Is There Such a Thing as Customer Service?

Is There Such a Thing as Customer Service?

By Dawn Cranfield

How many times have you heard statistics or had discussions with somebody about college graduates who have had to take lower level customer service jobs because there are no jobs available in the markets for which they are qualified? I know that I have read no less than a dozen articles in just the past month where the author has lamented the fact that today’s college graduates are over educated and are required to take positions for minimum wage as cashiers, stockers, and fast-food workers because there are no positions in their field of study.

While I can imagine that for the educated professional with college loans, this may be incredibly disconcerting, but for the rest of the country you would think it would mean an increase in the level of skilled minimum wage workers and would potentially raise the bar. However, over the past several years, I have noticed a steady decline in the level of customer service I have received.

Let’s set aside the fact that people in this country, overall, have become increasingly impolite and getting through a transaction at a store or restaurant often includes cell phone usage, poor business manners, and indifference. Most employees appear unempowered, unwilling, and uncaring.

For example, I went to one of the big chain pharmacies to pick up a prescription; I noted that my address is spelled “Ankor” instead of “Anchor”. I realize that it is not a huge deal, but the people who enter that information into the computers are pharmacy technicians, and “anchor” is actually a word, part of a boat. It is not as if it is some obscure word that might be confusing to spell. While they were polite enough there, I was sorely disappointed that something as simple as spelling was lost in this transaction; not to mention the fact that I am to be confident that my health is supposed to be left in their hands when they cannot spell a six letter word correctly, or at least pay attention to it.

Later on that same weekend, I was having a conversation with somebody who told me they had just bought a used replacement phone from one of the big well-known retailers. She was absolutely appalled as she was perusing the features of the phone and found pictures of the previous owner. As thrilled as she was that they were not nude or otherwise x-rated, she was concerned that some of her own pictures, no matter how tame, could have been left on her old phone. Another example of shoddy, careless customer service. How would employees of that company feel if their pictures were left on a cell phone for a new customer to find and distribute? It is a violation.

I could go on and on and talk about the employees who cannot give change if the cash register does not calculate exactly the right amount of change if you decide to give them a penny but the cashier did not put it in the original transaction; or, if you decide to add an additional item on to your purchase; or if you try to ask an employee for assistance for something outside of their department.

So, if the market is now saturated with college graduates who are overly qualified and taking jobs beneath their level of education, then they certainly did not get a BA customer service.

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