To think it's no wonder that so many businesses go out of business when they treat customers like shit?

(130 Posts)
oolajoola Sun 16-Feb-14 20:27:37

It's almost as if some shops/salons/companies don't actually want any custom at all....

I recently phoned up a local ironing company as I've been working a lot of hours recently and wanted to get our (huge backlog) of ironing done. A gruff woman answered the phone and when I said 'hello, I'd be interested in getting some ironing done' I got an abrupt 'No we're not looking for anymore customers' and she virtually put the phone down! They may well be stacked out with customers now but this may not always be the case, and they will never ever get any custom from me now. Surely it would make better business sense to be polite.

Yesterday I went to get my hair cut. The hairdresser who cut it is lovely, but then at the end I had to go to the counter to pay, which was manned by the woman who owns the salon, with four other hairdressers standing by her chatting. They were all really hostile and made it clear that I was interrupting their conversation by daring to stand there and pay! I made my next appointment, and asked for it to be written on a card, and got much huffing and puffing and the owner just slapped the card down on the counter and didn't say a word.

There is also a local soft play place, where the service is absolutely atrocious. Things like staff standing around talking and being fully aware that there is a queue of customers to be let in, but ignoring customers for 10 or more minutes until they can be bothered to let them in. Or 6 members of staff standing behind the snacks counter chatting, with one staff member serving a queue of about 10 customers. They really don't seem to give a toss. I'd stop going there if my kids didn't love it there.

Surely happy customers are an essential for any business? Why do places just not seem to care or offer any customer service at all?

oolajoola Sun 16-Feb-14 20:29:07

Forgot to mention too the receptionist at the local branch of a large healthclub chain that I go to, who is a total dragon, very very rude, and even the healthclub manager won't dare to tell her to be polite to customers as he's scared of her!

ramonaquimby Sun 16-Feb-14 20:31:09

Service IS generally bad in England. Always surprises me when I have good service.

Pigletin Sun 16-Feb-14 20:32:10

YANBU. This is why I much prefer the US attitude and culture of tipping - it gets you good service EVERY time. People say it's fake, bla bla...I don't care if it is as long as I'm getting good customer service. And I'm happy to tip for that.

In the UK if I get bad customer service I just don't go back.

OuterFromOutersville Sun 16-Feb-14 20:32:33

I do know what you mean to a certain extent. There's an expensive card shop in the nearest town to me, and whenever I go in, the (always different?) member of staff seems to think up novel ways to be rude to me. Similarly, in a gift-y type shop in the next village, the owners / staff always seem slightly off.

Oh God, It's me, isn't it grin?

SanityClause Sun 16-Feb-14 20:41:11

I recently went with my family to eat at a restaurant. It was one of a chain - we had eaten a delicious snack at another just before Christmas, but didn't realise it was a chain, so when we found the second, we were delighted.

Anyway, we were seated, ordered and were served with drinks. Then waited, and waited and waited for our food.

Tables which had been empty when we arrived were being served, and we still waited. Finally, I complained. The manager came over, apologised profusely, and told us the whole meal was on the house!

We were so pleased with their desire to acknowledge their mistake, we will definitely be loyal customers from now on.

In fact, I will give them a little plug - Le Comptoir Libanais.

FoxyHarlow123 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:44:10

Couldn't agree more. Bad service = no repeat custom from me.

oolajoola Sun 16-Feb-14 20:49:23

I often wonder if it's the area in which I live, as it's not a very friendly area. Lots of small town attitude and people that are big fishes in a small pond.

VoyageDeVerity Sun 16-Feb-14 20:51:38

I couldn't agree more with this OP

bluebell234 Sun 16-Feb-14 20:59:48

I agree with that, too.
I think they are not happy with their wages and they act like that which isn't right.

getdownshep Sun 16-Feb-14 21:02:46

I have had a similar experience in my hairdressers after a £60 haircut, standing there waiting to pay getting ignored.
I also treat myself monthly to an eyebrow thread and tint, been going to the same place for a few months.
I got left sitting in reception for 25 minutes last time with no explanation then when I paid and asked for a card reminder that was slapped down in front of me!
She was the owner as well, nice attitude to your customerconfused

YANBU, but why didn't you say something at the time?
Yes, they shouldn't be so rude in the first place, but the problem is, the majority of people put up with it, a minority go elsewhere and a far smaller minority complain, then there's no incentive for them to pull up their boots. Probably fewer fail through poor customer service than through poorly thought out business plans.

oolajoola Sun 16-Feb-14 21:11:49

I have long since given up complaining. In the past I've just ended up looking like a moaning Minnie. Very few shops/companies will take a complaint on board IME

ihatethecold Sun 16-Feb-14 21:12:20

You should vote with your feet then and not return.

NinjaBunny Sun 16-Feb-14 21:12:43

I made my next appointment, and asked for it to be written on a card, and got much huffing and puffing and the owner just slapped the card down on the counter and didn't say a word.

Don't go.

Find another hairdresser.

I don't go back to places where staff are rude. Ever.

Just don't go back. I wouldn't return anywhere where people have been rude to me. Especially the owners, as they are the ones that set the tone - if they don't care, none of their staff will!

Joules68 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:17:12

I'm sorry to hear that customer service is considered as bad in the uk

I always try hard with my customers at the shop I work in. I get thanked a lot, but as yet, nobody has emailed/called in recognition. Does anyone ever do that when they get exceptional service?

iloveweetos Sun 16-Feb-14 21:22:59

Every time I go to buy my weekly bus ticket the women are always chatting and I feel like I'm interrupting. So rude but I need to travel so have no choice. Usually I wouldn't go back. I'm too much of a wuss to complain

Pigletin Sun 16-Feb-14 21:24:00

Joules, I used to do that when I lived abroad....on several occasions actually. Just never had a reason to do it here.

I would cancel your hairdressers appointment, and tell them how rude they were.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 16-Feb-14 21:26:22

I was in a clothes shop not so long ago and found a shirt that I quite liked. It was an impulse buy, not something I was desperate for. The lady behind the counter ignored me while she straightened up a few already straight bits and pieces and so I stood there for a few minutes waiting for her to acknowledge me. When she could finally be bothered to stop and serve me I said I'm going to leave this now, because you are rude and your service is appalling and I don't want to give you my money. She had the audacity to look affronted. I was pleased that I had stood up for myself though. She clearly didn't think my money was worth the effort.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 16-Feb-14 21:30:52

I've just thought of a good one Joules. When I was looking for a duffle coat for dd1 I found a red one in Boden but they were sold out. I rang customer services and asked if they were likely to be able to find one. The lovely young chap on the phone did some sort of mass stock take and rang me back to say he'd located one and he'd send it to me. I was delighted and made sure I thanked him profusely. Made my day. smile

But at least you would have made your point - particularly now you're going back, there is no incentive for them to change.

LongTailedTit Sun 16-Feb-14 21:36:31

Yep - I recently had my boots resoled in my small town and the bloke made it very clear that customers were a huge inconvenience, didn't even make an effort to be polite let alone friendly.
His is the only cobblers in town, but I will never go back there. I'd rather drive to the next town and find someone who wants my business.
Also the repair cost me £25 and my right boot is already leaking!

