Customer service in the U.K.: a link

For another American’s take on customer service in the U.K., check out Life in London, American Style. And if anyone else has posts about customer service on either side of the Atlantic–or, hell, anywhere else in the world–send me a link. Or leave a comment. It should be interesting to hear not just what people’s experiences are but what their expectations and assumptions are.

12 thoughts on “Customer service in the U.K.: a link

  1. The American tradition is highly variable. I have noticed during my lifetime (1944 through today) that it has declined in many areas. It once was a characteristics of high end department stores and in fact some people shopped at them for that reason. Gradually that has not been the case. Also, increasingly, ordering things off the web has taken over in many fields — people go to the store to check things out, and then leave, ordering the item from the internet. In the end some of the internet customer service is very good and not easy to compete with. I would still note that while I seen a definite increase in politeness in Minnesota there continues to be variability in service. Ironically competition from the internet may be helping.

    Gary Schoener

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your mention of Minnesota brings into focus how unqualified I feel to write about this. (Not that it stopped me.) I’m a New Yorker, in spite of my 40 years in Minnesota, and basically I don’t expect much. Someone’s nice? That’s really amazing. Someone’s rude? Well, who really expects more?


  2. I have a few rants on this subject from the early days of my blog when I first pitched up in the US and was trying to get American bureaucracy to treat me as a valid person. You will have to forgive the typos – I learned quickly that I cannot type very accurately on my phone.

    I am away to check out that blog now.

    • I agree. I was in a bookstore a couple of weeks ago and the guy at the counter and he went through the standard how-are-you? thing and when I asked the question back at him he said, “Thanks for asking. Not many people do.” Which says a lot about how little we’ve learned, when we’re customers, to remember that the person behind the counter is also a person, not just an extension of the cash register. Where I get ranty about it all is when I’ve been trapped by the bureaucracies of huge corporations or governments, where no one gets to act like a human–we all get reduced to cogs in the machine.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is a website called notalwaysright, where people talk about customers, some stories are heartwarming, others are the very reason why I got out of the retail industry. I do find that the corporations are very much profits before anything. You just have to work into a certain chain of stores,where you have to navigate round all the display units who have paid to be there, in more or less pitch black because they have taken bulbs out, in either the freezing cold or boiling hot depending on the season because the store is not allowed air conditioning or heating because its too expensive.

        I must admit that staff in customer services seem to be given less leeway than they use to, to make customers happy. If something is wrong (especially when you have to ring up) I don’t want to go through to a supervisor, a manager, the company chairman to get it sorted. I want the person who answered the phone to sort it.

        Where as with a company like Amazon, I rang and the person sorted my problem within 5 minutes and one phonecall

        Sorry went off onto a rant

        Liked by 1 person

        • i confess, I hate Amazon–for what they’re doing to the publishing industry, for the way they treat people who work for them, and for the way they (don’t) pay their taxes. But they do seem to have found a way to sort problems out quickly–I’ll give them that.

          Liked by 1 person

          • the tax thing is probably a whole new issues, I think it was something like my partner paid more taxes than amazon, cadburys and facebook combined. I think there is some argument about whether Amazon are destroying or reshaping the publishing industry, but I must confess its not something I know a huge amount about. I personally haven’t had a bad experience with their customer service, infact I positively gush about them.

            Liked by 1 person

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