Shoppers fed up with bad customer service
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- A new Consumer Reports survey says two out of three consumers have walked out of stores because of unacceptable customer service. The survey says rude sales people are one of the top complaints consumers have.

Two major stores were ranked among the worst for customer service in this recent survey: Sam's Club and Walmart. But according to shoppers we spoke with the survey may not truly reflect the type of customer service seen here in Wilmington.

According to the Consumer Reports survey of more than 1,000 people, Americans are sick of dealing with bad customers service. Sixty-four percent have walked out of stores due to poor service, and 67 percent have hung up on a call before their problems were taken care of.

The survey ranked Walmart and Sam's Club as the top two stores for worst customer service.

Every customer we spoke with outside of Sam's Club in Wilmington said the members-only warehouse has been great.

"Sam's has always been a really good place," shopper Tammy Crazybear said. "I mean the customer service has never been a problem with me. When I go in there people always help if I need a hand. I never had a problem"

But the same cannot be said for Walmart just up the street. Though some shoppers defended the store when it comes to customer service, several others had complaints about the store.

One woman admitted having an encounter with an employee or two adding that she only shops at Walmart because of low prices.

Another woman said her experience at Walmart was "not bad" but the pharmacy has given her trouble when filling prescriptions.

Another man said he dislikes the long checkout lines at night when there are not enough registers open.

The shoppers did not want to go on camera or give their names.

Consumer Reports says the survey was conducted in March with the margin of error of +/-3 percent.

We tried contacting Walmart's corporate office about the student but have not heard back.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

I understand everyones upset, but you dont know the whole story. First there are not but a few associates even to work. Then at night they are timed you only have a impossable time to meet. And if you are over your time even a minute you will be posted at the clock and you will have to cut it. So they have made a lot of changes that are not for the better for anyone but the company. In the old days you had time to talk to the customer and help them. Maybe if alot of people will call and fuss about it they will be forced to do something. It upsets me to I really love helping people but the way things are now you just dont have the time. I just take the time on nights and help my customers. I just take the lost.

As a customer, I know that yes, sometimes customer service is REALLY lacking in some establishments. You can always tell the "associates" in these places that really don't give a crap about you, or their job, or anything but getting their paychecks at the end of the week. It's obvious. However, as someone who works in customer service, I also know that sometimes there are employees that are having a bad day for whatever reason. They failed a test, their cat died, or, most commonly, they've had to deal with 8 hours of rude customers. I hate to say it but in the years that I've been in customer service, I have seen so many times where a customer will completely belittle, embarrass, and harrass the employee. Yes, my job is to help customers, and I love it when I do help someone find the exact item they are looking for. However, my job is not to stand there while you yell at me because we don't have an item you saw online in our store. I also cannot control the prices or give you an arbitrary discount. Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right. They just think they should be. Why should we as customer service associates have to put up with your temper tantrums when we are only trying to help you? If we came into your law office, or doctor's waiting room or what have you and did the same thing, we would either be kicked out or had the law called on us...however because we work in retail or a restaurant we are supposed to put up with it because, you guessed it, the customer is always right.

There is more to customer service than being polite or respectful. How you present yourself is a big part of it. I, for one, am fed up with walking into a place - a store, a restaurant, a bank etc. and having an employee chewing gum and/or blowing bubbles while they are talking to me. How unprofessional! I am fed up with walking into a fast food place or some other establishment and having to wait while an employee is talking on their cell phone. Any good manager would require them to put it away when they come on duty, and if that doesn't work, send them packing. There's enough people out here looking for jobs that would be willing to work. I am fed up with going to places and having to face an employee who has a neckline plunging to the belly button - when I go to a restaurant to eat, it is not your breasts I want to see - I came for the chicken breast! You won't get a bigger tip for it - you may not get one at all or I may just leave. Looking professional goes along way to being professional - whether you work in fast food or a bank. I am self-employed and I have had customers walk into my business and be extremely rude or start customer. I nicely tell them that it is not acceptable in my business and I will be glad to help them, but I will not be cussed at. The door works both ways - you can go out of it as fast as you come through it. I try to always be polite and not lose my patience - the customer is why I have a business in the first place, but that doesn't mean I will accept hatefulness and you cussing at me.