On the up side, the mobile hairdresser who does my hair is brilliant and I texted her to let her know how happy I was with my cut - she liked having the feedback. smile

NinjaBunny Sun 16-Feb-14 21:38:45

In ASDA once I went through a friend's till.

Apparently this is Not Allowed and you're not supposed to go through a till if you no the person working on it. Although there were no signs/notices saying as such.

Friend zapped my shopping through, I was about to pay, we were chatting (which I believe supermarket staff are told to do) when a 'superior' stormed over and had a go at both of us.

I told her if she was going to be rude to me I'd shop elsewhere and left my stuff unpaid for.

Said goodbye nicely to my friend though.

grin

I was also once going to rent a house through a really rude/snooty letting agents who'd been talking to us like we were shit off their shoes.

Only put up with it because we were desperate.

Paid all of the fees and arranged to pick up the keys and pay rent/deposit on XX date.

Found a private let in the meantime, no fees, cheaper, lovely landlady and took that instead.

When bitchy letting agents rang us on XX date to ask when we were collecting the keys we told them we weren't because we'd decided they were too awkward to deal with.

Lost our fees but was fecking worth it to teach them a lesson!!

wink

threeblueducks Sun 16-Feb-14 21:39:00

As someone who works for a large company and is monitored on customer satisfaction scores I find it baffling that smaller businesses don't have it at the forefront of their business targets.
A small thankyou or personable experience goes such a long way nowadays.

Crowler Sun 16-Feb-14 21:45:53

Unfortunately I have to agree. People are pretty rude.

I went to my hairdresser recently and found that my lovely young girl who does my hair had been promoted. They were very casual about the fact that the cost of my color had gone up by £50. I didn't say anything but probably won't go back. That's too much money to pass off without explanation or warning.

Elliptic5 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:46:02

Thought this was another Boden "stock discrepancy" thread grin

Crowler Sun 16-Feb-14 21:46:37

I should say, as I was paying they told me very casually (not before)

ivykaty44 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:48:05

Service is seen as a second rate job in England and until that changes not a lot else will.

There are numerous posts on Mon with people sharing there experience as a waitress or shop assistant whilst at uni working to get a degree and a better job, a career, this type of work is seen as fill in jobs and unimportant

Gladvent Sun 16-Feb-14 21:56:58

I am running out of places to shop as I don't go back if I've had bad service!

Recently needed some nice outfits for DC for very special occasion - looking at £150-200 total spend. Popped into small independent shop near work to see what they had, before dragging DC in.

The owner was so snotty I'm not going back. I was asking about different sizes and colours of boys suits and she said haughtily '3 weeks is rather cutting it fine. It's not as though you can ask for something and it arrives the next day. We don't work like that here.'

So I thought fuck it and went to Debenhams instead.

MrsChocolateCupcake Sun 16-Feb-14 22:00:53

My sister went into a wedding dress shop with her MIL2B when she was getting married a few years ago, and a rather plump lady sat at her desk while munching her lunch shouting down the shop at every dress my sister pulled out making a comment on her figure and how it would be too tight on the hips etc.. my sister came away upset she was only pulling them out to look.
It stuck with me and when I got married 3 year's after her I avoided the place like the plague.. The irony is it's now some sort of breakfast bar place. Maybe she still runs it lol!

honestpointofview Sun 16-Feb-14 22:09:22

Yes Joules I do; I make a specific point of doing so.

YANBU Oola. The biggest problem I have is opening hours of the independent shops where I am. There are a few good ones but a lot sometimes just decide not to open, or open late, or close early. Yes i know it is difficult running a small shop, I have done it for it years but not once I have not opened or open late. I normally give them once chance and usually go back and ask why they were closed. I have yet to hear a real good reason.

As you also say the service is just so poor in the main. I stick to the shops that try and there are some. They change the window displays regularly, the change the products, they offer good value and most importantly good customer service. I will continue to use those and tell everyone about them and the poor ones.

LittleMissMac Sun 16-Feb-14 22:11:15

Appalling service is one of the favourite rants of my dad, who has never lived in England and is constantly amazed at the general levels of surliness when he visits us in London from Scotland.

'You just have to remember everyone hates you' is his catchphrase.

Poor service is not exclusive to the south east but it is particularly bad round these parts. I think we are just inured to it.

NinjaBunny Sun 16-Feb-14 22:17:28

The biggest problem I have is opening hours of the independent shops where I am. There are a few good ones but a lot sometimes just decide not to open, or open late, or close early.

An ex friend (who was pretty dismissive/rude to customers anyway) had a 10am opening sign on her door but would frequently not open until 11am or later.

She was under this weird illusion that customers would go for a coffee and come back when she was open and wouldn't listen when I said they'd just go home.

We had another gifty type shop in town too. Sold really nice stuff. Was hardly ever open. Mentioned it once and the owner said 'people will come back another day'.

They won't. They'll go home and order it online..!

confused

StickyProblem Sun 16-Feb-14 22:20:12

A vibration plate "gym" has just closed in my town, after being open only a year. It was run by a couple - he was very enthusiastic, while she wasn't too bothered.

I paid monthly by direct debit, and because of travelling for work most weeks, going on Saturday afternoon worked well for me. They were supposed to close at 5pm, it was always the woman who was working that day.... after going in at 4:20pm or so two weeks running and she was sitting there with a face like thunder and the floor wet and reeking of bleach because she'd mopped it, I gave up, and cancelled the monthly arrangement. It just wasn't fun to go when she clearly didn't want anyone there and was counting the minutes before she could close

On their Facebook page, it seemed like every week the opening hours shortened....they never connected how she behaved with the fact that people didn't go there. It was sad that they shut down, and I bet they haven't a clue why people stopped coming (I didn't have the balls to tell them)..... This is a big problem with bad service - people don't know why people are upset by what they are doing, and they keep doing it.

Pipbin Sun 16-Feb-14 22:22:04

I agree, however I honestly believe that everyone should do one years 'national service' of working in retail so they can understand what a soul sucking horror it can be. How you have to stand there and take it while being called a c**t.

I always make it my mission to be friendly and polite in shops, rather than treating staff like shit, and I generally get good service.

honestpointofview Sun 16-Feb-14 22:51:23

So true Ninja. I either give up and order online or go to a bigger town and go to the chain stores. At least they open when they say they will.

Did you ex friends store survive?

Bunbaker Sun 16-Feb-14 22:56:18

How come so many of you get bad service? I would say that I very rarely get bad service. I don't know whether it is because I live in a friendly area or, dare I say it, I am nice to the people who serve me.

I smile at people in shops/hairdressers etc, I chat to them and am polite. It pays dividends.

NinjaBunny Sun 16-Feb-14 22:57:08

Did you ex friends store survive?

Yes. But it's supplemented with eBay sales.

She pays staff cash in hand, hides money from the tax man and general other dodginess though.

We fell out because I worked for her for three days and she tried to get out of paying me.

hmm

oolajoola Sun 16-Feb-14 23:00:08

Bunbaker, I'm polite and nice to those that serve me in shops too smile.

