our younger generation that rudeness is ok....It saddens me to see it acceptable to most. I have had excellent service on my online purchases, but know it isn't always the case with others.
As you say, it isn't that hard to be nice and give service with a smile.

Karen from A`Musements said...

Thank you for writing what I have been thinking for a long time... There is an antique mall about an hour from my house, where I emailed and asked (so as not to make a trip for nothing) about a specific item shown on their website. I didn't get a response, after waiting a week (I thought that was time enough for one of the people assigned to answer emails to get back to me) so I emailed again. Nothing. Now, not only have they lost my business on ONE item, but all the vendors have lost my money on ANY of their things because I will not do business with that (lack of) customer service/appreciation. It speaks VOLUMES about what would happen if you encountered a problem with a purchase, etc.... I guess we should be grateful when someone is a jerk, up front!

jerseytjej said...

Thank you for expressing what I have been feeling for a long time. I purchased some paper goods from a large wholesaler and asked if the items could be combined and the answer was a reassuring YES with some other commitments... The packages arrive Via courrier with additional duty fee of $22.00 on top of an extra postal charge of $27.00 ALL billed to my credit card and the company is not answering my email...

While I pride myself on maintaining the GRITS status I learned growing up, they can kiss my business goodbye. Gina

Phinny said...

Amen! I could have written this too. I sincerely hope things change, but sadly I see it getting worse instead of better.

virginiasvignettes said...

Hi Gail~~~I"m reading this post a year later, but had to add do to it saying thats how I found you....I was looking for a specific item,my sister told me about a shop online that she purchased from, so I purchased said item...The shop did not have item ,I was refunded.boohoo.Well I went back to shop and they still listed item .I sent e-mail about my excitement and to find out if I can order.I got No response...Well to make this story longer I told my sister ,We will Never shop with her again!....You had product and for less $$$$and you supplied a Handwritten note of Thanks...My sister and I shop with you now!...Thanks for sharing this...Now I'm off to go shopping in your store...:)~~~virginia~~~