Too many companies only go through the motions of customer service. The only company I have continually had a good run of customer service with is Apple. When it comes to bikes and bike shops, I’ve run into too much machismo. I may have ridden bikes for decades, but I still have simple questions when I am looking at products or have an issue with my bike. However, the attitude you get from many of the shop guys makes you not want to ask. I actually got the best service for a bike shop last year when I lived a block from an REI in Schaumburg, IL. REI might be overpriced, but I’m willing to pay extra for the lack of condescension. Now that I’m back living in my hometown all the time, I have had a more difficult time finding a place with comfortable atmosphere.
Is there any more important topic than this? And Kent is soooo right–too many companies just go through the motions. It’s weird how in the present when the “mass market” is becoming less and less relevant, and providing service directly to customers with particular needs, which can now be satisfied directly, you still come across poor service in so many places. I deal with customers and suppliers mainly on a B2B level and have ongoing issues with the latter, the key issues being poor communication. So many times answers are given to questions I never asked and the questions I needed answering never get answered which seems to stem from apathy and lack of passion (it’s just a job) by the personnel charged with the responsibility of customer liaison. I think companies need to place high EQ at the top of the list of selection criteria. I have to be thankful, though, to those experiences, because they clearly show what not (emphasized) to do. All boiled down, business is (emphasized) service, and although customers should not have to pay a premium to get decent service (developed economies are service economies), they are prepared to–that can only be good for businesses that are prepared to do the (often difficult) job of providing the best service possible.
I sadly think good customer service is slowly becoming a thing of the past. We try to utilize our LBS as much as possible, but the poor customer service we’ve gotten has really driven us away to shop for everything online. Gone are the days of walking in to the LBS and the owner/staff working with you to find what you want – and if it’s not in stock actually ordering it for you! We’ve been told on multiple occasions (for various products) “We don’t have it in stock now but I’ll put it in Monday’s order. Come back next weekend and it’ll be here”, only to arrive the next weekend and be told “Oh, I never ordered it” or “Gosh, I forgot about that. Next week OK?” We also get a lot “Company ABC doesn’t make that anymore, why don’t you try this XYZ product” that just happens to be much more expensive. And this is after we found exactly what we wanted on ABC’s website as a current/available item but chose to shop locally. While I’d much rather support local business, it’s becoming much less appealing due to the lack of good & honest service.
Do you have any “good customer service” experiences to share?