Thursday, April 4, 2013

Number 125, ReDeux!

 Number 125 was written back November 2008 and it was about a less than pleasant encounter with Microcsoft, so today's ReDeux! post will be about customer service, which might be a problem for me to come up. Because as you know, I have talked about my adventures in crappy customer service over the past 4 1/2 years and probably the last thing that you want to hear me bloviate about (yet again) is crappy customer service.

So I thought, for this time around, I would try a different approach, in that I wouldn't talk about great customer service or crappy customer service. Instead, I would like to try talking about what I like to call "eh" customer service.

"Eh" customer service is basically customer service that isn't very good or isn't very bad, just somewhere in the middle. I think we've all experienced "eh" from time to time. In other words, customer service that goes through the motions to ensure that whatever opinion you had of the business remains the same.

Example: I have a very low opinion of my local Wendy's restaurant, and I have made it known on this blog on how low it truly is and why it got to be so low. I still go to Wendy's about once a month or so (because one can take only so much of BK), and while I had for the most part average customer service, my opinion about Wendy's has not improved or worsen afterwards.

I've had a lot of "eh" customer service moments like the aforementioned Wendy's during the year, more than the average person would experience, which I think is mostly due to the fact that I have such a seriously low expectation of quality customer service that when a business or a guv'ment entity (like my employer) actually reaches that seriously low bar, my response is like, "Yay."

So how about you? Have you ever experienced any "eh" customer service in your day-to-day wanderings? What about experiencing customer service from your job or business? Ever gotten a taste of what it's like for a member of the general public to deal with your business and found it less than satisfying.


  1. Once in a while I hear of complaints about my customer service to my students. I try to explain that they're not my customers.

  2. We experienced a lot of that with my mother's healthcare. It was always wonderful and surprising when I got someone who truly cared on the phone. I was on the phone with Caremark once and the woman was kind of "eh" until she saw all the medications my mom was on and the nature of her illnesses and then she was very kind and sympathetic.

  3. I would say that all the customer service that I've witnessed (as giver, receiver or supervisor) in recent memory has ranged from "eh" to very good. I can't think of any "eh" service that really stands out in my mind. Maybe the guy who was behind the cash in the dollar store last weekend?

  4. Charles: As a teacher, I think you occupy a truly unique place in the social structure.

    On one hand, you can say that your students aren't your customers in the traditional sense of the word, but on the other hand, without students, would you really enjoy your job?

    Also, speaking from personal experience (my late father was a collegiate professor just yoursef for about 30 years) if you can leave a lasting impression on your students years after the fact, then you did your job right.

    Lynn: I experienced a lot of "eh" when dealing with companies on the phone, but I found that the second you started treating them like you wanted to be treated, it got much better.

    S.R.: I've experienced customer service from both sides of the counter as well, and because of that, it takes a lot of either very bad or very good to make it stand out. Almost all of what I get nowadays is at the "eh" level.

    On both sides.

  5. Oh, let me tell you what happened to me last week! I was in the midst of this godawful medical test. When the doctor finally came in to do his portion of the procedure, he never said a word to me. He walked over to the exam table, poked and prodded me WITHOUT A WORD, then said "I'm done," tossed his exam instrument on the table and walked out. Can you believe that?

  6. What a great term to coin. "Eh" service bothers me because I am always it just me? Or should that have been done better? "Eh" makes you feel like you should have done something differently, until you look at it in retrospective.

  7. Mama Z: Sounds like the doctor really didn't want to be bothered in doing what he had to do, so he wanted to get in, get it done, and get out ASAP.

    Sadly, it seems that more and more doctors have that kind of superiority complex that makes you want to bitch slap them into the next year.

    M: It's you. :D

    Seriously though, getting "eh" customer service at a place that you're stopping at for the first time will just about guarentee that you will not return again.

  8. Customer service quality has dropped across the board. People don't give a damn.

  9. David: 'Tis true.

    Sometimes though, you'll get good where you least expect (any job that pays slightly above minimum wage) or crappy where you least expect it (any high end place that emphasizes "it's about the customer).

  10. I find now that I really really notice outstanding customer service. Which makes me sad, really, because those types of interactions are few and far between. Yesterday, dealing with my cable provider, I had one of those great customer service experiences and made sure I let the technician know and they're supervisor. I don't know when companies decided we weren't the effort of having a real live person answer a phone or when "please" and "thank you" became such a chore...when you get quality, it makes it so much better.

  11. Talon: This is very true.

    No matter what kind of frame of mind I happen to be in, I always make it a point to say "please" and/or "thank you". It's not that hard and I've had people taken aback when I've said those two magic words.

  12. Why bother to praise? I had wonderful help from a Walmart clerk shortly after my heart attack. Because of her patience, understanding and willingness to help I stopped the manager later to praise this woman. He said he would pass the compliment to her. Three weeks later I saw her and ask if he had passed my words on to her and she said "no". You can bet he would have jumped right on the issue if I had complained.

  13. G.A.: I never compliment on any employee's behavior to management in the private sector because it never filters down. Instead, I compliment the employee directly.

    In the public sector, I am more than willing to compliment a fellow co-worker (especially with my jobe) to a supervisor if they did a good job, simply because it can affect their yearly evaluation in a positive way.

    Anyone who can put up with the bullshit I have to go through on a daily basis at work, deserves as much positive feedback as humanly possible.


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G. B. Miller

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