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What Impact Does The Customer Service Experience Within Our Local Businesses Have On Our Community?

Can customer service really make or break our community?

When my wife and I moved to the Redan Hills Subdivision in Dekalb County in 2008, we immediately noticed a difference in the social and business environment. We were under the impression that we would continue to experience the same level of customer service and satisfaction that we had experienced years ago moving from the north part of the state. Starting over by locating our favorite stores in the area was not that big of a task, but getting used to the generic and less than stellar service that we were experiencing with the businesses in the area was shocking. After our first couple of months here, we came to one solid conclusion about the level of service that we were experiencing in this area. That conclusion is that it was very poor.

For a few years while getting settled into our home in the Redan Hills Subdivision, we frequently reminisced about the pleasant shopping experiences that we enjoyed prior to our move and took weekly trips out of our neighborhood to visit stores in an area where we knew the customer service would be great.  After a few years of back and forth travel out of our neighborhood to shop, I had to really examine the issue at hand. It simply did not make sense for me to travel across town to a grocery store when I had one in my own neighborhood less than 5 minutes away. I started asking myself this question, “What can I do to help improve the level of customer service in my community, so that I can support my neighborhood businesses?” and also cut down unneeded travel. I then made the decision to demand a level of customer service that was due to me as a tax payer and shopper. Every chance that I got, I would fill out surveys that are normally printed on the back of receipts that I received from my shopping experiences that day. I engaged online surveys in an effort to improve my customer service experience and environment inside of my neighborhood businesses. When I chose to stop overlooking the problems and to engage in the quality feedback process through the business corporate offices, I started seeing results that made me feel welcome and appreciated as a customer.

I have encountered grocery, fast food; restaurant and department/drug store employees and managers take an ungrateful attitude toward customers and openly express their lack of care for the customers experience or loyalty to the company. However, the more I experienced unacceptable customer service, the more I got involved with the quality process by alerting the corporate offices. I am proud to say that my wife and I now shop at our neighborhood stores and demand that level of customer service that we deserve. I see steady progress within the stores in my neighborhood that I frequent that have not always presented the best shopping experience in the past. Besides, who wants to live in a community where they are surrounded by stores with lackluster customer service?

Do you live five minutes away from your local grocer? Is your favorite department store brand just right up the street from you? Do you drive out of your community because stores in your immediate area have a reputation for terrible customer service and lack of quality products?  How important is customer service to you and your family? Have you experienced lackluster customer service within your community? What have you done to encourage businesses to stay mindful of their level of service to their customers? Share your experiences.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Leslie Johnson February 24, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I enjoyed your first blog, Henry. FYI, a couple of months ago, a cashier muttered "whatever" to me regarding the price of an item I was purchasing. I immediately went to her supervisor. I didn't want her fired, but she needed to be checked on her attitude and how she dealt with the public. Since then, she's been more pleasant. When it comes to customer service (and other issues, in fact) I think people should just demand better.
Henry Louis Adams February 24, 2012 at 10:03 PM
I agree Leslie. I think that if we improve small things such as Customer Service and appreciation, it can make a tremendous difference in our social environment. We are living in a hard time and it does not help when we are forced to deal with bad Customer Service. Everyone wants to feel appreciated where they spend their money.
Kimi Bivins February 25, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Thank you for the blog. I definitely don't mind helping assist with making customer service better in Henry County. Too often people overlook or choose not to demand customer service. Customers are the backbone of any successful business. I don't mind filling out surveys or speaking to management about MY service that I pay if it's less than what I expect but it will be all done and spoken in good taste in order to get the point across.
Henry Louis Adams February 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Awesome points, Kimi. I think that alot of people choose to overlook rather than confront the situation. Also, It is so refreshing to know that you dont mind giving quality feedback in an effort to improve customer service in your neighborhood. It is just something so refreshing about experiencing excellent customer service from businesses in your own neighborhood. It totally changes the atmosphere and outlook of that community. I know this is not a fix all method, but it is one of the small things that play a big part in the atmosphere.
Tenille February 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM
I believe that local businesses have on the community in terms of customer service is vital. If the community is not getting great customer service that particular place of business would not get a good rating and not many patrons would return which means job cuts and doing away with that business all together which means those employed would lose the income they need to supply for their families.

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