Rude customer service is rampant
A survey says more than a third of customers experience rude service monthly.
Updated Feb. 21, 2012, 12:50 p.m. ET
This post comes from Seth Fiegerman at partner site MainStreet.
More than a third of consumers say they experience rude customer service at least once a month, according to a study in the Journal of Service Research (.pdf file), and being on the receiving end of this behavior makes those customers angry and less interested in doing business with the retailer in the future.
To make matters worse for the retailer, more than half of those who experience rudeness tell their friends and co-workers about the incident (58% and 55%, respectively).
It's not just the rudeness customers experience firsthand that has the potential to tar a company's reputation. Researchers also found that half of those surveyed witnessed one employee be rude to another at a store at least once a month, and the vast majority of those customers who did (92%) ended up speaking negatively about the company to friends, family, co-workers or pretty much anyone who would listen.
Rude behavior, or "incivility," as the researchers refer to it, is defined in the report as encompassing any incident where workers are perceived as being insensitive or disrespectful to someone else. The researchers conducted three studies surveying a total of 244 students to find how often they experienced a store worker being rude to them, to a fellow employee or to another customer in their presence, and how the students reacted to each situation. (Post continues after video.)
Restaurants scored the worst
Restaurants proved to have the highest frequency of rude encounters in each of these categories, with 83% of respondents saying a restaurant employee was rude to them at some point and the same percentage saying they witnessed one restaurant employee be rude to another. Gyms, on the other hand, ranked the best in each category, with just 10% of respondents experiencing rude behavior firsthand.
Based on these findings, the researchers prescribe a twofold solution for stores to crack down on rude behavior and limit the fallout from those situations where a customer witnesses incivility.
First, the researchers argue that stores should focus on training employees to be better at conflict resolution and "dealing with difficult people." The researchers also propose that stores train managers to be better at spotting situations in which something looks like it's going wrong with a customer. When an employee is rude to a customer, the researchers find that the best way to fix the situation is for both the manager and the employee to apologize cordially in front of the customer.
More on MainStreet and MSN Money:
i believe customers have unfair and unrealistic expectations of customer service. agents are there to do a job, not care about every single customer's life story. many customers are cheats, too. they want to return things that are five years old (esp clothing) just because they don't like it anymore, they want a ful refund of cash without even a proof of purchase, they want to return things that specifically cannot be returned (ammo). i just don't get customers lately. they perceive rudeness when they just didn't get their way. i will not apologize for that! we are humans too, and remember the old saying: you catch more flies with honey...remember that you are dealing with human beings not robots. if you come to me with attitude, then guess what, i don't want to do my best for you!
I think consumers are more the problem. With that said, I in no way am saying there isn't unjustified bad customer service out there which should be addressed. In my opinion after over 5 years of being in customer service for a large electronics store this argument goes both ways.
American consumers want to pay as little as possible for everything in a lot of cases, including electronics. Places like amazon and walmart need to provide little to no customer service, which keeps overhead very low, and allows them to drop prices. Stores that have to have somewhat educated sales people in order to sell products and services are suffering, because they cant profit as much when they have to provide 2-3 times the people to help customers than walmart or amazon do(look at what best buy is going through right now). People used to come into our store, pick our brains and then say "well amazon has the same tv for $250 less". This would put the tv either at our cost or below what our company paid for it. Those customers rarely bought accessories, and we lost money if we price matched. Not only that, but customers would get angry and "demand to speak to a manager" when we couldn't match the price. Many times management would cave in, in order to keep the customer happy.
Because the overhead is shrinking, so is the amount companies can pay their salesmen/women. Companies like Best Buy have put pay caps on their floor level employees (at least in TX they have) which has eliminated most of the good sales people. Now you are stuck with people who have no intentions to make a living off of sales, but just need a job. Some of these people care about the job and some don't. The one's that don't care are usually easily spotted, and have little motivation to work hard for minimum wage, or little more. The ones that do care get spit on by a good 30% of the ignorant customers they have to deal with who are rude for the sake of being rude, have a power trip, or just don't understand the way things work. A lot of people treat customer service reps like dogs or servants. While it is their job to "serve", they should not be treated as lower beings.
