Customer Service: Before and After

By: Jude Carter

I just dropped off my bike for its annual tune-up― and a dose of nightmarish customer service. I’ve been going to this bike shop for 3 years and always enjoyed talking to the manager. He was a nice guy who loved to ride and knew a lot about great local routes.

The minute I walked in the door, I knew that something had changed. A new guy stood behind the counter scowling into a huge parts catalog. He seemed annoyed that I was interrupting him. Just then the phone rang, and he started moaning about how busy it gets on rainy days.

Reluctantly he gave my bike the once-over and performed a cursory diagnosis. I made the mistake of asking him if the store was under new management.
“No”, he snapped, “I always owned it. The other guy was managing it and he wrecked it!” He then continued to rant about the manager’s poor work ethic and sloppy habits. (Meanwhile he was slurping a big Dunkin Donuts coffee while looking at my bike, and he seemed clueless about his tire inventory.)

While all this was going on, another customer came in to pick up his kid’s bike. There was some confusion about the repair ticket. Despite the fact that another worker was helping that guy, the owner jumped into their conversation and started blaming the “guys in the back” about not filling out the tickets properly.

What was he thinking? Everybody knows that in retail, bad customer service is the kiss of death. But this guy was over the top. By trashing his employees in public, he broadcasted to his customers that he doesn’t value (or respect) his workers. The result? Horrified customers and unhappy employees. Who’s “wrecking the business” now?

Jude Carter
May 19, 2010

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