An Angry World – The Fall of Customer Service

The last few years have been a funny place in this world hasn’t it. Covid was something that nobody had experienced before, with being told you couldn’t leave your house or go to work. Who would have guessed the situations we found ourselves in.

As we eventually got back outside, the world had changed for good, peoples habits and interactions were different. Lots of people decided that a better work-life balance was needed, and in many cases this was true.

Since then, growing prices, caused by a number of factors including the war in Ukraine, re-opening after Covid and the increased costs involved in trading since Brexit have put more pressures on many.

These growing costs have hit peoples pockets, and we now see more and more strike action, with people trying their best to keep their living standards to the levels that they have become accustomed.

However what has really struck me, is how angry some people have become within their workplaces.

On a number of occasions I have been in a self serve checkout area and been either ‘selected’ for a check, or needed something authorised. Only this week when this happened, a total of THREE staff members looked at me and continued walking past, without even an acknowledgment. I get it may not have been ‘their job’, maybe they worked in a different department and didn’t have a code to authorise, but what ever happened to ‘someone will be with you in a moment’.

A few minutes later someone came to swipe their card and confirm that I was over 25 years old, but she didn’t even look at me. She looked overworked, flustered and like she really didn’t want to be there, and she is not alone.

This is not isolated, and I can recall numerous occasions as an observer, where I have witnessed behaviours, which I have quietly questioned in my mind, asking myself, what has happened to tolerance and understanding.

It’s in hospitality however, where I see this being a real problem. You see, I don’t go to a supermarket for ‘the experience’, however when it comes to restaurants or hotel, that’s exactly what I go for.

In most cases, people dine out, not through need for food, but because they want to have a great time, so much so, that average food can quite often be overlooked, if the ‘experience’ is right.

Some restaurants consistently do customer service well and train staff in this skill, including chains like Hawksmoor, Dishoom and more locally Elite Bistros, which includes Kala in Manchester and most recently Wood Manchester. It’s the service elements after all, that make people want to keep coming back again and again.

Now, more than ever, is a dangerous time to let service standards slip, with times getting harder, people tend to consider where they want to spend their hard earned money more carefully.

Only yesterday, I was spoken to by an assistant manager in a Beefeater Restaurant, in a manner that would make me never eat in there again, even though I have used the same restaurant, at least 6 times a month, for the last couple of years!

It appears that turning up without a booking (Which as far as I am aware, isn’t usually an issue with Whitbread venues) and politely stating that I knew already what I wanted to order, constitutes me being arrogant and told so by said manager!

The statement and attitude shocked me and left me speechless – is this what it has come to? That people within hospitality are so angry with their situation, that all levels of customer service are just disappearing out the front door. I was unable to stay in the restaurant and order my food after such as outburst.

Needless to say, I have already sourced alternative accommodation for my stay in a couple of weeks time, as how can I sit comfortably in a restaurant, where a senior member of staff treats people like that.

I must add, that for the majority of staff members within this actual restaurant, are incredible and have been great with me over the years, but his one incident just highlighted to me, that unless a business keeps focus on what is required, being hospitable, then they are in grave danger of becoming somewhere that people, just like me, start to avoid.


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