When is customer service not necessary?

 I’ve been increasingly frustrated by 2 particular companies over the the last month. No matter how I approach them they have no desire to deliver any level of decent customer service. In fact their customer interactions are in direct conflict with anything I’ve ever learnt about how to retain or gain customers.
I was in Heathrow airport on Sunday, being re-directed as if I was completely incompetent by rude staff that just couldnt care less to a desk that couldn’t be arsed to check us in or even whether we got on the right plane when the penny dropped. It actually didn’t matter whether I got decent customer service or not – I’d still use that airline & so would the majority of others experiencing the same horrendous level of service. Therefore there is absolutely no point in them bothering to encourage decent service or rewarding even smiling at the customers. Travelling is incredibly stressful and not something that the majority do on a regular basis – so to enter an arena where those that could help are not motivated to do so adds to the pressure. Consequently all the insignificant things start to matter – the que at security; someone trying to get infront; being first to board the plan; gaining enough space in the overhead locker; too many people in too small a place….. it becomes self perpetuating. Next time you travel you are now already anticipating it will be stressful, funnily enough it is.
Customer service should be an integral part of how we want to treat other people, regardless of the industry that we are working in. There will always be people who are doing jobs that are unpleasant or have rules that have to be followed – common courtesy costs nothing. But the disappointing fact is that if we are not encouraged to be pleasant to peopl we will just not bother. Does it really take more energy to smile and be pleasant than to be miserable and rude? I don’t know, because I am determined to go out of my way to smile, whatever the situation and however I am treated. For example
Airline employee  (hand on my luggage trolley & staring in a fairly manacing manner) – “Don’t use that que, the sign indicates your airline, but I didn’t put out the sign, my job is to tell you to move across the airport, que up twice again and then jump up and down on one leg.”
Me (big smile and lots of eye contact) ” My apologies for being completely incompetent and able to read. Thank you so much for your helpful and informative manner.”

Well made me smile anyway!

The other company that are the butt of my frustrations have just lost a large volume of business from our company, our UK firm and 2 of our major clients. I wonder how that was instigated? Spookily enough, their level of desire to deliver great customer service reached new heights 30mins after they lost the business this afternoon. I don’t value doing business in this way, but I will always make sure my teams’ are treated in the right respectful way – you only cross me once!


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