Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bad customer service -- what about rude customers?

Several readers commented on the article about customer service in Jan. 27's Business section, including a Wal-Mart associate, Steve, who works in the produce department at a local store.

The other side of the customer service debate, Steve says, is that customers are becoming more difficult for employees to deal with.

"They yell. They scream at the clerks. They are downright rude. And they expect to be treated like royalty," Steve says.

He gives a recent example of a bad customer experience that happened on his shift.

"A woman had opened a container of tomatoes and was picking out ones she felt were bad and was throwing them on the floor. I came over to her and said, 'Oh, I can take those bad ones for you.' She said, 'I am NOT paying $3.99 for bad tomatoes!' I replied, 'OK.' She said: 'You are being rude.' I replied, 'No, I'm not.' I was tryng to be helpful. She said, 'NOW you are talking back to me! The customer is always right!'

"I walked away. She contacted a manager and wanted to have me fired. Of course, store management knew I had done nothing wrong.

"You may think this is an isolated case," Steve continues. "However, it is becoming the norm. Customers know they can take out their aggressions on clerks in shops and be as nasty as they want and no one will do anything about it.

"I've found as time goes on, the customer is becoming more aggressive and more rude. And they wonder why they can't get good help. The customer that comes in with a smile and asks for help will get clerks falling over themselves to help. But you don't hear about that because the customer with the nice experience very seldom says anything. It's the bitter customer that yells the most."

No comments: