Stefanie Cope

Staff Writer

I have always believed that good customer service is not necessarily hard to achieve, but it really does go a long way.

I have had bad customer service a time or two in my life and I am not one who will get mad in a store, scream and yell or even show my anger to the employees. There are far better ways to affect a business later when this comes up. I am a firm believer in telling people about places with good or bad customer service. If I have great customer service at an establishment, whether it be a restaurant or a store, I tell everyone I know how great it was and recommend it. I have even recommended places on the Internet, by telling people about it on my Facebook or my blog. The same goes for bad customer service, I do tell people about the experience and I have recommended they not go to the store because of it. A lot can be said about a place with bad customer service.

I worked at Wal-Mart in high school and I always believed in treating the customers who came into the area of the store I worked in politely. I always tried to offer them as much help as I could and if I couldn’t help them I was honest and pointed them to someone who could. I remember more than one occasion where I came into work and my supervisors would find me to tell me about a customer who had taken the time to find them and praise me to them. It was a great feeling to me and I always hoped they would tell the people they knew to come in and shop there.

This weekend I ran into a situation where I was treated poorly at a large retail establishment which also has a hair salon. I had gone in to get my hair cut and was told I would have to wait. That did not bother me in the slightest. I understood there were people before me. What bothered me was when an hour had passed and I came back they told me I would have to wait another hour and a half or so. I would not have minded so much this part if they could have offered an explanation to me and if the young lady had not been so rude to me. There was no call to be rude, but this is how she chose to be. At that point I decided this was not the establishment I was going to use for my hair cut and very politely told her good bye and that I would take my business elsewhere. I was not at any point rude to her and I never got angry. Instead I decided that I would tell my friends and family about the service there and how I was treated and would urge them not to go there. Instead I got my hair done elsewhere and I had such fantastic service that I made sure to tell everyone to go there instead.

This is not the first time this has happened to me. I can recall another time where I was treated poorly at a rather large retail store.

I had gone in shop around and while I understand they work on commission, the level of pressure they put on a person in this establishment was ridiculous. Again I was never rude, although frustrated, I kept my cool. The final straw was when a young man asked me for about the fourth time, if I wanted to apply for their credit card.

I had already told him and about four other people I did not want to apply for the credit card. The situation would have been all right if he had not then said to me “well I guess you’ll never own a car or a house then.”

That was the last straw for me.

I quietly told him that the situation was not that I didn’t have credit cards, it was just at this time I did not feel I wanted that credit card. I then laid down the jewelry I was going to purchase and walked out of the store. Again, I never got angry or loud, but I did make it a point to tell everyone I knew of the poor service and urged them not go to the establishment.

Good customer service can make or break a business. If enough customers get upset with a place they will tell their friends, family, and probably everyone else they know about it and it could cause later problems for a business. I am a firm believer in this concept and that is why I make it a point to never get mad in a business, for as my dad says, good customer service begins with the customers. That is why I always try to be a good customer while I’m in the establishment. If the employees then continue to offer poor customer service, that is when I tell people about the experience and it can affect the business they get. Even if it only affects a small part of the business, the evidence will still be there.

(Stefanie Cope is a staff writer for the Columbus Advocate. She can be emailed at reporter@columbus-ks.com.)