I think a lot of it is due to people in the area in which I live (grew up elsewhere where people were far friendlier). Locals are pretty unfriendly in general, and are suspicious of small talk.

honestpointofview Sun 16-Feb-14 23:01:28

Evening Pipbin

That is true and I am like you, generally get better service because I am polite and friendly. I also found, having worked in a mixture of independent and chain stores for 13 years, that if I was helpful, polite and friendly to the customers the vast majority were the same back.

I sometimes think that with some companies (I have a few companies including one particular airline) that they create a vicious circular. They treat the customers badly so they customers react badly. The staff then think all customers are horrible so they treat very badly and the customers get worse.

Bunbaker Sun 16-Feb-14 23:03:55

"When she could finally be bothered to stop and serve me I said I'm going to leave this now, because you are rude and your service is appalling and I don't want to give you my money."

Brilliant!

Pigletin Sun 16-Feb-14 23:05:35

honest this smells like Ryanair grin

StickyProblem Sun 16-Feb-14 23:07:39

I'm always polite and friendly, and with the gym people I got to know them and they got to know me, we always chatted. I've done my time in retail and always treat people in shops like actual people. Lots of people are rude to shop workers - but it's not always the customer that's wrong.

honestpointofview Sun 16-Feb-14 23:08:44

Ninja

Why am i not surprised. The sad thing is for many small businesses it would be very possible to make a good honest profit if they were polite, helpful, opened when they say they would, stocked good products, well laid out, priced up and at reasonable prices. So many fail at the basics.

theluckiest Sun 16-Feb-14 23:14:03

The worst I have come across recently is an independent shop that sells school uniform. The woman actually sneers when you enter her hallowed shop which reeks of cigarettes. She is like a Roald Dahl character who actively dislikes children. Or customers. Or humans in any form.

I had my DS with me and she looked at him like he was some repulsive worm she had to put up with.....he was perfectly behaved btw. Surely children are a bit of a given in a school uniform shop???!!

I asked if she had the fleece for DS's school and she looked at me as if I had asked if I could take a dump on her floor.

I honestly have no idea how she is still in business. I speak to friends with school age kids who would never shop there.

And the fact is that there are two school uniform shops within a mile...surely you would bend over backwards to hold onto custom??

And DH works in retail so we know how shit it is from both sides. He refuses to set foot in there too.

MorrisZapp Sun 16-Feb-14 23:17:19

Oh come on, anybody looking for polite and friendly service will be polite and friendly themselves. I agree about service jobs, but I had one for years and was never rude or dismissive towards customers, despite not being in the job long term.

Loads of people who work in ships etc genuinely think they're doing you a favour by selling yiu stuff. When I say 'thanks' after the transaction, often they say 'no problem'. Um, what? Of course it's not a problem.

honestpointofview Sun 16-Feb-14 23:18:16

Pigletin - I could not possibly comment!!

Sticky I have too and follow the same principle. It does not always work though whether it be the independents or the chains. Where however the independents fail for me is on the opening hours a. I have given up with many near me because of this and wait until I am near a bigger town.

Mintyy Sun 16-Feb-14 23:19:59

Worst customer service I have ever experienced by far was from American Airlines at Seattle airport. So, no, the US doesn't always get it right.

LongTailedTit Sun 16-Feb-14 23:21:05

Bunbaker Yes, I'm always polite and friendly! Even more than usual with grumpy cobbler misery guts as I thought maybe he was just having a bad day the first time I went in. Nope, on boot collection day he was just as off with me. Because he's a crap businessman who shouldn't be in a customer-facing role.

Pipbin I agree, I've worked a few retail jobs and did a decade on reception, but actually I think it may make me hold people to a higher standard as I know how crappy the job can be and yet still managed to be generally pleasant to customers and guests.

ComposHat Sun 16-Feb-14 23:22:15

I know a lot of pubs are closing at the moment, but it isn't always the tragedy it is painted as in the media.

The overwhelming majority of pubs near me that have closed have been appallingly badly run. Staffed by surly and unhelpful staff, have had an uninspiring choice of drinks (not the licensee's fault if they are tied to a chain), have been shabby and dirty, have filthy beer lines and have made little effort at promotion or reaching out to new clientèle

I know that this isn't always the case, but in a number, it really is good riddance to bad rubbish.

oolajoola Sun 16-Feb-14 23:22:15

MorrisZapp there's a bloke in my local 'express' supermarket who always just says 'you're welcome' if you say thanks to him after the transaction. He never says please or thank you and genuinely seems to think he's doing you a favour by serving you. He's also a total sexist chauvinistic pig, and arrogant and rude to boot.

Bunbaker Sun 16-Feb-14 23:22:17

I have worked in retail as well and remember how knackered I was at the end of the day.

NinjaBunny Sun 16-Feb-14 23:22:18

The worst I have come across recently is an independent shop that sells school uniform. The woman actually sneers when you enter her hallowed shop which reeks of cigarettes. She is like a Roald Dahl character who actively dislikes children. Or customers. Or humans in any form.

shock

I know her!!

She runs Scholars in Trowbridge, yes?

She looked at me like I wanted to take a dump on the floor too. I only wanted some PE t-shirts which I eventually bought in Tesco where the staff are nice to me.

theluckiest Sun 16-Feb-14 23:26:28

Oh dear Ninjabunny...that means there are two of them in existence!!! Mine is in Birmingham.

Perhaps it's a chain? 'Really horrible school wear for massive prices sold by someone who hates you.' That's why mums go to Sainsburys. Or Tesco. Except for the sodding jumper with the school logo on it and massively overpriced flimsy book bag.

NearTheWindmill Sun 16-Feb-14 23:30:39

I find staff in shops and supermarkets generally very nice and very helpful with only the occasional bit of bad service.

I am as nice to NHS staff (especially receptionists in both private practice and hospitals) as I am in shops, supermarkets, restaurants, bars, etc. Can someone explain why they are so uninlaterally rude - ours don't even look up as you walk in anymore and if you dare ask a question like "where is surgery number 6 please" you just get barked out. Name? Date of birth? Sit down and you'll be called - and that's about as gracious as it gets. It irks. Why are they so rude - is it a London thing?

NearTheWindmill Sun 16-Feb-14 23:31:17

private practice, means GP practice.

ComposHat Sun 16-Feb-14 23:41:59

near you're right, GP and school receptionists can be spectacularly rude.

I think it is their proximity to someone who they perceive as important the (doctor/headteacher etc) and they enjoy the power of being the 'gatekeeper' to that important person and basking in their reflected glory.

Also they probably do have to deal with a lot of unreasonable idiots in the course of their day, but it doesn't give them the right to take it out on people who are being perfectly nice to them.

SanityClause Sun 16-Feb-14 23:57:23

The receptionists at our GPs are lovely, and very helpful. Obviously, they can't help it if a repeat prescription hasn't been made up in the normal time frame, or whatever, so it's not fair to blame them for that sort of thing. But if they can help, they will.