I agree with your assessment of "unprofessional" presentation. The most disheartening? The worst offenders appear to be in the banking business. So many jeans, t-shirts, tattoos, nose rings, bubble-gum, etc.. When did this become "normal?" Call me old-fashioned, but I find this disgusting.

I've been on both sides of the aisle here and the issue is multifaceted. I worked in many customer service related positions throughout my undergrad and graduate years in doctor's and lawyer's offices as well as at UNCW. Overall I enjoyed helping customers/clients and meeting new people. Most of the time the dynamic has been very positive. Things begin to break down though when the customer/client makes personal comments, begins to scream, yell or threaten violence. Thankfully, I have found that this happens rarely, and can often be diffused if you lower your voice and remain calm instead of rising to their level, but this can be very difficult and some people are simply out of control. In those instances, I think the company/office has the right to demand an apology from the client or "fire" them. At the same time, I do feel that there has been a decline in customer service in many places. I agree that some stores and restaurants make you feel like an interloper where staff can be inattentive and sullen. Finally, NEVER make it difficult for the customer to pay for anything.

What I hate is when I go to wal-mart and I get to the the front and they have 22 lanes and only 5 or 6 would be open at one time during peak times. This is why I quit shopping there. That and the fact that they take over small towns and run away small businesses and after they are gone they raise their prices since there is no competition.

WWAY talked about the type of customer service that people expect in the process of purchasing - or possibly having to return - physical items... milk, bread, TVs, etc.. What wasn't mentioned is when you buy something, and then pay the extra fee for a service plan. In my case, I purchased an iPod from that store with that "Big Red Circle". I normally don't buy extended warranties, but with something like an iPod, stuff can happen.

In any event, about a year after I bought it, it developed a problem that was supposed to be covered by the "extended service plan". Again, this was sold by the store, as a store product, and had nothing to do with the manufacturer. I followed the process for obtaining service to the letter.

They actually contact out the servicing of this service plan to a third party. I had to deal with them sending a mailing label that the post office said would end up in dead mail. More phone calls, and they then sent me a UPS label. I returned the iPod, and it was claimed that they never received it. Multiple calls to "Big Red Circle's" offshore customer service department were summarily transferred to the third party. Requests to the local "Big Red Circle" customer service desk to have them assist resulted in no callback from the store manager.

After a complaint to the BBB in their home office town, I got a call from the third party saying "we found it, and we've sent a "gift card" for a replacement. More calls to "Big Red Circle's" office, and exchanges with the BBB and I ended up with a gift card for less than the replacement cost of the iPod that was only mailed a few days prior to me receiving it. Nothing more than repeated deception on their part. A quick search online using that store's real name, and the words "service plan" showed that what I encountered is pretty typical.

So.... You can't even depend on good customer service when even when you've actually paid for it.

To be clear up front, I do not defend poor customer service; there is no excuse for it. It has been my experience that the worst offenders are those who are employed in call centers, most often outside of the United States. I have worked my fair share of time in both call center and retail environments. I just ask that EVERYONE keep in mind that there are two sides to this coin. Bad management, short-staffed, minimum wage, no benefits, odd hours, no down time, no respect, etc. are common complaints of the job; they do not offer a reasonable excuse for bad behavior or poor service. HOWEVER--before you jump to quickly bash people who work the job you should stand in their shoes. If you have NEVER worked a customer service job, then please hold your tongue. You do not understand or respect both sides. Nearly everyone these days has an entitlement mentality. This mindset creates ridiculous, impossible expectations. In my experience, oftentimes the customer receives exactly the service they deserve, or have earned by their own unreasonable demands and atrocious behavior. Customers often expect treatment, or actions that workers have no ability to comply with. It's not personal. Customer Service Workers are people too, and deserve respect, but must earn it to a degree. Two sides to the coin. Be considerate, polite, compassionate, friendly, professional, adult, no matter which side of the counter / phone that you're on. This will help in reaching a desired outcome much easier than juvenile banter / behavior, from anyone.

Have you ever noticed how some people in customer service act like they are doing you a favor to help you? It happens all the time when you go to a fast food restaurant. The people behind the counter or in the drive thru act like they being imposed upon because you want to spend your money for something to eat. I realize most of them really do not want to be there, but they still want the check that comes on payday. What they need to get through their thick skulls is if people do not spend their money at the business they work at then there will be no pay check for them to collect. I worked in the fast food business back when they hired people who could read, write, and speak english, and it was different back then. Now what you get is a bad attitude, crappy food, and management who does not care enough to do anything about it.

