Dare I say customer service is dead…or at least dying!?! In my humble estimation, ever since the economy has taken a downward turn so has the quality of customer service. Or possibly my attention to detail has heightened since this time and I’m now expecting more. Either way, the outcome remains the same; I believe the quality of my service has diminished.
Take tonight for example, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner. We arrived approximately ten minutes after 5:00 pm (on a Tuesday), there were at that time three other occupied tables; two of which had already been served. There was apparently only one server for the entire floor; although the server who sat us was not this person. Our drinks were taken, promptly delivered, our order taken and that’s when everything fell apart. Here was our order: 1 medium hand tossed sausage pizza, a single order of regular bread sticks and 2 salads (which we were responsibl to acquire ourselves from the salad bar).
I estimate that from the time our order was taken our bread sticks took ten to twelve minutes to arrive at our table; which I don’t mind all that much, except for the fact that they were somewhat cooled obviously having sat for a few minutes. In defense of our server three other tables had arrived and her attentions had to be split now six ways (or was it five as one of the original tables had left…either way…).
As we ate our salads, our now cold bread sticks the level of our drinks quickly lowered. Typically not problematic unless of course there is never the request for a refill offered. I sat and watched the three tables that had come in and ordered after us receive break sticks, and then pizzas, and still we sat with no pizza and no refills. Oh, but we did have an increasingly discontent toddler with us.
Finally after having served all the tables in the dinning room, refilled all the drinks–minus ours–our server informs us she had lost our ticket and our pizza would be out shortly. More waiting ensued; still no refills mind you. Lest you think she didn’t notice, she couldn’t have not noticed for she preceded to stop and slightly frighten Lily several times never once taking notice of our drinks–or lack there of.
Finally after nearly an hour since placing our order we were informed our pizza was on it’s way. At which point I informed our server we’d take it in a box. Five minutes later out came our pizza, boxed along with our bill. Never once offering an apology, rather pretending as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
Upon paying my bill, I was asked by the manager how everything was. My reply, “It was alright.” “Just alright? Not great?” replied the manager. “No, the service was quite slow, we now have to eat our pizza at home.” The reply…silence. Well, isn’t that just Jim-stinkin’-dandy!!! Seriously, where has the customer service gone?
I’m sure some of you are wondering, did I tip? I did, but only $1.00. Was this rude and out of line? Maybe by some. Personally I don’t feel it was. I have to believe that in a job were a tip is expected it need to be earned, or at least make an effort. Pretent if you have to, but try. Please just don’t expect the tip because that’s the way it’s always been. Times are tough, money is tight, my expectations apparently are high.
In an interesting turn of events, I found myself tonight at the local coffee shop to study. Purchasing only a $2.00 cup of coffee and proceeding to take up space for the next two hours, plus utilize the free wifi I was sent along my way at closing time with the words, “Thanks so much for stopping in, hope you come back again!” Value. That’s what it was I felt. Valued. My $2.00 meant something to them. My choosing their coffee over Starbucks or the stuff in my cupboard counted for something in their eyes. And their warm words of thanks counted for something in mine.
Please tell me customer service is not dead or dying. Please tell me my experience tonight at the coffee shop is the norm, rather than the exception. Please tell me you plan to work for me as your customer regardless of a tip, because the service industry is still about service to the customer.
Ahh, maybe I hope for the wrong thing. Maybe I’m out of line. Maybe I expect where I shouldn’t. Maybe it is the way it is. But I hope not…