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Is customer service dead in this country?

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If you have been following my blog you know that I am outspoken about things I believe in. One of which is customer service. I am a simple man. I love a great hamburger with fresh cut fries and an ice cold beer.  Treat people with respect and courtesy and provide them with a great product or service and the world can be yours regardless of the business that you are in. Life really can be that simple.

In todays over saturated general market place, customer service and quality should be the two largest goals of any company. Couple the high competition and today’s economy and you would think that business owners would be bending over backwards for your hard earned money. The surprising thing to me is that they aren’t and I have come to understand the reason, it’s the consumer. That’s right I said you are reason.

I know that as you are reading this, you are thinking how can I possibly be the reason? It’s simple, we as Americans have come to accept and almost anticipate bad service. When we get the most basic service we are pleased and when we get anything above that we are thrilled. Think about the last time you went into a big box retail store. Did you get any service at all? If you asked for directions toward finding a product did they greet you with a smile and walk you over or did they simply point and give you an area or some possible aisles.

This past week, I went to Las Vegas for a conference. I flew out on Spirit Airlines. They are a price driven company and that’s all that they care about. If you Google Spirit Airlines, in their own website their meta tags and headlines all contain the words, cheap tickets, cheap flights, discount airfare……….. Nowhere in their website do they boast about their service. Truthfully they can’t. My flight out to Las Vegas was delayed 4 hours due to mechanical issues. The exact nature of these issues was never fully disclosed but none the less people were upset. I simply accepted it as I chose to fly Spirit based on trying to find the cheapest price and I got what I paid for. My flight back was also delayed almost an hour and one half due to mechanical issues as well. Either they have the worst planes in the industry that are falling apart or they have the worst luck. All I know is that neither are acceptable and I will be flying a different airline in the future.

I took a cab last night a short distance to where I was storing my car while I was gone. When the cab driver discovered his fair was going to be only $11.00 he was pissed. He then proceeded to drive like a maniac as quickly as possible cutting across three lanes of traffic with no turn signals used. He was driving at least 15-20 miles over the speed limit the entire ride. I honestly believe he was punishing me for wasting his valuable time. I took down his cab number and once at my destination, paid him and then called 311 and reported him to the City of Chicago. He will now have to face a hearing and answer for his actions. Why did I do this? Because if I didn’t he will continue to go on treating people this way and breaking the law as well. I am not trying to ruin anyone’s life or get anyone intentionally fired. I am however making a stand. I will not allow myself to be treated poorly and I won’t patronize companies that do. I would rather pay a little more for something and get quality.

One of my favorite companies to do business with is Every single time I have ever needed anything from this company not only did I get taken care of quickly by their staff, but I was treated perfectly and they also asked each time if it was ok to review my account and go over a few things that might help my website get more traffic or perhaps simply help me in general. I understand that they are looking to upsell but if it helps me as the consumer along the way, I am the happiest man you will ever meet.

If you are a bride to be reading this please consider the value of the customer service you may or may not be receiving from your wedding vendors. Are they a full time company working out of an office that you can drop by if you are in the area and need to ask a question, drop something off, etc? Do they return emails quickly? Do you always talk to voice mail or an actual person when you call the company? The stress of your wedding day is going to be there regardless, it can be a lot less though with great vendors. You may pay a few dollars more but it will be worth every penny.

If you are reading this and you are on the other side of the desk. Challenge yourself.  How can you better serve your customer? Even if you think and know you are doing a great job now, the world is ever changing which means that your service needs to change and evolve as well.

The #1 rule in business is to serve the customer.  For the past two years KCE has won the Best of the Knot. We would like to believe that it is because of the service that our company provides to our clients.