I have three DCs at three different schools, and have always found the office staff to be very warm and helpful. The secretary at DS's school, in particular is a real sweety, and really goes out of her way to make you feel at ease, and that whatever you are asking for is no trouble.

ComposHat Mon 17-Feb-14 00:04:44

I want to move to your town sanity

theimposter Mon 17-Feb-14 01:33:59

Lots of people are quick to moan about bad service (rightly so; don't be a silent victim) but as a small business owner myself I make a point of recognising good service. Point in case my DSD wanted a particular perfume for Christmas. DP had ordered it with the Perfume Store who then at the last minute let him down after a stock mess up. I rang Superdrug and despite the fact they were clearly busy the young guy rang their other branches, located the perfume and rang us back to let us know. We asked to speak to his manager and told her how polite, efficient and helpful he had been and she sounded really surprised and chuffed that we had bothered as I bet hardly anyone does!

CouthyMow Mon 17-Feb-14 02:04:08

There's two sides to this - one, having worked in customer service, I believe that part of that is to always be polite to customers. Two, it IS hard to remain polite when people are looking at you, and talking to you like something they've trodden in, and like you are 'less' than them because you work in customer service, and all for the grand total of £6 something an hour.

I'm glad I'm out of it now - I was getting to the point where if one more person had spoken to me in a condescending manner as if I couldn't add two and two together, I might have started to be VERY impolite to them...

There is a reason SOME customers were known as cuntstomers. If you were the nice customer straight after a cuntstomer, it's hard to readjust from wanting to shit down someone's neck whilst still smiling and trying to be polite through gritted teeth to being GENUINELY polite!

(Though I always scored well on mystery shopper tests for politeness, so I can't have been too bad at it...)

beaglesaresweet Mon 17-Feb-14 02:04:19

I came across a shockingly rude, angry older woman who volunteered in a charity shop. She was actually swearing under her breath just because I was deciding whether I wanted to buy something and was thinking while looking at the item. I didn't need her attention, she could focus on anything else!
She was going 'for f*s sake, for f*s sake..' in a very tetchy voice, 'it's a charity shop' (erm so what? doesn't mean i have to pay over the odds for an antique object which I know the value of. I used to buy there regularly, so spent quite a bit there). It wasn't very loud so I thought I've misheard at first, but no! The bloke who was standing at a distance also started looking.
Yes, I know it's good of you to volunteer, but you should NEVER work in customer service role if you can't control yourself, or be tolerant of people being slow..and she was over 60, the polite generation so to speak! Because she was older, I couldn't really answer back, even though I made some protest, but I was quite upset afterwards. Always best to speak your mind, as otherwise you feel like you've accepted someone's shitty behaviour, makes you feel even worse than the actual bad service.

Bogeyface Mon 17-Feb-14 02:13:38

There was (was!) a gift shop in town where the owner was clearly doing you a favour by allowing you to buy her goods. Not surprisingly, she went out of business fairly quickly but....she then gave an interview to the local paper about how it was the councils fault for pedestrianising the high street...a good ten years before she opened her shop! Given the tone of the piece, I rather suspect that the paper was allowing her hang herself on her own rope!

BeetlebumShesAGun Mon 17-Feb-14 02:38:53

I had the independent vs chain service problem the other day. I was going to visit my friend on the train and had DD in her pram. Had about 30 minutes to kill so decided to go to the local lovely cafe for a cuppa to get out of the wind and rain. The cafe has a step up and a heavy door, and being a fool novice with the pram I struggled to get the pram up over the step while holding the door open. I could see a couple of members of staff inside chatting away, watching me. No offers of help from them (or from members of the public but that's another thread. After a couple of minutes I thought fuck this and went across the street to Costa, where a staff member was happy, chatty, offered to bring me my drink as I had the pram, and when I stood up to leave a different member of staff rushed across the shop to hold the door for me!

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 03:49:58

I don't know that the customer service here is so dreadful, really. It depends on what you compare it with.

DD is studying in the Netherlands at the moment, and often comments how bad the customer service is in restaurants there. They NEVER come back to your table to see if you are OK, or want anything else, it's very hard to get hold of them when you want to pay, etc. I think it's probably because the Dutch don't 'do' tipping, so why should the waiters care? The only good service place she found was an Italian family-run business. So DD prefers to save up eating out for when she is back visiting UK.

Her friend went to have her hair done there, she has quite thick hair. Half-way through blow-drying it the hairdresser got bored and wandered off never to return!

That being said, the Dutch are lovely people, if a bit blunt!

manicinsomniac Mon 17-Feb-14 05:06:13

Usually I find most customer service is good. I don't think many people are nasty or rude really, just a small minority; and even then not all of the time.

Yesterday I did come across an example in one of those posh food markets in London though (the one on the South Bank) My friend wanted a biscuit (any biscuit, she wasn't fussy) and we stood at this stall for about 5 minutes in the freezing cold dusk. The two people behind the stall just completely ignored us and continued their conversation so we just walked off and bought the biscuit from another stall. They all sell similar stuff so I'm surprised they aren't falling over each other for custom.

On thing I will always be wary of though is that you just don't know what kind of day people have had. Once my lovely local pub decided to close 3 hours early on a Sunday night. One of my (very drunk) friends started arguing with the bar tender and telling her that she wasn't allowed to close when he still wanted to drink and didn't she know that the customer was always right and telling her she was rude etc. She was in there working on her own. She started crying. I felt awful. Maybe someone close to her was dying or maybe she was sick or just really tired, I don't know. But she was obviously closing because she couldn't cope any more and being shouted at was the last straw.

lunar1 Mon 17-Feb-14 05:16:55

I can't believe the post office hasn't been mentioned yet. I once dared to take in two parcels in one visit and was treated to a lecture on how much she hated eBay. I have to say I wasn't moved to join the outrage at the local post office closing. Maybe if she wasn't abusive to paying customers they could have stayed open.

Quinteszilla Mon 17-Feb-14 05:30:33

Yet, you accept poor service because you keep going back to the same salon, which proves that good service does not matter.

wowfudge Mon 17-Feb-14 05:42:24

So right about charity shops, especially older staff - they so often don't have a clue. OH loves rooting around in the book sections and came home with something I realised he already had. When he took it back to swap for something different the young member of staff was really helpful but the older one was all 'we don't do returns' so he showed her he genuinely had the book already and said he was likely to buy more books on this visit. She huffed and puffed but let him swap the book.

And yes about Post Offices complaining about ebayers, who must be one of their main sources of income these days. I've had one of the counter staff complaining to me about how long they take to serve with all their parcels.

What about some banks? You go in at lunchtime, there's a queue a mile long and only one or two counters open. The staff never seem to try to hurry up. Instead they try to flog all manner of other stuff you don't want to know about because by the time it is your turn you've got two minutes left of your break to get lunch and get back to work. If you complain about the lack of staff they tell you to use a machine instead!

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 06:24:35

I have never had the experience like some people say of being ignored for ages whilst waiting to pay in a salon. If it happened to me (after a few minutes), my impulse would be to head for the door saying loudly something like 'I see you're not taking payments today, so I'll just go, shall I?'. That would sort them out!

