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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?

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 ££.


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!

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