One likely cause of local businesses’ woes: Abysmal customer service

Tue, 11/20/2007 - 5:15pm
By: Letters to the ...

Every day in the news, I hear merchants complaining that sales are down. Today I think I found out why that may be the case here in Fayetteville. Come along with my wife and me as we do some shopping on this Sunday afternoon at the Pavilion.

Our first stop was Toys-R-Us. We found what we were looking for and headed to the cash register. The cashier had just started to check us out when a supervisor walked up. Clearly in the minds of the management of this store the supervisor takes precedence over customers.

As we stood there patiently waiting to give away our money, the supervisor talked non-stop for five minutes. She finally ran out of things to say and only then was the cashier allowed to continue. Will I go back there? Probably not.

Our next stop was Best Buy as our CD player/changer had died and we decided to buy another. As we walked in the store, no one said hello even though there were three sales associates standing there as we entered. Based on that warm welcome, I should have known what was to follow.

My wife and I wandered all over the store looking for a CD player/changer going from aisle to aisle. We passed at least five sales people (a misnomer if there ever was one in this store); not one asked if they could help nor did anyone standing by the front door seem interested in helping us either.

So we left not knowing if Best Buy actually carries this product or not. Will I shop there again? No. I don’t go where I’m not wanted.

So off we went to H.H. Gregg. We walked in the store and were immediately approached by a sales associate. We told him what we were looking for and he took us right to them. He thoroughly explained the three on display then off he went to check the inventory levels.

“Finally a store where they get it!” I exclaimed to my wife. Our sales rep came back and said that two of the three were out of stock. Although I wanted one of the others, I decided to settle for the one in stock. Our sales rep said he would get it from the stock room and be right back.

Approximately 15 minutes later he returned empty-handed and said that there were supposed to be three in stock but he couldn’t find them. “I’m going to talk to the manager” he said.

We watched as he approached the desk and explained the situation to the manager. The manager barely acknowledged his presence and made no effort to move one inch from behind the desk to help him. Despite the lack of managerial help, our intrepid rep went back to try it again.

Finally after 10 minutes, he came back defeated. We left with no CD player. I’ve decided to buy on-line.

At this point we realized we were hungry and decided that Applebee’s would be the ideal spot. We opened the door to the restaurant and were blown back by the wall of sound that greeted us.

A large crowd? No, not even a half-full restaurant. What we were hearing was the commentary to the football game on the TV so loud that you could hear it outside the place.

We stood there through two plays (about five minutes) when finally we were seated. And that folks, was the last any one at Applebee’s talked to us.

We sat there just to see how long it would take to get waited on and finally gave up after 15 minutes. We ate dinner at home.

So let’s look at our four merchants and why their sales are down: Toys-R-Us has the attitude that management comes first. Best Buy has a “we really can’t be bothered with you” attitude. H.H. Gregg stocks the shelves but not the inventory and has the same management attitude as Toys-R-Us. And Applebee’s, well, they just really don’t care much if you eat there or not.

My wife and I left the house with $300 in our pockets to spend. We returned with the same amount.

Is the economy bad in Fayetteville? No, just customer service.

Gary Connor

Fayetteville, Ga.

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Submitted by measuredup on Thu, 11/22/2007 - 3:02pm.

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Submitted by Violetsunshine on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 10:11am.

I avoid it like the plague. I've had similar experiences at those stores and others. (Walmart, Ross) I hate driving to Newnan but they have a different attitude for the most part. If you've had the Fayetteville "treatment" you know what I mean.

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Submitted by eodnnaenaj1 on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 10:19am.

Apparently the old adage "stuff runs downhill" is correct; because the concern for good customer service has to begin at the top. If owners, managers, etc. don't care, naturally the cashiers, salespeople, etc. aren't going to care. A good portion of my job is customer service, and believe me if it isn't provided well every time, I would hear about it.

And you are correct, the folks in Newnan do seem to have a different attitude. I don't know if this is a result of many new openings, and the people are still geared up, or if it is just a different attitude. If one is shopping in F'ville, you are definitely operating on self service.

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 7:55am.

Oh man even Buckhead has better customer service than that. They definitly have better restaurants.

Submitted by d.smith700 on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 9:16am.

Once upon a time having owned a retail business in PTC, I recognize your type! NO City loyalty. Spread manure around in hopes of getting the cow-towing service you desire. The only thing I see that is better in Buckhead is twice the price and twice the tip required!
I have shopped there a couple of times when I had business there.
When it became an all night nightclub resembling Nigerian hoodlums, I stopped going.
Buckhead in some instances pay their waiters, etc., twice as much and do get people who know how to get a tip. I can get as good a meal and "ambiance" as I want and need in Fayette County.

Submitted by thebeaver on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 6:43am.

Gary is right. Customer service in general in the metro area is abysmal. I do quite a bit of traveling, and people are much more friendlier and helpful in just about every city that I visit - including New York.

“...the term “democrat” originated as an epithet and referred to ‘one who panders to the crude and mindless whims of the masses.’”

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