Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Pandemic of Poor Customer Service

By Jacqueline Mathis, Villas

To the Editor:

When you walk into a restaurant to have dinner and the hostess does not greet you with a “good evening… how many?” and instead you hear: “You will have to wait. I had a wait staff member call out, we are short-staffed, and very busy.” As you look around, there are a number of empty tables, not so crowded, and the wait staff is busy but with enough time to stop and converse with patrons.

When you call a business for a plumbing issue that is not an emergency and they schedule an initial estimate visit. The day of the estimate, they call to say they are running late but will be there. When they arrive, they survey the issue, write you up an estimate and then this happens: “We are really behind on our calls. It may take up to three months for the completed job; supplies are backed up.”

When you or a family member are in a care facility for short-term rehabilitation or long-term care and the staff inform: “We are short-staffed; I’ll be back to take care of you; no shower today, not enough time.”

When you try to schedule an appointment to see your primary care physician and you are told the next appointment is three to four months in the future. Maybe during Covid the waiting room needed to be less crowded but gone are the days of a doctor seeing more than two to three patients in an hour. “Squeeze me in” appointments are gone forever.

Just a few examples of the post Covid decline of customer service. During the pandemic, we as customers became too accepting of poor service. We understood the challenges businesses were experiencing and we practiced patience.

Now, we are living in a pandemic of poor customer service. The dilemma is how do we as customers overcome? There is no vaccine quick fix, no masking to cover it up, and patience is wearing thin.

Employees who provide customer service for businesses need to be educated. The skills required for customer service are much different than computer skills, manual labor, and self-employment. People interacting with people is a science that requires verbal skills, body language, and, yes, at times manipulation, but in the end it results in good customer service.

My fears are not unfounded. I am worried that my next experience with “good” customer service will be with a new-aged “artificial intelligent” employee named “Optimus Prime.”



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