Take the woman who served me the other day from behind the counter at a local cafe. You would expect a greeting something along the lines of "May I help you?" But what did I get instead? A look. Just a look. A look that seemed to say, "Whaddya want? God, I'm so bored. Just give me your damn order so I can go in the back and shoot myself."
And then, after I ordered, and changed my mind (a woman's prerogative, you know), I received no comment. No, "No problem." Just a sigh and a pause whilst she no doubt attempted to decide how on earth she could possibly change my order from a smoothie to a cup of tea? I mean, I felt for her. Really, I did. Making decisions like that are right up there with, "How do I solve world hunger?" and "How can I promote world peace?" No wonder she wore a pained expression on her face when she eventually served me my tea.
It also bugs me the way in which how many of those in the service industry ask if you need assistance. When I worked behind a reception desk, about a million years ago, I would greet each customer paying their rent with, "May I help you?" AND a smile. Here's the normal question I hear these days when I'm waiting for assistance: "Are you right?"
I'm always so tempted to say when someone asks me that, "Well, you know, no one can be right 100% of the time, now can they? I like to think, that when I give my opinion on something, I know what I'm talking about. I mean, don't we all? (*wink*) But, no. I'm not always right. Am I right at this very point in time? Well....oh. I'm sorry. What was it that you were asking me if I'm right about? I've forgotten." (insert sarcastic smile)
Of course, there's also the more direct answer to that question, being, "Well, do you think I'm 'right'? I mean, considering I've been standing here in this line for the last 10 minutes, behind this sign right here that says, 'Please wait here for assistance' with a shoe from your store in my hand, and my toddler having a tantrum over there because I won't let him wear those $249 pair of boots you've got on display..do you think I'm 'right'?"
Whatever happened to, "May I help you?" or "How can I help you?" Is it really that difficult, people?
And don't get me started about standing in line, waiting for ages, whilst the person behind the counter serves someone else for what seems like an hour (or chats on the phone - ugh!) with not even so much as a "Sorry to keep you waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment." That's all I want. Just a little of acknowledgement that I'm there. They notice me. They WANT to serve me, and I will be served.
And it would be nice if it was done with a smile too.
What about you? Any horror stories you want to share about the lack of customer service I'm talking about? Come on. Make me feel better. It's not just me, is it?
Until next time...