Good customer service

(Google imagine
Do you think you generally receive good customer service when you shop?

My husband ordered a part for his computer and after waiting 10 days he rang the company to be told that the part had arrived but they were unable to locate it in the shop—it had gone missing.  DH asked what they were going to do able it.  The reply was “re-order the part”.  DH reminded them that it took 10 days to arrive the first time and he really wasn’t keen to wait another 10 days for a part they had lost.  DH asked if it could be send express mail, he was informed it wasn’t store policy.  As you could imagine, DH wasn’t very happy at this point and asked to speak to the manager.  After going in circles, he was informed he could shop elsewhere if he didn’t like waiting or their attitude. He did just this, got his part and received far better service from the other store (also part of the same multi-national company). 

My DH made the comment “Australia has far worse customer service that the USA”.  My question is, is this true?  Do Australian get a worse service than America? 
Personally I generally receive good service, not always brilliant, but rarely bad. When I receive outstanding service I do comment on it, perhaps because I don’t see it often enough and generally received consistently lower service which I now take as the norm.

My biggest gripe with customer service in Australia is finding someone to help me—this generally isn’t a problem in smaller stores, however in the larger stores such as Bunning’s (hardware) it is almost impossible.   And when I find someone, they are not always knowledgeable enough to provide advice that I need. I also find our large communications companies (phone and internet) difficult, especailly when I have a technical problem.  Only this week I spent also an hour on the phone with little success. Outsourcing to other countries has created language and cultural differences when explaining technical issues, that I find SO frustrating.

On the flip side —my son worked at McDonalds a few years ago and he was surprised at the rudeness of the customers.  Customers who didn’t know the word “thankyou”, who treated him as “dumb or stupid” because he worked at McDonalds, demanding customers who weren’t willing to wait and then got aggressive.  So I do think Australians (some, not all) also make poor customers .

I have always tried to teach my children to “treat people how you want to be treated”, and if you live your personal life this way, it will naturally spill over into your working life.  However I am beginning to think that many people don’t have a clue how to treat others resulting in poor customer service and rude customers.

 What do you think?



  1. I agree. I was in a bank, and requested a service, and explained the circumstances that led to the request. I was basically told that I was wrong, and what has happened twice to me was obviously me not explaining myself properly, and therefore, I did not need the service as requested. I went to a different bank, and lo behold, complete understanding, accepting the story I told, and received what I required!!!
    I have never had a problem in Bunnings or similar store, staff I meet know where stuff is (quite surprisingly).
    LL S

  2. I would have to say that the whole attitude to customer service in the USA is very different than Australia. My daughter works at a store where their policy is to accept any return if the customer is not satisfied. They are aware that they exchange money for goods stolen from other stores -- which they would rather do than upset a customer. A friend works at a large warehouse supermarket -- again they replace anything the customer is not satisfied with -- each month, one returns a bag of apples with two left saying they weren't satisfied and gets a new bag. On the other hand, as you can tell, Americans can be very demanding customers. All you have to do is suggest that you're not happy with service and usually, the attitude changes rapidly -- I've had to use that with my phone company when unwanted charges appeared.

  3. I do think it depends on where you are and what store you're talking about because out here in a rural area, we usually get good service (locally). However, that being said, phone service can be quite shocking, and often part of the problem is the outsourcing. I don't wish to be racist, but sometimes I can't even understand the person on the other end of the phone, and even more irritating, those same people often can't understand what I want, either! :(

    Dan says he doesn't think customer service in Australia is much different (if at all) from America - in his experience. So again - it all depends on location and what stores you're talking about!!

  4. I would have to say that attitudes on the USA east coast are different from the mid-west/west. As to the south, I've not spent any significant time there. I remember my first time in Philadelphia, the waitress turned to me and said, "Wa'da ya want?". In Boston, the guy at the airport in a heavy New England accent demanded "Ya wana cah?' -- which more poor companion didn't comprehend. New England and Australian being non-rhotic, at least I understood!

  5. Clara - I can generally understand the person on the phone (those outsourced) but they don't seem to understand things that I am trying to explain - especailly if it is technical. I find it very frustrating and time wasting. I have reached the point that I dislike calling my own tele-communications company as I know how painful it will be.

    I also agree that country service is probably better than city service - perhaps they have more time for you.

  6. Nick - it is interesting how things vary depending on where you live. And what one person might see as rude or pushy, may not be elsewhere.

    As I'm in customer service - I just try and be nice to all my clients (where I like them or not) and that seems to work quite well - as long as I deliver the goods in a timely manner:)

  7. Yes, Jo, they do seem to have more time for you in the country, I think. There's a fuel station not far from here where the owner will sometimes even fill your tank for you, and the local rural produce store will collect your order for you, and load it into your vehicle. Even our local Bunnings is really friendly - they load up my trolley and load it into my car for me there too - they have gone with me through the store to help me find what I want and loaded it, and have rung around to see if they can locate something I wanted that wasn't instore... You don't see that kind of service in the city unless you ask, and even then sometimes they won't do it for you.

  8. Great post and interesting comments too:) I've been told by many of my American friends that our cust service is not as good as the US! I think I'm just used to it like you are:) I have worked in cust serv and yes some customers can be downright rude! The place Clara lives in sounds lovely:)
    btw, there was a program on tv recently about call centres in India - it was shockingly tragic - the exploitation by many first world companies of the Indian labour force. I'll be more patient with Indian call centres from now on lol! (this coming from an Aussie Indian):)


Post a Comment