Customer Service, Like Identifying a Blind Man at a Nudist Beach: It Ain’t Hard

Sorry to use one of the lamest fifth-grade jokes I could think of, but… well… most of my mind never left fifth grade. Speaking of which: LOUD FART NOISE! It has much less impact in print, whereas I am rolling on the floor, LMAO, as we abbreviate on the webs.

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My wife and I moan and groan constantly about how hard it is to get decent customer service. When you are talking a business, like a brewery, a winery, a restaurant… I guess those are the only establishments I frequent (since I order all of my diapers and Waffle Crisp [TM] off of Amazon and such), customer service is key. I mean, it’s pretty important to any business.

What will no doubt ensue is a variety of scenarios I have actually encountered, and how motherfucking easy it would have been for them to make the mature decision and improve the experience.

Like the post says: it ain’t hard, you absolute moron (addressing the non-servicey people, not you, faithful reader).

BARTENDER BOB

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No, this picture is not of the actual hipster who tends bar at GENERIC IDAHO BREWERY #12, but he may as well be. Guy has a different, yet equally ridiculous, hat on every time we see him. He has this attitude like he brews the goddamn beer (he does not) and like he owns the goddamn establishment (he does not) and like he even knows how to mix a drink (he does not even mix drinks, not at work). The guy pours beer. Period.

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Dramatic reenactment.

Apparently, us Portland folk get pretty particular when there is too much foam or head on top of our beer. Now, this ain’t my first rodeo and I know that some amount of head = the opportunity to actually smell the brew (for n00bz0rs, smell is something like 60% of taste, hence those lemons on the side of your water glass).

 

One day, he poured an absurd amount of head into my already tiny, 10-ounce glass. When I pointed this out to him, he argued with me for 2-3 minutes, which, for a non-confrontational guy, felt like an eternity. He was wrong, but that’s okay. I would have accepted his answer; I was only trying my luck.

What killed me was this: after all of that arguing and pointing out how his customers are NOT always right, he topped off my glass. I hope it’s obvious at this point, but if he’d just topped it off, even while giving me a dirty look, I would have been a repeat customer. As Gary Oldman may have said in this situation: Fackin’ hipstahs!

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Method acting, indeed.

W(H)INEY WILMA

For our money, wine pourers (be they owners or random folks off the street) are the WORST when it comes to customer service and sales psychology. You want to know where we most often buy wine from? The place that overpours! BAHAHAHA! It’s that easy! Aren’t buzzed or drunk customers more compliant? Aren’t you grateful for getting free anything? HELL YES!

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This is the angriest woman with wine I could find… it’s just a fun thing!

However, I’ve never been more nickled and dimed in my life than while wine tasting. “That’ll be $15 for four two-ounce pours, sir,” says Wilma. I respond, after tasting them, “Well, I really enjoyed that 2012 Syrah. I notice you have an open bottle of the 2010 Reserve Syrah, and I bet I’d like a bottle of that even more. Do you think I could have a taste?” Quoth the Pourer: “You are welcome to pay $25 for the reserve tasting phlight.”

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Who doesn’t like free stuff?

No. Fucking. Thank you.

You’ve just talked yourself out of a $40 bottle purchase when all it would have cost you was… wait… does an open bottle missing two ounces cost.. NO. IT DOESN’T COST YOU ANYTHING. This logic is so goddamn backwards to me as to be just ridiculous. The fact that people can’t see that is mind-boggling, as if they’ve never been in the identical situation.

The take-away: give out free shit, get your customers a wee bit buzzed, and watch them thank you with case purchases, instead of purchasing that one, cheap-ass bottle in order to negate the tasting fee. I’ll also mention that, after a trip to Oregon’s Pinot Noir country, even the purchase of a $100 bottle wipes only one $15 tasting fee. Why not two? You were going to pour out that wine at the end of the day anyway, numb nuts.

SATAN aka Customer Service Reps for Cable, Internet, Phone, Etc.

Nothing has been more redeeming in my life (other than hunting down every bully from third grade and burying them alive in my own feces) than telling CenturyLink and DirecTV to “eat a dick.” Alright, perhaps I never uttered those exact words, but here’s our history with them:

-During the “install,” they didn’t install anything; they snuck onto my property and flipped the “ON” switch for internet (resulting in lots of angry calls until someone did come and hook up my internet)

-Despite having them “promise” and make notes on my account, the bill went up EVERY month to some degree (we settled on an agreed upon price because it was in our budget)

-When we went five months without 3/4 of the channels we’d paid for (yeah, apparently wind can affect your dish), they wanted $50 for a tech to come out and fix it; if you haven’t played out the logical end, we’d be paying $50 every month or two just to experience the service we were already paying for

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To quote the greatest poem of our time: “It’s too late to apologize. It’s too laaaaaaate.”

