What ever happened to customer service in this country? The new issue of the Gypsy Journal arrived at the FedEx freight terminal in Orlando early Sunday afternoon. Monday morning I called FedEx to arrange a time to come by and pick it up, but I was told that I couldn’t get it until today because they weren’t going to unload the truck until sometime Monday night.

Every time we have had to pick up a load at this terminal we’ve had to wait at least a couple of hours, even when we’ve called ahead of time and were told our pallet was sitting on the dock waiting for us. Not because they have ever been all that busy, but because everybody, from the people in the office to the folks out on the loading docks, are standing around talking, smoking, and sandbagging.

And unfortunately, this isn’t limited to just this FedEx freight facility, or even to FedEx. We ran into the same thing at the FedEx dock in Richmond, Virginia last October, and two years ago we waited hours at the UPS dock in Portland, Oregon while we watched the dock workers play cards, then stop their game to go on lunch break!

Again, we don’t just show up expecting everybody to drop whatever they are doing to wait on us. We never go to a dock to pick up our load until we have called ahead and are assured it is ready. And yet, as often as not, when we arrive the trailer our pallet is on hasn’t even been unloaded.

We dine out frequently and we always tip at least 20% if the service is halfway decent. Waiters and waitresses work long hours and their hourly “pay” is a joke, and we appreciate the job they do. But twice we have walked out without leaving a tip at all, when our server completely ignored us and never came by to check on us or to offer to refill our drinks. In both cases the servers were busy gossiping with their co-workers instead of doing their jobs so I assumed they didn’t need the money.

I keep complaining about American jobs going overseas, but when I have to deal with nonsense like this, I have to wonder if the lack of a work ethic in my fellow countrymen doesn’t play a part, right long with corporate greed.

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23 Comments on What Ever Happened To Customer Service?

  1. Tina says:

    It’s sad. You shouldn’t have to pay for good customer service. I hope you leave comment cards and such to ensure your thoughts are known. I hope you have great experiences soon :)

  2. Chris Ward says:

    It’s exactly the same in England. Living in Japan I get used to great customer service anywhere and everywhere which just gives me a bigger shock when I go home. If I ever manage a company of any kind there’s no way I’ll stand for it. I don’t mind people slacking off when it’s not busy but when there’s a customer waiting they’d better get the job done and with a smile.

  3. wigwamman says:

    You are spot-on again, Nick. FedEx is now laying off people. In December they offered full-time people who would voluntarily leave their jobs a full two years of salary. Business is hurting and what a surprise. However, UPS and USPS are thriving at package delivery. FedEx has their collective heads up their _ _ _ _ s.

    Service is king in any economy.

  4. Jim Walter says:

    Nick, when we get lousy service at a restaurant we always leave a tip of a dime or a quarter. We feel it leaves more of a message to the waitress. If you leave nothing, they may assume someone stole the tip.

  5. Francis Callahan says:

    I leave a penny and a note telling the wait person that they are really stupid and in the wrong job if the service is not good. Ever notice that the best wait people are the older and a lot of times a forigner

  6. Brad Barnes says:

    I don’t know what is going on with the upper management these days. Customer service costs your business nothing and yet it can bring you great word of mouth which in turn brings you more customers.

  7. Joe Homich says:

    I made a very good living on one word: Service. I found out it was a rare commodity that was wanted by the public.

    Was I the cheapest in town? Nope. I was the most expensive, also proving that people will pay a premium for exceptional sevice.

  8. Dave Mingus says:

    Well said once again Nick!

