Customer Service Stinks

Mar 30, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

It’s amazing, in a day and age when businesses spend so much time talking about customer service, how little of it customers feel they actually get.

According to the latest results from the University of Michigan Business School’s American Customer Satisfaction Index, consumers gave a 57 out of 100 grade for complaint handling to businesses in 40 industries.

David VanAmburg, managing director of the index, told the Washington Post, “No one does a particularly good job in handling complaints.”

Even the industry that did the best job of dealing with consumer complaints, supermarkets, only received a grade of 76.

John Tschohl, a Minneapolis-based customer service consultant said, “Customer service is getting worse; it’s not getting better.”

The reason behind the decline in customer service is easy to identify, according to Mr. Tschohl. “Corporate America is not spending any money to train its staff,” he said.

Moderator’s Comment: Do you agree that the general level of customer service is declining? What is behind this and
what will it take to remedy the situation?

Training is a necessity, but even that will do little good if employees don’t feel a sense of ownership when it comes to the business.

It’s easy for employees at companies like Trader Joe’s to feel a sense of ownership because the company they work for trusts them and their customers.

If a Trader Joe’s customer has a complaint or wishes to make a return, they simply go to the checkout and a crewmember handles it — no questions need to
be answered and no receipt needs to be presented.
Anderson – Moderator

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