Monday, March 05, 2012

Customer Service...Days Gone By

For those of you who, like I, remember how customer service was in the past, you will recall that things were done quite differently back then.  The office and banks had adding machines which looked similar to this one...
This meant that your time at the bank took longer back then, as there were no computers and things were done manually.  Imagine going to a bank where you had to wait in line with no ATM's to serve you.  I will admit that I do use the ATM's and like the convenience.  However, I will also admit that even though there are some grocers here that have the self serve cashes where you scan your own items, I prefer to go to a human cashier.  Why?  Well, for one thing I find it more personable to be served by a human, and secondly, I feel that by doing this perhaps I may save someone's job who may later be replaced by the automated cash.  This means that I make sure that I am not in a hurry when I do my shopping and that I am patient with the cashier.  

I think with all the advanced technology we have today, many people have forgotten what it was like back then...and, for those who grew up with the advanced technology, they don't even know how things were back then because they haven't lived it.  I feel that employers today really don't take the time and money to train their staff properly...for the most part.  Yes, there are some great employers who do invest their valuable time and money into training their staff, and I applaud them for it.  Sadly, though, many employers today just don't take the time, and this reflects in their staff.  For example, I went to McDonald's not that long ago for a coffee with a friend.  The girl who was serving me was new on the staff and you could see right away that she was nervous and uncomfortable...not properly trained.  My heart went out to her and I was pleasant and patient with her, because I knew that it wasn't her fault.  Had she been adequately trained, she wouldn't have been as nervous and she would have done a better job in serving the customers.

Thank you all for visiting me here, and please feel free to share your comments.


  1. When my dad was a milk distributor he had an office at home complete with an adding machine. When he finished tallying all of his figure he would let us get on it and practice addition, subtraction, and multiplication. To have that little adding machine tape in our hands was really special. Today, I think some businesses don't train properly because they don't care. I'd rather have a girl wait on me that is nervous than one that rolls their eyes and acts like they would rather be anywhere else. Those are the ones I can't stand to be waited on by. Thanks for making me come up with some more memories. You know how I like to reminisce!

    1. Hi Jane,

      Thanks for your comment, and I agree wholeheartedly! I have been served by some pretty nasty cashiers...and yes, I can relate to the rolling of eyes and really not wanting to be there. I also prefer a nervous, new (yet polite and smiling) cashier over the nasty ones...any day!

  2. I never use the self service check out in shops, even if it would save time. For starters, they tend to be really poorly programmed / designed, so that you'll end up having a problem (even if you followed the instructions and did everything right), and then you'll have to wait for a real person, after all.. Also, I actually prefer a real check out person, rather than a machine.

    Having lived in Ireland for 15 years now, I've noticed a change in customer service, in lots of places.. Mainly, this is because there are now so many non-Irish people working in customer service positions. They come from different cultures, and in their countries, they might not have a chat with customers, etc.. (In fairness, there ARE Irish people who are bad at customer service, and there ARE non-Irish people who are great at it, but the difference is obvious enough to vaguely generalise..) I think some of the blame is with the employers as well - when they train staff members who come from different cultures, they should also explain how customer service should be done in Ireland. I find that in a small way, this reflects to the reputation of the whole country as tourists don't always know when someone working in an Irish shop isn't Irish, so they might go back home with the impression of the Irish being uninterested and impolite, after being served by people who didn't greet, didn't smile, didn't chat, just took the money..

  3. Each cashier should be given several training shifts under supervision. My personal wish is that the training would include the proper diction & voice volume to speak to the elderly. So many older customers have problems hearing , or just can't understand a mumbler! When I take my mom-in-law shopping & encounter a mumbling low toned teen I always smile & say "Please speak up for the elderly !"

  4. Hi Stella,

    Thanks for your comments, and I agree with what you say.

    Hi Kim,

    Thanks for sharing, and I totally understand what you mean in relation to the elderly! My mother was in a convalescent home during the last few years of her in Montreal. She had suffered a stroke and was unable to speak as a result. One day while I was visiting my mother, a nurse was speaking to her in French. I told the nurse, in a kind but firm way, in French, that my mother didn't understand or speak French and that I would appreciate it if she communicated to her in English. After that she did. I was glad that I spoke up on my mother's behalf.


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