  9. Judy Howard says:

    As a business owner from the time I was eleven years old(yep!)I know good customer service is the number one rule in becoming successful.
    I wanted to mention The Mountian View Rv Park in Van Horn Texas. My friend, Vicki, who I was caravaning with and I wanted to boycott the town after reading your blog about the cities that are unfriendly to Rvers but we had a pleasant stay at the Mountian View Rv Park on our trip to Florida from California, and the owners Sue and Sharon were so nice, we wanted to give them our business. Since Van Horn is practically the only stop between El Paso and San Antonio,on our return trip, we put our principles aside and stayed two nights because of a dust storm.
    My friend, vicki went to the office asking for ice while the storm was raging and Sue and Sharon said they didn’t have any but were going into town and would get her some. They did exactly that and even brought the ice to Vicki’s door, refusing any payment. Now that’s customer service!!
    The owners are very distressed and do not agree with the ordinance of the Van Horn city council. They are reviving their campground which used to be a full service truck stop. We saw many improvements just in the two months we had been away.
    I am glad we didn’t boycott them and wish them all the success.It is a shame that nice people fall victim to money hungry politicans even in a small town like Van Horn, Texas.
    Life is so complicated.
    And I agree that FMCA. I performed a seminar about writing and publishing at the Indio Rally last year. When I arrived they changed their policy and told me I would be unable to sell my books after my seminar. I would have to direct my customers back to my rig that was parked in the maize with all the other motorhomes.
    I did not rejoin this year.

  10. Cindy Conway says:

    Bad customer service, folks standing around talking, smoking, playing cards(???) is the result of bad management. While S**t rolls downhill, bad customer service travels upward. If the management doesn’t motivate their people to perform better, they won’t. In some cases, management get their paychecks and don’t care, in other cases, there have been so many cuts they are so overloaded with work, sometimes doing the work 2-3 people used to do, that they can’t begin to manage their people. It is a sorry state of affairs and we are going to see more and more poor service in all areas.

  11. Elaine Loscher says:

    I felt I had to share the last resturaunt experience with you and bad service. We took our kids out to eat at a very nice Korean Buffet,the food was good, but the service sucked big time. when Mike paid the bill, and we were walking out the door the lady who served us came running out after us yelling very loudly, the bill was wrong, Mike checked it over again and told her that it was right and he paid the correct amount, she proceeded to tell him it was not because he did not leave a tip. Mike told her in no uncertain terms that because she all but totally ignored us and someone else did her job, she did not earn a tip for service, what her reply was I have no idea since it was not in English, the next time we were up in Austin we noticed that they had gone out of business.

  12. Jon Ensminger says:

    The new face of America.
    Why am I not surprised. When the working people are paying the way for the ones that don’t work these problems will arise. We are retired and two summers ago we didn’t work and got all of our federal tax $$ back, because for our low earnings. This past summer we did work for minimumm wage and we only got 1/2 of our tax refund as with new tax laws are created we need to give up our meager earnings to support those that are better off. If I was incustomer service and had a lot of unemployed people on my back you would wait a long time for your help. Remember the saying over 4 years ago “This is the greatest country in the world and we are going to change that”. Well get used to it, as it comes from the top down.
    As for leaving or not leaving a tip, 10% is all that I will leave and if the service is bad I will leave a nickle or a dime to let them know that I did not forget.

  13. Joe Vagott says:

    I remember going into a McDonalds a few years back. I ordered a burger and fries,the young girl put the fries on the tray with the fries coming out of the container onto the tray. I told her thats no way to serve a customer. She just looked at me and shrugged her shoulders. No real service or respect anymore.

  14. Nick Russell says:

    Jon, I fail to see how the taxes somebody is paying effects how they treat ME as a customer. I pay a lot of taxes too, but that doesn’t mean I take my frustration out on my customers.

  15. John Early says:

    You don’t want to hear this but until Obama and his crowd of thugs are booted out of office you will see more and more of this. Nobody has a work ethic because they al know they can stop working any day and go on welfare to make more money and better benefits. Its the classic Socialist model.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    We can see in all of this the “dumbing down effect” of a few decades of not the greatest public education for our kids…it will not get better I do not think. A general disregard for others and it is ME, ME, ME as the prevailing attitude. Or so it seems to me. You are exactly right in what you wrote, Nick. And like John, I was thinking things here more resemble the socialist countries.