It’s one of the few industries where you can give zero service and still retain customers… mostly because you’re the only game in town. Not to sound like a commercial, but since SlingTV showed up (no contract, pay month-to-month, cancel and resume service anytime you want, all by visiting a web site, flat $20/month fee, no bullshit reps to deal with), we told them where to go. Now they’re offering us free service, free television, free NFL Sunday ticket, a $200 Visa gift card… they quite literally cannot pay us to go back to them. Bog bless capitalism, and my fingers are crossed that these guys go down hard, choking on the shit sandwich all the while.

Goldy’s

After a visit to Goldy’s, the best breakfast in America (located in Boise, ID), I’ll attempt to end on a positive note. It was actually terrible. A long wait. When the food arrived, it was burned, overcooked, dry, cold, etc.

However, the owner came to our table, apologized to us, and did everything in her power to make it right. In addition to comping the entire meal (btw, there was nothing wrong with our drinks, which we wanted to pay for), she also tried to force a gift card on us. Now that’s service! That’s an owner who, unlock the majority of jackass owners, WANTS MORE PEOPLE TO BUY THEIR PRODUCT. Isn’t that the point of owning a business in the first place? To make money? Through repeat visits?

Folks, like a mollusc in an acid vat, it ain’t hard.

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“And even I know how not to be a dick to that smaller sea creature I’m about to consume. Hey, Shrimpy Joe, lookin’ good!!”
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8 thoughts on “Customer Service, Like Identifying a Blind Man at a Nudist Beach: It Ain’t Hard”

  1. Funny. I am RIGHT THIS SECOND in a brewery typing my new blog post about how the customer is not always right and sometimes can pretty much bite my ass. We are at our cabin in Pigeon Forge and so we have to provide mature customer service to the most absurd requests.

    True story, until this year I thought a restaurant that had a “generous pour” meant they were generous to poor people. *hangs head in shame*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahahaha! Thanks for sharing. What are the service issues? I hate to say it, but waitering is a lost art. You’d think it’d be a total common sense thing, right? No, sir. Texting and ignoring customers is something we can do to others, but won’t tolerate when it’s done to us.

      Like

  2. I came here because I spotted your comment on The Bloggess’s blog and thought, “Eh why not?”

    I couldn’t even make it past your ranting about Bartender Bob. Have you even ever WORKED customer service? It’s not “easy”. I did it myself, in various retail places, for twelve years. My husband, who is a retail manager, does it EVERY SINGLE DAY. Customer service, of any kind, is probably the worst jobs a person can do because even when you’re doing everything right, people STILL find reasons to bitch. I wanted to read more of your post but I just couldn’t bring myself to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. While I wouldn’t begrudge you your opinion, I have to stick with my initial stance. I probably stand guilty of oversimplifying the situation, but I’ve done customer service for years myself, and have been screamed at by the mightiest of small business owner to the lowliest of dennys customers.

      I would like to ask you what you mean by working in customer service, because I’ve never thought of it as an industry (like retail, hospitality, call center, waitstaff or foodservice), so much as I’ve considered it an aspect of every job. Even as a teacher, I have to provide “customer service” to parents who are upset at me because their child is what we call a reluctant learner.

      When I say customer service is easy, I mean it’s more or less easy to comply with simple requests, like topping off a beer or providing a free sample of wine. If you’d read the post, you might have had a better idea of what I was trying to illustrate; however, you might have also held the same opinion. I don’t understand how the example I provided about the bartender relates to your customer service experiences, but it clear flipped a switch in you.

      At any rate, I’ll apologize for offending your sensibilities, but you’re preaching to the choir when you say people are hard to please. Try working on a compliance and governance hotline and not getting burned out after three years. You aren’t the only one who’s experienced it. I simply feel that keeping a smile and making polite gestures is part of the job, and I continued to do so in the face of all that you described; bartender Bob did not, even though I was absolutely polite to him. At the risk of sounding disrespectful, you sound like you have quite the chip on your shoulder.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. I hope you do find lifelong happiness in your career, since we are forced to do something less than perfect for at least eight hours a day.

      Like

    2. Also, I won’t post this on your page, because I’m not trying to throw hate around on your boards, but after reading your post about the author of eat, pray, love, you are WHINEY! Who doesn’t evny someone else’s position. It’s the reason we have the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side.” Your reaction to my post makes a lot more sense now.

      Like

  3. It is so disappointing when you get bad customer service, but like with your last story, when you get good service it makes such a difference.

    I work in HR and I guess sometimes I get a bit grouchy with the employees/colleagues that I work with. I know that their problem is the 10th (or even 100th) time I’ve dealt with this problem, but I try to remember that they don’t necessarily know that. I guess there’s a bit of give and take – if the customer is easy to work with, has legitimate issues but still a good attitude then it’s so much easier to help them out and feel good about it?

    Like

    1. I absolutely agree! I have had a hard time serving people who are difficult, yet am so happy to help customers who are polite and grateful. That’s the kind of customer I try to be.

      My wife is transitioning into more HR related work and I am curious to see what her experiences are like. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your two cents!

      Liked by 1 person

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