by Jeff Richards, Founder/CEO -Jeff’s Famous Jerky,
Customer service from retail stores in America seems to be at its worst decline ever. My personal experiences at two retail establishments yesterday hit new lows but I keep witnessing the decline everywhere. And it is one reason why more and more people choose to buy from the Internet.
A visit to stock up some household items at a major chain big box retailer met my expectations in selection and price, but service… I would not call it that. First-of-all, this is a superstore… in what seems like miles of endless walking. My wife wanted to buy some new shoes for our toddler and after searching up and down the aisles to find the section, I finally sought out an employee for some advice on where to find them. Approaching the clerk… who already seemed annoyed, I asked where I could find children’s shoes. “In the shoe section!” she blurted out and continued to scurry away. “Well, of course it would be,” I said loudly so she would still hear my comments,” but are you planning to tell me where I could find the shoe section?” She pointed to one direction of the store and kept going, never saying anything further. Despite her attitude, we still bought a few pairs of shoes.
After filling our basket with all our needs, we headed for check out. “Would you mind buying these 98 cent bags?” the clerk asked. “Because I don’t have any others.” Wow, I thought… how could this giant store be out of bags? And I almost said yes, because I really needed at least one bag. Then I looked over at the next check out stand, three feet from where the clerk was standing, and the clerk there had a full supply of bags. “Is it too much to ask of you to grab one bag from three steps away?” She scowled and walked over to get one, asking her co-worker’s permission. “No, these are mine,” her co-worker barked. “You have to get your own.” Needless to say, …we took our items without the bag that I wanted. I asked to see the Store Manager and she would not even respond to me. In the meantime, someone walked over to restock her bags, but she did not offer me one. Next time I buy somewhere else or I buy online.
What is it… poor training, not hiring people who care about the customer? The theme of poor service in American retailers just keeps repeating itself. In California, after we went to a 10 cents/bag cost to encourage people to bring their own bags, I noticed that most of the employees bagging items for the customer suddenly no longer know how to properly bag your groceries… always overfilling the bags so they are hard to carry and items like bags of ice, etc., that used to go in shopping bags… just go straight in the cart, making it more difficult to get the groceries from the car to the house, while I do that task with one arm while holding my toddler. Thanks America.
On the way home, we stopped for gas. Not one credit card would work at the pump, I took my time to try three, only to have all of them show up as unreadable. I told the clerk in the counter that it was not working… that I had tried three cards… nothing, not a word from him or eye contact. He just took my money without any acknowledgement of my negative experience at their station. Next time I go somewhere else. I have choices.
Our local bank made the decision to close-down their drive through, so now we must carry our toddler into the bank when we need more than the ATM has to offer. Fast food chains used to have up to ten registers open with smiling clerks at lunch time and now they want you to encourage you to order at the kiosk a few feet away and only one register is open to serve you. And this is just one reason that I don’t buy fast meals from fast food restaurants anymore even though I rarely have time needed for other alternatives.
I know that retailers are getting hit with rising expenses at every angle. Minimum wage increases and business expense increases force them to find ways to run their business with less people. And so, the time and budget for comprehensive training is no longer available, rushed hiring decisions lead to hiring the wrong people and most employees at most businesses are overworked now doing the jobs of many. Something had to give… Customer Service. But with poor customer service comes declining sales and profits and more people ordering from the Internet.
There certainly are some fine examples of companies who still give outstanding service. Dutch Bros. Coffee is the largest privately owned coffee chain in the United States and still sets the service bar exceptionally high with fast service, and lots and lots of happy, smiling employees who really want you as a customer to be happy. And I am sure their CEO will tell you, that outstanding service pays off in sales and profits. Anytime I am anywhere near one of their stores, I go out of my way to visit them and I get exceptional, extraordinary customer experience… and great coffee. They are my own personal heroes. If they can do it, we all can. Trader Joe’s does an exceptional job too and it is one reason they have the record for a chain of the most sales per square foot for any retail store.
So, what does this have to do with Jeff’s Famous Jerky? Our mission has always been to make the most flavorful, mouth-watering, decadent, soft and tender super premium jerky in the world. It still is. Offering a good value is also vitally important and SERVICE, well we know you have a choice where you get your jerky from and as we continue to grow, providing exceptional service is just as important to us as providing quality and value. Expect great service.
Got an issue or just want to chat? Contact us. A real person will respond to you and don’t be surprised if it is me. Thanks for listening.