Where were you on Monday, August 21, 2017, the day of the 100-year eclipse? Any of you that read this blog a regular basis know I love the mountains. I have spent most of my life in or very near the Rocky Mountains. Although I have live-in Hawaii, the coast, and been to and seen most of the world. The Mountains have a special allure in my soul. Customer Service also has a special meaning to me, and I am worried about where we are heading.
Let me back up to Monday the eclipse day. I happened to be in Stanley Idaho if you look at the census data, Stanley is a town of 69 full-time residence. They were told to expect between 10,000 and 15,000 eclipse observers. The photo below is taken from the town square, where they mowed a farmers field and posted a sign “event parking.” Every resident was present and ready to provide world class and memorable customer service.
Stellar Customer Service
Unfortunately, far less than the 15,000 expected showed up. The best guess was closer to 1000. However, the entire town was ready. All the restaurants, grocers, outfitters, bait shops, river guides, were present and willing to provide the best customer service they knew how. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Saw Tooth national forests and Stanley.
Fast forward to this last Friday. I am in the market for a laptop. Although, I would generally go online and order one. I have a client that went to Best Buy and got a killer deal, solid state, 500 gig memory, etc. etc. So I thought I would swing by and pick one up. I walked into the store, walked all the way to the back, to the computer/laptop department. Stood around for 10~15 minutes a listened to the two sales guys talk about the last customer (a scantily clad woman) Slightly offended I walked all the way to the front of the store, then left. Without anyone, I mean anyone engaging me saying Hi, how are you? good day or even fuck off. Which, was exactly how I felt, like they were telling me, to fuck off.
WTF Customer Service
Only slightly put off with the Best Buy experience. I needed a new belt to fix my mothers vacuum, so I went to Wal-Mart. I walked in, no greeter on duty. Not one employee engaged me. I went to the vacuum department, looking for belts. I finally found a bunch of empty boxes. I pulled them off the shelf, to access the boxes behind them. I maybe thru four or five empty boxes on the ground looking for the right box of belts. No body offered any help. Finding what I needed, I walked to the front of the store, checked out through the “self-check out” system, and left without a word from even one employee.
Feeling empowered with my newfound vacuum belt, I returned to Best Buy. Walking all the way to the back of the store, again. I strolled around the laptops, touching them, picking them up, looking intently at the spec sheet, looking very much like a buyer… I was stiffed by all of the employees again. Not one person engaged me. I began to exit the store, I also made a stop in the drone department , because I am very very interested in picking one of those up. A nice (expensive one) a Go-Pro with all of the goodies, I had questions, but again nobody bothered to connect with me. Feeling beaten down, I left depressed, and without a new laptop, or drone.
On my way home, I heard on the radio, that Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods was to be completed by the end of the weekend. I almost bowed my head to cry. That would be the end of customer service as we know it. Now there will be absolutely no client to employee engagement. You can simply call and have anything, including groceries delivered to your door in hours, at worst the next day.
That was the day the music or customer service died. I think back to just one week previously with my experience in Stanley Idaho, how anxious and excited they were to share the eclipse experience with anyone and everyone. How willing they were to please, and provide quality customer service. They didn’t know us but would have done anything to make the client customer experience memorable and rewarding.
I will always remember my time in Stanly. I will never forget my experience at Best Buy and Wal-Mart. I dread my next encounter with Amazon. Remember this picture from Stanley and the “stellar” customer service they provided.