Feb 2017

A Message for Service Industries

This note is aimed specifically at management at retail establishments and also the restaurant and hospitality industry.

No doubt many in these industries, especially retail, have noted the decline in sales in many stores in recent years. More and more people are shopping and ordering online vs. walking into a store to buy a product.

I think I have discovered one major reason why this trend is occurring and it is not entirely due to pricing in retail stores vs. online stores. Customer Service or should I say a lack of it. I've run into a large number of problems in the last few years with bad service in retail outlets and restaurants. This has happened primarily in the lower Midwest region and not to any extent when I travel to the upper Midwest or Northeast.

Rude staff that behave like they don't need your business is the culprit. Snarky comments and personal attacks while you are asking a question about a product or when you are checking out is a great way to lose a customer especially when that customer has behaved in a civil manner and done nothing to illicit such comments and shabby treatment. Recently I had such a bad experience at a fast food establishment in Indianapolis that I had to complain to Subway Corporate about it. Very rude staff and several problems with a single order. I usually just let this nonsense go and don't return to that particular establishment. But given the level of horrible service I received from more than one person I decided it had to be brought to the attention of someone higher up and would address the problem.

Currently I am living in the northern Kentucky area of Cincinnati. To date, the service and products I've purchased at local stores and restaurants has been fine. It is evident the managers in the stores and eateries in this region have a better grasp of what it takes to run a store and keep customers from shopping elsewhere. But in some other areas I've lived and worked that is not the case.

A word of advice to retailers and restauranteurs. Please give your staff training in customer service. I was a manager at Dominio's Pizza store in Connecticut for three years in the late 1980's and had a good staff. Behavior such as this NEVER happened. Not once I did i receive a complaint from a customer about one of our staff members. Prior to that I worked as a retail manager for a company called Strawberries Records, Tapes and CD's also in Connecticut. Again no problems whatsoever of this nature.

If box stores want to win back some customers then by all means you need to train your staff on how to deal with the public. Otherwise, no matter how low your prices are, people will shop online simply because they won't be subjected to very rude behavior at the hands of some store personnel.

Happy Ground Hog Day

Wishing everyone a wonderful and productive and most of all, happy Ground Hog Day this year.