Don’t Forget the “Service” in Customer Service

We’ve all had at least one encounter with a rude salesperson. Flashes of the 1990 classic “Pretty Woman” comes to my mind, when all Julia Roberts’ character wanted to do was buy some clothes and the snotty saleswoman wouldn’t help her, turning her nose up and suggesting she leave.

Not all experiences are as obviously snobbish and judgmental as that example (though, her character was dressed pretty inappropriately). Some just happen because the employees are unhappy with their job situations or had been dealing with a particularly irritable customer or boss.

I’ve had my own terrible customer service experiences and it turns out that many Americans are in that same boat. In a new Consumer Reports survey, 65% of Americans surveyed are “tremendously annoyed” by rude salespeople and 64% of respondents said they had left a store in the past year because of poor service.

It’s not even just in the stores that people are feeling frustrated – 71% of respondents were “extremely irritated” when they were unable to speak with a human over the phone and 67% of them hung up before getting their issues resolved.

Of course, I’m sure most customers who have been burned by a rude salesperson have dreamt of exacting revenge as Julia Roberts’ character did in “Pretty Woman,” walking back into the same store the next day looking absolutely fabulous and telling the saleswoman who was so awful to her that it was a “Big mistake. Big. Huge. I have to go shopping now.”

Just like that, that fictional store on Rodeo Drive lost out on a huge sale. You can be guaranteed that the respondents who said they were annoyed with the rude salespeople are telling their friends and family about their experiences and those people are thinking twice about purchasing from those businesses, or bypassing them altogether.

It’s just another reminder that customer service truly counts toward a company’s bottom line.