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The Poor Customer Service Experience

There was a time when the drive-thru experience was beneficial. When  you would decide that it was the most efficient way to grab a bite to eat during a short work break, or an errand run. But that’s not the case these days. Now it’s much faster to park your car, order your food in person, and run back to your car in time to make it to your destination – all along as the drive-thru line winds around the establishment and disappears from eyesight.

It’s frustrating. We live at a time when everyone is expecting a tip – nowadays merely for handing you a napkin, it seems – and yet customer service absolutely sucks. It takes forever to order a meal and pick up your food within a reasonable time.

It’s not clear, however, whether it’s always the staff’s fault.  We’re talking about fast food lines as well, and everyone has a designated fast food place they frequently visit. They should have the menu memorized, and yet there will be a car or two ahead of you that takes their time to place their orders. I mean, who doesn’t know what McDonald’s offers? Even if the menu adjusts slightly, it’s been offering the same burgers and fries for thousands of years.

That’s not to say the drive-thru staff is faultless. There have been times when I try to place a quick order only to find myself dealing with attitudes, lapses in replies to my order, and of course, the snail’s approach to receiving that order. Other times, the drive-thru staff has moved too fast at getting my order ready that I receive sandwiches slipping and sliding apart, or missing an ingredient – or two – and you figure what the hell? It is the drive-thru.

At a time when customer service jobs experience a high turnover, and the positions are difficult to fill, there must be something the owners of said establishments are overlooking. Like a standard interview process, or expectations and quality training. And this rant is not directly attacking only fast food chains. You have the help lines at your local cell phone company, your computer store, or sometimes a bill you don’t understand. You find yourself dealing with one customer service representative after another who is clueless,  disengaged, eager to forward you to the next rep in line, regardless of whether or not this rep can help you, and you find yourself in a vicious circle of  poor customer service that leaves you tired and irritated.

Retainment is an important workforce concept. As is fulfillment. What appears to be missing in customer service jobs is the possibility that yes, you can help people and feel a sense of pride in the work you do. But it’s not what is experienced in reality.  I know as someone who works to help people secure employment that customer service jobs are used to fill in gaps, something you take on until you find the ideal job. I can see why now. There’s no merit left lately in working in customer service, no matter which industry you work for.  It’s just a means to earn some wages to pay the bills until something else comes along. What the customer service component needs is to restore the pride there once was in helping your customers, a job that costs companies millions of dollars in advertisement expenses every year.

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