PaulInHolland Mon 17-Feb-14 06:29:33

NadiaWadia, I have heard that Dutch service is not as good as that in the UK, but there is still good service. I eat out regularly and have had plenty of restaurant staff asking about my meal.

I've worked in retail for 10 years (just about to leave!) and I'm polite to everyone, even if they give me reason not to be. It is very hard sometimes though and generally customers are not grateful for the, sometimes, huge amounts of effort you go to to source things. Yes you are the paying customer but I'm still a human and just because I work in a service role doesn't mean I'm an uneducated idiot.
Wages are shocking in most retail roles because it's not considered a skilled job. So frankly, employers get what they pay for. I am the assistant manager of the shop I work in and I only get paid 30p above minimum wage.

Just to add, I appreciate it's not the customer's fault that wages are low but it probably goes some way to explaining why service can be shit.

AntlersInAllOfMyDecorating Mon 17-Feb-14 07:30:08

I had excellent service at a subway, phoned in the next morning. Have noticed really friendly people last few years.

Don't bloody talk at the checkout though!

NadiaWadia Mon 17-Feb-14 07:35:26

PaulInHolland pleased you managed to get some good service in Netherlands, maybe you go to more upmarket restaurants than my DD and her friends! She does love it there on the whole, and Amsterdam is wonderful, isn't it?

kungfupannda Mon 17-Feb-14 07:36:38

^NinjaBunny Sun 16-Feb-14 23:22:18
The worst I have come across recently is an independent shop that sells school uniform. The woman actually sneers when you enter her hallowed shop which reeks of cigarettes. She is like a Roald Dahl character who actively dislikes children. Or customers. Or humans in any form.

shock

I know her!!

She runs Scholars in Trowbridge, yes?^

I wonder if that's the overpriced uniform place my Trowbridge friend was complaining about...

kungfupannda Mon 17-Feb-14 07:36:52

Italics fail.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Feb-14 07:50:18

I think businesses truly mis-understand how important good service is.

I buy all my face creams and products from an independent shop a few miles away (they post it for me) rather than buying it online because she is just such a lovely, lovely woman. Occasionally we make the journey to Ringwood to see her and she treats us like we are old friends coming to say hi. That gets your business.

I have left doctors surgeries because of awful nurses and nasty receptionists. I go out of my way to visit a particular M+S garage in town who have the most wonderful customer service, they know the coffee I like and often give me a free 'stamp' on my loyalty card because they know I save them up until I am skint. I go in there sometimes 4 times a day for various bits as I am driving around with my job, if its six in the morning they offer me a bleary eye'd hello and make me a coffee without pressuring me for conversation, if its 11am they will have a chat and make me feel really welcome. Because of this I will bypass other garages in favour of them.

On the other side, I have been treated appallingly by a garage on the other side of town so I simply don't go in there at all anymore, I will drive on and find a different shop or garage rather than speak to them.

I also think facebook is really good, there is a tacky gift shop in the centre of my town and I bought a flowery coat hook from there (loved it, thought it was great) and the woman treated me like I was going to steal things from her! So I have not been back and have found on facebook that she has treated a number of my friends in a similar way. She won't last long.

It is so important to offer polite and personalised service. Mind you I am smily at everyone I meet so I tend to get a better service and often product than many. It definitely goes both ways.

Fifyfomum Mon 17-Feb-14 07:50:19

I think businesses truly mis-understand how important good service is.

I buy all my face creams and products from an independent shop a few miles away (they post it for me) rather than buying it online because she is just such a lovely, lovely woman. Occasionally we make the journey to Ringwood to see her and she treats us like we are old friends coming to say hi. That gets your business.

I have left doctors surgeries because of awful nurses and nasty receptionists. I go out of my way to visit a particular M+S garage in town who have the most wonderful customer service, they know the coffee I like and often give me a free 'stamp' on my loyalty card because they know I save them up until I am skint. I go in there sometimes 4 times a day for various bits as I am driving around with my job, if its six in the morning they offer me a bleary eye'd hello and make me a coffee without pressuring me for conversation, if its 11am they will have a chat and make me feel really welcome. Because of this I will bypass other garages in favour of them.

On the other side, I have been treated appallingly by a garage on the other side of town so I simply don't go in there at all anymore, I will drive on and find a different shop or garage rather than speak to them.

I also think facebook is really good, there is a tacky gift shop in the centre of my town and I bought a flowery coat hook from there (loved it, thought it was great) and the woman treated me like I was going to steal things from her! So I have not been back and have found on facebook that she has treated a number of my friends in a similar way. She won't last long.

It is so important to offer polite and personalised service. Mind you I am smily at everyone I meet so I tend to get a better service and often product than many. It definitely goes both ways.

ProfYaffle Mon 17-Feb-14 08:08:56

Like the op I live in a small town. Generally speaking service in shops is great, people make the time to stop and chat etc However there is the 'only x in the village' mentality. The swimming pool in town is the only one for miles around so is always really busy and over subscribed. The staff are dreadful, rude, uninterested and childish. But it makes no difference to customer numbers because there's not really anywhere else to go. We now make the effort to drive to the pool in the next town along, the 20 mile round trip is worth it for the warm welcome.

ComposHat Mon 17-Feb-14 08:31:42

The dispensary pub Liverpool has a landlord so needlessly aggressive, vile and unhinged that it is breathtaking.
Truly one of vilest human beings I have ever had the misfortune to meet.

vladthedisorganised Mon 17-Feb-14 09:36:21

Joules - having worked in customer services (and heard complaints for 12 hours a day) I always try to write when I've received exceptional service.

The sad thing is that a lot of firms, especially the larger ones, will bend over backwards to acknowledge complaints about bad service but not feedback on good service, which I think is a shame all round. I'd like to know at least that 'we have passed on your letter to the branch concerned' or something.

Eurostar were the only ones to reply to a compliment IIRC, and they had been really brilliant.

NearTheWindmill Mon 17-Feb-14 09:45:32

I still think doctors' receptionists have special training to be as rude as possible. Ours seem to think they are doing people the most enormous favour.

I make a point of emailing the company of o aha e received bad customer service, and if I've received really good customer service. Feedback is always valuable to businesses.

Fannydabbydozey Mon 17-Feb-14 09:56:38

I live in a fairly small town and have quickly boycotted the shops that give me crap service. Luckily most are great BUT I had a weird one in a clothing chain. New older woman on the shop floor who was lovely and extremely helpful. We were chatting away happily as we looked at possible wedding outfits (themed wedding hmm so tricky) Her manager came up and had a right go at her for "wasting too much time" with me and "talking too much."

The store was virtually empty and there were other staff standing about available to help should any of the non existent customers have needed help. The manager's tone was really nasty too. I was completely shock didn't buy anything, and told the manager I thought her behaviour was appalling. I've never been back. Why would you punish good service? I was about to spend a decent amount of money, and the assistant had been really helpful. I actually emailed their head office as I was so horrified.

weebarra Mon 17-Feb-14 09:57:11

The receptionists at my surgery are lovely and go out of their way to help. Ditto the school.admin staff - DS1 was sick at school and the receptionist brought him home herself because she knew that I was having chemo and feeling pants. I took her some chocolates the next day and she burst into tears.