    We got a small meal not long ago at a Bob Evans…we did not spend a lot, but we were not that hungry. Our food was served, our water never refilled, and even though the waitress went frequently by our table, we could not get her attention either. Hubby said it was because we were not her race. Probably. But while we usually tip 20% or last night even 25% at a different place, this time it was 10%…I really thought about leaving nothing at all. But instead we just will not return there. Plenty of other places with much better food and service for a similar price. DUMB, DUMB, DUMB they are!! We still do have choices!! It is great that you and others let us know where you find great food and services…and ones that are not!! THANKS!!

  17. Connie Bradish says:

    As long as people believe they are owed everything (food, medical care, cell phones, etc) just because they are alive, we will have the sloven, rude customer service that is beginning to be the norm in the US. I was raised that you have responsibilities because you are alive. And one of those responsibilities is to take care of yourself by working and paying your bills. Also you do your job to the best of your ability. Sad to see the US headed into socialism and second rate status in the world.

  18. Chris says:

    Charles went to Wal Mart yesterday for an oil change and tire rotation. He waited 2 1/2 hrs. The Manager apologized to him telling that 4 people called in “sick” . He was working alongside the 2 that did show up
    He told Charles that some of his people expect high pay , fewer hours and more breaks. They flat do not want to work! We see this all too often. A crying shame. Our business is built on customer service. Without it, I would be out of business.

  19. Paul Stough says:

    I fail to see how lousy business owners and managers like those who hire and retain bad employees, are the fault of the President, but then again if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

    Perhaps if these business owners paid a living wage, they would get better quality employees.

    As far as the future economics of the country, we have two choices; more socialism, or slavery. Which do you prefer?


  20. BoB says:

    I know you like Duncan RV repair and that’s why we took our unit there. What a mistake that was!!! Poor customer service(very nice to get you in the door)They washed the rig and ruined a $15,ooo paint job by using something corrosive. Billed my insurance company $35,000 for about $8,500 worth of work and still didn’t fix all the damage! I still have this unit from a few years with all this with a leaky roof and many parts that i cannot afford to fix…One huge mess for being hit on the road nearly killing my family then Duncan taking advantage and the insurance companies fighting and not paying what i was covered for!! Insurance company has put them on there BLACK list..But what good is that when i was the one screwed! Safe travels..p.s–getting ready to fight again after 2+ years recovering. BoB.

  21. Kathleen Ensminger says:

    On the occasions when we receive GOOD customer service, we always say with a smile, “Thank you for doing your job!”

  22. Gary Bergt says:

    I don’t believe there is any subject that irratates my wife and I more than bad customer service. We work in national parks in information and bookstores in the summer. We go out of our way to provide every customer with quality customer service and patiently answer any and all questions mainly because that is the way we would like to be treated when we go into a business. And we want each visitor to have the best experience possible while they visit our park.

    We have been told by the management of the associations we work for that this is the reason they hire mostly retired people to fill their seasonal job openings. They told us that we are reliable, always on time for the job, and very conscientious about the job. We have also been told that they have had more problems when they have to fill some of the positions with this up and coming younger generation. One manager told me that he wondered how these kids were raised as they have no work ethic whatsoever. Their main concern seemed to be getting paid and some of them believe that if they show up, they should get paid just for that. By the way, that showing up part does not necessarily mean ‘on time’ either.

    My wife and I have a lot of stories about working along side some of these younger kids after having done these jobs for over 12 years. Don’t get me wrong, we have worked with a few real hard working kids too. But they really stood out from the rest of the crowd, so that shows they are in the minority. Gary

  23. DJ Pruitt says:

    The customer service experience which has irritated me the most (and I am very laid-back) was waiting in a long line for help at a branch post office in LA with only one line open, seeing a woman walk from the back of the building and sit down in full view of the people waiting in line, and begin to file her nails. Now I am willing to admit that she might have been on a scheduled break but to do this in front of people waiting for help was verrry annoying. She then stood up, but not to help us, and walked back behind the wall again.

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