Service. July 25, 2018

Recently I’m becoming a bit of a dick. I say recently when many of you that know me will say this happened some time ago ….so maybe it’s already a well-known fact.

I have excused myself by thinking it’s because I’m a bit older and I’ve gone into ‘grumpy old man’ phase.

There was a short run of a TV programme called ‘grumpy old men’ where the older generation expressed their thoughts on current affairs. It was supposed to be funny provocative and cause a stir – I just sat there agreeing with everything they said.

So, my latest ‘thing’… is bad service.

I’m convinced it’s all part of this global phenomenon I’ve been wittering on about whereby insidiously our lives are being changed for the cheaper – whilst being charged more.

I noticed it first in the car industry when all the good salesmen were replaced by idiots straight out of school. The salesmen had been so good they were hitting their targets every month and walking away with a great salary and a good bonus. This must have hurt someone’s pockets down the line so the bonus system was changed.

The new system meant that the number of cars to be sold to achieve bonus couldn’t actually be built and delivered to the show room – so the chances of getting a bonus were zero. So all the good guys left leaving the crappy salesmen and a new influx of kids that thought watching Top Gear on a Sunday night meant they knew everything about automobiles and could therefore sell them.

The hotel industry was next. Senior staff and bosses stayed the same but all the people that actually ‘made’ the hotel –  left due to cost cutting and reduced bonus systems. The front of house team that made your stay special we’re replaced by ‘on-line check in’ ‘instant check out’ and carrying your own suitcase to your room.

Restaurants….the ‘maître de’ …. who knew your name has now gone and you’re just another punter along with everybody else. Do you go anywhere nowadays where someone says ‘the usual sir’ – doesn’t happen does it? ….it doesn’t happen because it’s someone new every time you walk in the door….so the chances of them knowing what you drink are …zero

So now we can add watch shops to the ever-growing trend of crap that’s being shoved on us. I ordered a new watch about two years ago. These things take time (ha ha) to make, and if you want a particular watch you got to wait. Watch finally arrived but with the wrong strap – I took the delivery even though it was wrong because they assured me that the correct strap was in the post and would be with them within a week.

12 months later I’m still waiting for the correct strap …. yet …they are trying to sell me the next new version of the model that I like.

I know I know – first world problems.

It’s all about sell, sell, sell.

It’s not about making sure the customer feels special and the product is correct – it’s about targets and bonus systems and turnover and margin ….

Are WE to blame for this?

Maybe in our ever-quicker world of ‘on line’ everything we’ve pushed the service industry to the point where it can’t compete? Are we in fact killing the very things that we like?

Well I for one know that I’m not to blame.

I never ask for discount or money off. I never buy the cheapest item or wait for the sales. I know that every industry has to make a profit and I know what it costs to pay staff so I’m happy to pay a premium for quality service.

I’ve even managed to fall out with one lady who ran a small shop locally. Every time I went in she gave me discount on everything I purchased. I found myself arguing with her when she complained of poor results and a lack of customers – saying to her… ‘why do you knock money off everything I buy’ …. her response was that it kept me ‘interested’. I pointed out that I came in because of the quality of the product and the service that she provided not because I got 20% discount. She pulled a face. She ceased trading after 8 months.

The point I’m making is that people should be happy to pay for good service. We shouldn’t be paying for bad service or poor products …. but don’t expect everything to cheap and of the best quality.

The two things are mutually exclusive.


Mike C