I frequently buy fast food almost every day, and have rarely encountered employees of the type you described. I usually find that if I treat others with respect, they will reciprocate.

You need to take off the Rose Colored Glasses. While there are some who work in fast food who really care about their jobs, there are many more who do not. Some are there because a judge has made it a condition of their probation they have a job. There are some who child support enforcement has made them get a job so they can in the smallest way support their children. There are some people who are just nasty and mean,and carry a bad attitude, many of them work jobs where they deal with the public everyday. I am sorry, but sometimes no matter how much respect and kindness you give them, they return it in a negitive way. It reminded me of a story I heard when working in fast food about the customer who was so dissatisfied with everything they could not be pleased. This person was asked to leave and never come back. While some customers are nasty, a great many workers are just as bad, and here lies the problem. When a customer has a problem they expect it to be resolved ASAP, and not with a crappy attitude and condesending talk.

I'm in customer service and i do agree that some places are lacking customer service. But also you dont know what we go through to help our customers. We get cussed at and yelled at on a daily basis. I am great at my job. I always have a smile on my face and am always very polite with my customers. The way customers talk to us though is just awful. They dont think about the employee one bit. I dont mind helping my customers but i do mind being cussed at and being tols and treated like the whole entire issue in my fault. There is alot that goes on in a business and we cannon control everything that happens. All i ask for is that when you are speaking with someone in customer service, please, dont lose your temper. You wouldnt want someone cussing and yelling at you everyday.

The reason for bad customer service is because companies are cutting help so the ceo can make more money. That is why there is never anyone to wait on you. Also, the employees working are part time working like 50 hours a week (yes, it happens all the time) and are probably a little worn out. However, it is no excuse for being rude. And understand, when you don't speak english it is as frustrating for the customer as it is you.

I haved been in the customer service business since the 80's. It is awful the way people treat people in the customer service business. Yes we are there at our place of business to serve the public and I totally understand that there are people in our business they should not be, but overall most customer service people will go out of their way to help the customer. It is really ashame how people will degrade a person in the customer service business how they talk to them and make fun of them maybe just because they messed up your order or the store doesnt have or do something they need. People need to take in consideration that maybe that this person is new at the job. No matter what is happening treat people as you would want to be treated. You know you should do a survey about how many times a person has gotten excellent cs and they take the time to report that person and how great of a job they did verses to how fast they will turn a cs person in for a bad job! I think if every person should have to work in the cs business for a week or two and relize how much hard work goes into cs. I love working with my customers i love meeting new people everyday.

This comes from above letter "You know you should do a survey about how many times a person has gotten excellent cs and they take the time to report that person and how great of a job they did verses to how fast they will turn a cs person in for a bad job!"

I can say I do go to management when I received excellent service. I tell management about employees who are friendly, make me smile and help to make my day a bit more bright. I let management know that their employee is the one top reason I go to their store, drive thru what ever it may be. I only hope that management will listen and give that employee a pat on the back for being great.

...and that's why YOU are the CSM. If you can't take the heat, get off the stove!

While I see your point and do understand your plight, you are in the CSM position for a reason, to satisty disgruntled customers the average clerks can't handle. Sometimes these customers are mad as hell, they will yell at you and curse you. You are the professional in that position hired to rectify the situation that others can't, so deal with it the way you were trained or move on and let someone qualified in that will.

If you are a good CSM, you cannot have thin skin and must be trained in techniques to calm irate customers down to gain mutual satisfaction in a dispute. You think you are going to change the itrate customers demeanor with your silly, begging post? Think again...

Go back to CSM 101 training and try again! You can't be half as good as you seem to think you are with a whining post like this!

I can tell from your post that you are one of those disgruntled customers who cusses and screams at CSM's. Sorry, but that's NOT an acceptable behavior. I work in CSM also, but my company says that if anyone cusses and screams at us, we can hang up on them. We are not expected to put up with verbal abuse; and there's absolutely no good excuse for that type of behavior. It gets the customer nowhere fast. I think YOU should have to do a CSM job for about 6 months, and I think you would see things differently. I doubt you would last that long.

I don't see her post as whining. If you think that's whining then you should hear some of my co-workers but,I digress..

I see it as her simply asking for adults to act as an adult. That shouldn't be that much to ask of anyone.