Again and again and again, I cannot help but stress the importance of customer service.

I’ve lived in 4 different continents, lived in 6 different countries, and traveled to over 20 countries.

Of all the places I’ve been, I must say, that the worst customer experience was in the most powerful, rich country – United States.

That’s quite an irony, because if you talk to anyone in the world, they think the U.S. would have the best customer service – otherwise, how could they be #1?

Well, I will probably have a lot of posts related to customer service in the future, but here are some of the things I find that drastically reduces customer satisfaction:

  1. Employees are not professional: Yes they are, I’m sure they all received training, but it’s only up to a certain point – when the customer keeps arguing about returning a product, that employee would become all emotional – and hit back at the customer with vulgar or aggressive tone of speech. The customer is supposed to be king, but only when they don’t cross the employee’s emotional capacity.
  2. Employees are slow: Yes, believe it or not, I have never seen employees so relaxed. Even if there are 30 people waiting in line to checkout, everything’s done in a systematic way, one at a time. For example, when someone orders cigarettes, I often see an employee moving about slowly to the cigarettes section, and walking back slowly back to the counter. It may seem like “what then, should they run?” but unfortunately, when you have 30 people in line, that is what one expects. Just go to a far eastern Asian country and see how fast they are.
  3. Employees don’t think they are part of the business: What I mean here, is that employees work individually, only on their given assignments. It’s quite fascinating, and seems quite rude as a customer when there are two employees: one is at the cashiers, and one is checking inventory next to the cashier. Now, when there’s a long line of customers at a quick-mart – and by definition, quick-mart is supposed to be something ‘quick,’ the one person checking inventory would not care about the long line formed. Perhaps his/her manager told him/her to do so, but is inventory checking so much an importance to the business that customers who gets fed up and leaves should not matter at all? (I’ll probably have many stories regarding this)
  4. Employees do as they please: Now, this probably refers to some bad employees, but nevertheless, I see this every day. Often times, I would see an employee at a cashier talking on the phone – I have no clue what it’s about, but it’s definitely not business – and then I’m left with waiting – there’s one thing to have a lot of people in line but few working employees, but being the only customer, I feel mistreated, as if I am not there to buy anything. Now isn’t that something? Or often times, I’d ask questions: “do you have any product XXX?” and they’d answer: “no we don’t carry them.” Finito. The End. Why not increase sales by at least asking: “we don’t have XXX, but XXY is pretty similar. Would this work for you?” Without such responses, it seems like I’m in there asking for a favor which they don’t want to help out. Who’s the King?

Well, there’s a lot more to customer service. But these are some real, basic problems I found when compared to other cultures I’ve lived in. And this happens daily, I mean it can happen right as you read this on your iPhone…