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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?

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..!


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.


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."


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


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.

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