MadAsFish Mon 17-Feb-14 10:44:47

Why are they so rude - is it a London thing?

The first time I visited London was after having first been in Paris. I'd been given all kinds of dire warnings about how rude Parisians are, though found exactly the opposite, but Londoners! Good grief. Even the cab drivers were rude and surly.
Out of London was normal again, though.

chipshop Mon 17-Feb-14 11:05:04

Definitely vote with your feet. Loads of coffee, lunch type places in my village but one is always packed out with locals, despite being pricey, because they are so friendly. My hairdressers reminds me of Audrey's salon and they make builders tea but they are so lovely I'd never go elsewhere. So many places with shit service, I agree.

ClaudiusGalen Mon 17-Feb-14 11:07:30

I have found that it is shop owners who are the rudest. There is a small town near to where I live, very picturesque, gift shops and coffee type of town. I was looking for a christening present and the owner was so rude I just turned tail and walked out.

12 months later and there she is in the local paper saying that the town is a ghost town and she is closing her business down because she isn't even making enough to pay her rent. I was in that town yesterday and had to drive around twice to find a parking space it was so busy!

I have worked in retail and you do get people being rude to you, but you do in any kind of job where you face the public. I'm a teacher now and can expect to be sworn at or threatened - usually by parents. However I can't just be off with all parents because some are horrible.

expatinscotland Mon 17-Feb-14 11:10:45

I don't go back. Hairdressers are the worst, IMO. I use a mobile one for this reason. HATE salons.

cornishcreamtea Mon 17-Feb-14 11:59:05

Despite the fact that many people think nobody cares in big cities, I have always been really pleasantly surprised on the couple of occasions we have visited New York.

Quite a few times when we have appeared lost standing on street corners or on the subway locals have stopped to ask if we need help. This would never happen in my home city!

( I know that's not really about good service but is still about people wanting to give a good impression).

ivykaty44 Mon 17-Feb-14 12:07:19

cornish - it is about good service, locals in some places rely on the tourist industry as it is very important form of revenue and will make people remember that a place was friendly to outsiders and the locals went over and beyond their expectations and they will go home and recommend to their friends.

SpookedMackerel Mon 17-Feb-14 12:10:39

The worst I have ever had was once when dd was a baby and I was on my way back from a hospital appointment with her. I drove past a little village supermarket and decided to go there instead of the big Tesco near my house, to save time as hospital appointment had overrun.

When I got in there there weren't any trollies, so had to carry slightly grumpy dd on one arm and basket in the other. When we got to the till I put my basket on the far end of the conveyor belt and started to transfer my shopping to the belt one handed. Dd was a little grizzly so I was swaying back and forth as well.

I had only got a couple if things out of the basket when the woman on the till moved the belt so my basket came towards her. I thought she was going to help me unpack or just scan my shopping directly from the basket, so I smiled and said thank you.

She picked up my basket with both hands and turned it upside down over the conveyor belt and tipped everything out in a big heap. I particularly remember I had a box of eggs, and an open punnet of strawberries, and the strawberries rolled everywhere, some went on the floor. She just scanned the half empty box, scanhed everything really fast, flung all my shopping, and a few squished lose strawberries down the conveyor belt and watched dispassionately as I struggled to pack it with one hand.

When she gave me my change she dropped it into my hand from a height and half of it fell on the floor, but I just left it there.

There weren't any other customers queuing behind me or anything, no reason to rush, I was the only person in the shop (now I know why!) I have no idea why she treated me like that, I was just speechless.

melika Mon 17-Feb-14 12:11:36

We run a small business, we always try to treat our customers with respect, my DH calls the men 'Sir'! They love it. I always treat them with the same way I would like to be treated. With respect, thankfulness, a bit of eye contact and a little smile wouldn't go amiss.

Also, if they have been before I try to remember little details about their life and ask after them.

One customer calls my DH 'God' because he fixed something other business' couldn't.

It's not hard to do and you build a relationship with them. Simple.

JessieMcJessie Mon 17-Feb-14 12:39:02

It's possible that young people, who make up a lot of shop staff, are not actually taught manners any more. My pet peeve is the ones who don't even bother to say the price, they just expect me to read it off the screen. I just stand there and say "sorry, how much is that, please?". Makes me sad, I loved playing shops as a child and my favourite book was called "Angela in Charge" about a 10 year old who had to run her aunt's village shop when the aunt broke her leg. When I got my first Saturday job in a chemist age 16 I was like a 1950s shop assistant, all 'sir' and 'Madam'. The older customers loved it.

Kids don't play shops any more, just candy crush.

Kerosene Mon 17-Feb-14 12:49:11

There's a rather expensive alternative clothes store in London that I actively avoid now. At no point did they say a single word to me, but they did send a teenage-looking boy to watch me (silently staring) from the stairs while I perused overpriced bras.
When I was wedding-dress shopping a couple of months later, they didn't even come into consideration, despite having a lot of stuff I'd like.

OTOH, there's a new beer & cheese shop in Reading that I love, and particularly for their customer service. Really solid, friendly people, good recommendations, good stock. They're not intrusive when I'm just looking, but they're on the ball when I need a hand. I'll keep going back because they're good at what they do, and I hope the shop does well in the long-term.

NearTheWindmill Mon 17-Feb-14 13:01:08

HSBC Putney - has to be the worst service in the UK. 4th attempt at service in the last month. Another five minutes and I am walking out.

Young people are taught manners, I know plenty of them, including both my DCs and their friends.

I also know plenty of older people whose manners are appalling.

While I don't work in retail, customer service is important wherever you are, so on the phone, by email and in person I try to be polite and helpful. It's not rocket science.

Most of the time, I receive good service. These days, when there's bad service I make a point of putting in a complaint. Rather than just accept it, as I would have done 20 years ago.

JessieMcJessie Mon 17-Feb-14 13:18:16

Fair point FryFatManiac and I am sure the majority of Mumsnetters are real sticklers about manners. What I really meant was that a surprisingly large proportion of young people don't seem to have been taught manners any more.

Quinteszilla Mon 17-Feb-14 13:22:25

Near the Windmill, I agree that HSBC Putney is the worst for customer service. They have faffed about with my sons account application and had me run back and forth 3 times with different documentation to show his identity, a passport, a copy of his birth certificate, and the child in person has not been enough to satisfy them that he is who he says he is.

I think I will open his account in Barclays (my other bank) instead.

melika Mon 17-Feb-14 13:30:22

Yes, Jessie I too played shops and I loved my post office set! Ha Ha.

I loved stamping and I guess that may be why I worked in Libraries for 17 years before my days of our business. grin

Chipandspuds Mon 17-Feb-14 13:32:49

I find twitter very good for praising or complaining about customer service. The older I get the more annoyed I get at bad service as I don't have a huge disposable income and I want to enjoy spending the money I do have!

5Foot5 Mon 17-Feb-14 13:52:33

I am glad to say that in general I have experienced far more good, polite service than rude and surly service.