I think anyone criticizing customer service reps should try and walk a day in their shoes. It is easily one of the most stressful jobs out there.
I have been in customer service for over 30 years, true there are some rude employees. However more often than not the customer, that's right the customer is in the wrong. The old adage of the customer is always right is not true and it is used and abused by many so called customers. People(customers) think that by yelling and threatening the employee they will get their way. These are the people who use/misuse items and then return them with missing or broken parts or just use them for their own benefit and return them claiming some defect. Or they try to return the box with something other than the item inside, claiming that is they way they bought it. These are not customers, they are low life's who abuse the system and drive up costs to the business and real customers.
As for the employees that really are rude, it is the fault of management for not providing the proper training, not recognizing the good employees they have, and not paying the workers enough to give a damn about the business. Many of the front line customer service employees work close to minimum wage, have huge responsibilities and are gong to school or working another job also at minimum wage. Meanwhile the senior executives are raking in huge salaries and bonuses off the sweat of the front line staff. So the next time an employee is rude, please be patient and consider their situation. Also don't be a low life and return items improperly.
The customer is NOT ALWAYS RIGHT. I work in "combat retail" and have most of my working life. I can tell you that more often than not it is the customer who draws first blood. I get personally attacked every day by customers with unrealistic and absurd expectations: all I am trying to do is help. And the Liars, Cheats and scammers are rampid among the consuming public. Many take pride in "getting one over" on there retailers after spending untold amounts of energy scheming and planning. BELIEVE IT In my opinion Company's like Wall-Mart that will take any item back for any reason breeds the misconception that the customer is always right. The customer needs to shoulder personal responsibility for their consuming actions as well. The price of most retail goods would decrease significantly if the amount of Fraudulent Returns could be reduced. As retailers we cant just "write it off' like many consumers erroneously think.
Customer Service issues aside Wall Mart is killing America. Not a believer???? Go look at ANY small town in middle America...there all but dead because Wall Mart in the neighboring town has sucked the life out of the surrounding communities. That's not building a better mouse trap it it PREDATORY.
Yes there are bad employees, but poor customer service is no more rampant then poor customers. Maybe the article writer should look in a little deeper into why those people were unhappy. I bet it wasn't anywhere near as black and white as "the employee was being rude".
Such BS, I have yet to see and article ever written that did not place all the blame on the employee. There are three parts to this problem, employee, employer and customer. Every article comes to the same conclusion it’s the employees fault, and since the issue is getting worse maybe its time for a professional to look and see if maybe the real problem lie’s with the employer (under pay employees) and customer (rude). Maybe then we can find a working solution.
and to end this stupid article saying ' the best way to fix the situation is for both the manager and the employee to apologize cordially in front of the customer' is just assinine! sometimes the customer needs to be the one apologizing. there are so many people that are just never happy no matter what you do.
they are not paying my wage...they are taking away from my wage! because of the amount of returns, fraudulent or otherwise, the amount of my raises has been lowered. returns cut into business' profits. as a stockholder in the company where i work i am shocked that we are still in business. we basically have a policy that says never say no to a customer. pretty much whatever they ask, they get. there are somethings that cannot be negotiated, like ammo or laws (state or federal) but our customers are still NEVER happy! i don't care if i make $35/hour...it's not enough to deal with customers that treat me like i am not human and as if i have to live to kiss their a**es and when i do, they still aren't happy!
Yes, there are crs's who suck, but there are more who would be good employees but got dragged down by the general public. The customer is NOT always right and the general public needs to get over itself.
Thankfully i'm out of retail now.. and i'll go homeless before i EVER go back!!
We have to stop blaming over worked under staffed Customer service for all our problems. After all you are obviously calling about a product or service that did not meet your expectations. But the person you are talking too did not make your product or service you are calling about. They are just the messenger who get's a paycheck and tries under the company rules to satisfy your complaint.
I have found that if you are rude to the customer service rep. They will be rude right back. Its human nature to do so. Its certainly alright to be upset and to express that to the customer service rep. But try and make sure not to direct that anger directly at the customer Rep. I have also found that calling in off peak hours is much better then peak when the CS have probably talked to a lot of idiots before you.
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