Service With A Shrug: When Businesses Fail Customers

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It’s as American an idea as apple pie, to borrow a cliche. It’s the idea that every business should take care of its customers, who should walk out of a store or hang up the phone with smiles on their faces. That’s how businesses operate.

CBS News throws a stone through that idyllic view, however. A wide-ranging poll from Consumer Reports uncovered an astonishing number of American consumers who deemed their customer service unacceptable.

Most American shoppers told the magazine in the nationwide survey that customer service was frustrating with 64 percent of those polled saying they’d left a store because of poor service and 67 percent hanging up on a service line without solutions to their problems.

Speaking of unacceptable, those numbers are extremely discouraging. The survey points fingers to some big box retailers, which is not a  surprise in-and-of itself, but it’s telling that they’re not the sole reason for this. People are legitimately frustrated and upset about the level of customer service they’re receiving, and it’s a useful exercise to hold a mirror up to all of our businesses and see what we can do better.

Rather than holding court on customer service—and I spent my high school and college years working retail, so it’s not an unfamiliar concept to me—I’d like to hear from our readers about what makes for an effective strategy. Care to share your thoughts?

Photo credit to mrgoose at

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