The most recent case of the latter that sticks in my mind was a few months ago when DH and I had been for a walk, starting from one of the more tourist-y towns in the Peak District. At the end of the walk we fancied a cup of tea and decided to follow a sign to a tearoom which was hidden down a back street.

We went in and order a cup of tea and a scone each. The tea room was very quiet, only us and one other table. The proprietor launched in to a moan about how he disliked walkers because they come but never spend any money! We mentioned that actually we had just been for a walk but this did not deter him from going on at length about walkers doing nothing for the local economy. He proceeded to charge us �11.50 for two cups of tea and two scones and I can assure that there are now two more walkers who will definitely not be contributing anything else to his personal economy in future.

(And the scones were not that nice and the tea room rather shabby!)

NinjaBunny Mon 17-Feb-14 14:07:30

I wonder if that's the overpriced uniform place my Trowbridge friend was complaining about...

It's not Scholars, it's called something else. I got it wrong.

Owner made a huge hoo-hah in the papers protesting about Matalan coming here. Turns out she buys most of her stock from Matalan and hoiks the prices up by a few ££.

hmm

It's called Trowbridge Schoolwear (original), I just looked it up.

higgle Mon 17-Feb-14 14:29:31

Bristol Guild is a bit of an institution in Bristol but I find their staff appallingly rude, and they never pay attention when you talk to them.

I went in after Christmas to order two side tables - they had been advertising 10% off. When I asked about the 10% off he bored looking teenager serving me said the offer had finished, so I asked if I could have 10% off anyway as I was ordering two. She spoke to a manager on the phone who said no and then she proceeded to write out a sales ticket for two tables at full price + £49 delivery ( 20 miles, tables so small I could have carried them one under each arm). I said I'd buy them on line where they were £10 each cheaper with free delivery and she just shrugged her shoulders. I asked again downstairs and as soon as I had the word "discount" out of my mouth the woman looked at me as if I was a piece of dirt and just said "No" and carried on chatting with her mate at the cash desk.

The upshot was I bought my tables on line for less. I didn't buy the teapot and other kitchen stuff I was going to buy there that day and I won't be going back to the shop again except to use their toilet and browse for other stuff that I will then buy on line. I Usually buy about £500 ish worth of stuff from them each year.

I really didn't mind too much about not getting the discount but what I did mind was not getting "sorry, we can't do that," or even a token gesture on the extortionate delivery costs. The whole place looked as if it was going to the dogs anyway so I presume they are struggling.

Pipbin Mon 17-Feb-14 14:29:36

To play a devil's advocate a little here, if you keep getting dreadful service everywhere you go what is the one continuous factor?

That said I do recall the worst service I ever had was a letting agents years ago. I called up about a house they had available and asked to view it. The letting agents replied with 'so, you want me to stop what I'm doing to show you round a house?'

LaGuardia Mon 17-Feb-14 16:33:44

There is also a local soft play place, where the service is absolutely atrocious. Things like staff standing around talking and being fully aware that there is a queue of customers to be let in, but ignoring customers for 10 or more minutes until they can be bothered to let them in. Or 6 members of staff standing behind the snacks counter chatting, with one staff member serving a queue of about 10 customers. They really don't seem to give a toss.

Seriously, why does anyone still go to these hellholes?

nova1111 Mon 17-Feb-14 16:49:18

YANBU I'm wondering if you live in my area as the receptionist at the sports centre is a total monster. She's even mean to small dc. I try to avoid it as much as possible. I wonder why people go back for more. There isn't much choice here though - you'd have to drive to the next town so I guess a lot of people don't. It infuriates me though how they take hundreds of pounds off you yet can't manage to be nice. It's not even just a please or a thank you. It's just plain open rudeness.

beaglesaresweet Tue 18-Feb-14 01:34:32

nova, have you tried complaining to the manager? and telling the woman straight that she is supposed to be nice to customers could help (though I admit I can't face telling some agressive people off either - but would definitely complain to management even via phone or e-mail, if I had to use the place regularly).

fivefourtime Tue 18-Feb-14 03:43:41

I've never had an experience where a manager has upbraided an 'underling' for being nice to me. If I ever do, I imagine I'll be quite colourful with the verbals, as that sort of thing just upsets me terribly. No-one should ever be ridiculed for trying hard, even if they're not trying hard in the way management would like them to.

In the US bad customer service is rare if profits are at stake, but common enough for lots of 'Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares'-type shows to flourish. If it's a public service, forget it. (DON'T go to their equivalent of the DVLA because it is the ninth circle of HELL).

My worst experience was with a cab company. I rang them: "What time of night do you stop sending cars out?" I asked. "When we're ready" the woman replied, in a tone of voice that suggested I shouldn't have bothered.

Oh, and the record shop where (and I admit this was annoying, but seriously, f*ck this guy) I was humming along to the song that was playing in the background. I had three CDs in my hand and was almost ready to pay for them, but shoved them all back in their place when the guy behind the desk stopped the music and shouted "Are you going to sing it or are they?!"

NadiaWadia Tue 18-Feb-14 05:32:15

fivefour I had similar with a taxi company (Swift Fox Cabs of Churchgate, Leicester). DD and I had been late night shopping and as it was freezing weather we thought we'd treat ourselves to a taxi rather than waiting for a bus. Went inside and asked the woman behind the desk. She said there'd be at least 20 min wait then ordered us to wait outside! (there was no one else queueing). So instead we walked a few yards to the bus station round the corner where there were taxis in the rank and off we went.

I don't know what it is with some people, you can sort of understand if its a worker on minimum wage who is having a bad day, but several of these stories seem to involve the owners of the business themselves. And they seem to have no awareness of the problem, as people have said.

nova1111 Tue 18-Feb-14 11:41:51

Beagle - I have complained in the past - nothing is done about it and they're even ruder to you next time. They have a bit of a monopoly here unfortunately.

RedFocus Tue 18-Feb-14 13:35:00

Op when she slapped the appointment card down I would have said "actually I've changed my mind can you cancel that appointment"
I would not go back to the soft play place or the gym don't care if I would have to drive miles to another one I'm not paying people to treat me like shit.

Cleorapter Tue 18-Feb-14 14:55:59

I've had entire transactions with cashiers that haven't said a single word to me while I bought something before. Incredibly rude!

I also find that shops/pubs/restaurants aren't being run particularly well, only having 2 cashiers on while the queue is halfway down the shop (wilkinson's I'm looking at you here) isn't particularly fantastic. New look credit card machines don't like natwest cards as (according to the cashier) they're 'outdated' machines, (so the company should maybe update them??) and don't even get me started on my tesco experience last week with a woman who kept huffing and puffing and rolling her eyes at anyone that joined her queue!

I'm one of these people who come over sickeningly sweet and nicer the more rude someone is to me. Passive aggressive to the extreme.

