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Customer Service
by Karen Ramsey


August 17, 2004

I'm writing in response to a letter to Mrs. Crabby partially shown on your home page on August 16, 2004. I also read the rest of the letter, which was signed "When in Rome." The writer expressed chagrin at customer service personnel who speak a language other than English in the presence of customers and who finish conversations with coworkers before doing the job of serving customers.

The larger issue at hand is that such behavior is rude regardless of the language being spoken. I wonder if "When in Rome" is more comfortable with English-speaking customer service workers who do not postpone conversations with coworkers or who do not promptly acknowledge the customer's presence. It really befuddles me when there are two, three, or even four workers behind a counter continuing whatever they're doing instead of attending to a customer promptly, something that's happened to me several times, and I wasn't invisible last time I checked.

Apparently, too few businesses train their personnel on how to provide customer service that will encourage the customer's return! Acknowledging the customer, even if just with a smile and a nod or some other brief indication that they will be with you shortly even if serving someone else at the moment, takes very little energy. Good manners and polite behavior on the part of those who take customers' hard-earned dollars are essential for businesses that care about good public relations.

Rude or poor customer service is an annoying problem, not only in Ketchikan, but anywhere. I have been in the business of waiting on guests and customers and fortunately worked for a few companies that recognized the value of excellent public relations, providing training to ensure that goal. I think smart business owners need to be more aware that polite behavior is not always innate and may have to be taught. It's frustrating to so infrequently be shown appreciation for one's patronage. If I have to deal with too much rudeness while parting with my money, you can bet I'll try to make a point of not further supporting a business that appears to condone slovenly customer service.

Experiencing great customer service makes me want to profusely thank whoever provides it, just because showing concern for good public relations almost seems to be a lost art. The words please and thank you go a very long way!

Karen Ramsey
Ward Cove, AK - USA



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