Mmolly2013 Tue 18-Feb-14 23:42:44

I work in a customer service environment over the phone. I always do my best for customers but the way some talk you is a disgrace. They cant see the person on the other end of the phone. I always thank staff went I need to call up somewhere and they give me good customer service. A lot goes a long way.

antismoker111 Sun 29-Jun-14 12:53:28

I have had dreadful experience with Nat West when adding my name to a club account! They use a strange queuing system for "enquiries" people being served before me. They told me the forms had changed (this year) so I had to ring a call centre. They had noone available so promised to ring later or nxt morning. No call. Phoned a wk later they said the forms had to be sent to an existing committee member, said I had not been told that, reply "well I'm telling you now". Forms came out, completed, another wasted journey. Same strange queuing system, sat for 20mins while others got seen. When I got seen form was out of date! They tried ringing call centre for 15mins, no answer. Was told form MAY be returned. Thankfully not. Finally I am a signatory - 6wks later! Won't ever be my main bank.

antismoker111 Sun 29-Jun-14 13:01:50

I used to work in a charity shop, had to stop due to health problems. Some people think that they are the charity, being rude if you don't almost give it away! Lots of customers were really nice and I heard they asked about me and said they missed me when I visited the shop! Manners have been forgotten in lots of places, I just don't go back if I encounter rude service. (I prefer to travel to a Tesco store further away as the staff are more helpful & friendlier than the one closest).

hackmum Sun 29-Jun-14 13:32:37

I think customer service is reasonably good in the UK. That's because I'm old enough to remember the 70s and 80s when it was really atrocious - Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch is pretty much based on reality.

Of course you do get the odd grim bit of customer service, and those are the ones you always remember.

PinkSquash Sun 29-Jun-14 13:52:46

I had two opposite customer services experiences from the same company yesterday. Train services were cancelled due to a safety defect- staff answered questions (and even gave us the go ahead to use buses if we needed to). They were amazing and friendly.

On the return journey there had been a fatality. Staff were very rude and short with questions and information was just left to the automated tannoy system. Staff looked at me as if I had two heads for daring to ask a question.

I tweeted about the good customer service from the morning, but left the afternoon one as I know that it'd been a bad day. It isn't the fault of the customer though and all it would have taken was a bit more interaction.

I do always try and praise good CS where I can as it encourages staff more I think.

redexpat Sun 29-Jun-14 14:12:18

Worst customer service I have ever experienced by far was from American Airlines at Seattle airport. So, no, the US doesn't always get it right.

OMG YES American Airlines are the WORST! The guy at Boston airport check in was so rude to me after 9/11. I'd already checked with another member of staff how to get my ticket reissued. So I went to the desk and said
-hello, can you please reissue my ticket?
-whats your final destination today?
-London Gatwick.
-We dont HAVE any planes going to GATWICK.
-No, but you have one going to Raliegh Durham that connects to London Gatwick.
-<looks at ticket> It says here you're supposed to fly on the 4th of september.
-Well I'd previously changed that to the 11th, and that changed again to today.
-<He then had the audacity to look at me, raise an eyebrow and say in a really sarcastic tone> Have you even called? Dear reader I had called every single day since 9/11, and the day before had been on hold for 3 whole hours.
-<v. quietly> I am on this flight. Now are you going to reissue my ticket, or do I need to speak to your supervisor?
Lo and behold, his eyes went down and within 2 minutes I was checked in with a new boarding pass. The people on the phone lines were wonderful though, couldnt fault them at all.

VodkaJelly Sun 29-Jun-14 14:13:02

Sometimes the staff don't hear about praise.

I worked in Asda years ago and was on the Customer Service Desk when a mobile phone was handed in. Managed to get into the phone and rang "home" to inform them that phone was safe and would they like to collect it. The phone I rang wouldnt accept witheld numbers so I rang the "home" number from my own personal mobile.

When the customer collected the phone we had a laugh when i explained why I had to ring from a mobile.

About a week later I was in the office collecting my pay slip when i noticed a letter on the desk, detailing what had happened above and how pleased the lady was and how my customer service went above and beyone. I told the manager that it was me she was talking about. The manger wrote my name on the letter and you know what - i never heard a thing about it. If I hadnt seen the letter I would never have known about it.

HappyAgainOneDay Sun 29-Jun-14 14:22:18

VodkaJelly That's dreadful. Not what you did but what the manager didn't do. He should have expressed his own thanks and given you a copy of the letter. Having copies of letters like that would encourage staff to carry on being courteous and / or helping out further than they need to.

redexpat Sun 29-Jun-14 14:24:48

When I was 17 and working at Boots I helped an elderly lady find the hairnets she was looking for. She then told me that she was a Boots pensioner, knew exactly the kind of service we were supposed to give and I had done it splendidly. I was please as punch smile

But when I go into other Boots stores, particularly those in London, the service is appauling! I honestly dont know how they get away with it!

Icimoi Sun 29-Jun-14 14:29:55

I'd like to put in a word for the staff at John Lewis. I find they're always polite, and I was particularly impressed to find they were still able to keep it up towards the end of late night shopping in the run up to Christmas when I suspect they had probably had a pretty hellish day.

DreamingofSummer Sun 29-Jun-14 14:56:48

Only two ways of dealing with poor service. You either complain or you boycott.

Going back to where you have had a bad experience will only make it worse

CarbeDiem Sun 29-Jun-14 16:26:07

Yanbu.
I have had many bad experiences in hair salons. From rude people to one visit taking 3 hours to complete, it should take her 20 mins maximum, due to my stylist overbooking appts and running late. I gave up completely and taught myself how to do my pixie cut at home.
I walk past her shop often and she's noticed my fresh haircut, making it obvious I'm still getting it cut, but hasn't asked me yet.

It's not only shop people that shouldn't work with the public. I had an appointment at DWP and the guy on the desk was awful, unhelpful and rude. I wasn't on his list to tick off for that day (because we all know lists rule the world hmm ) so he basically told me to leave and that I was wrong. I politely attempted, many times, to explain that my appt was certainly that day, I requested he took my NIN and checked a computer. Would he buggery. You'd think I was asking for access to the crown jewels or the bank vault.
With my patience worn very thin by this point I said something like ''Look mate, I've just walked 2 miles to get here for my 100% definite appointment time, I'm not moving''
He replied ''so stand there'' smile
Another guy heard me and came over, took my NIN and checked the system - Lo and behold - I WAS ON THERE angry

Trillions Sun 29-Jun-14 16:26:34

I don't tolerate bad service. I stare hard at the perpetrator and say something like "I'm sorry, am I interrupting your conversation?" (if chatting to colleagues) or "may I pay for these goods or shall I just take them?". I also ask for extra tills to be opened if there is a queue and I see staff hanging about. Most of the time it works smile

WhisperingPea Sun 29-Jun-14 16:52:14

Trillions "I don't tolerate bad service. I stare hard at the perpetrator and say something like "I'm sorry, am I interrupting your conversation?" (if chatting to colleagues) or "may I pay for these goods or shall I just take them?". I also ask for extra tills to be opened if there is a queue and I see staff hanging about. Most of the time it works." Well done grin.

Me too. Sometimes in a louder voice than normal. Recently had to ask Hospital Receptionist who utterly ignored me when I stood at her desk "I'm sorry are you busy, should I go to someone else?". It would have been so easy for her to say I'll be with you in a moment.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now