What happened to customer service?

Ever since I took over Support responsibilities at my software startup, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes for good customer service and support.

This past weekend, my wife and I got away and stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. This was our first weekend away since our daughter was born. The Ritz-Carlton brand is well known for its commitment to service. Their credo is:

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.

We pledge to provide the finest personal service and facilities for our guests who will always enjoy a warm, relaxed, yet refined ambience.

The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being. and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests

Our stay was amazing and they lived up to their credo of providing the highest level of customer service. The entire experience made me ask the question, What the heck has happened to proper customer service for everything else?

Look around …

  • “Self checkout” lines at Safeway — Good luck getting anyone’s help unless they think you just stole a can of tuna because you didn’t put it into the “bagging area”.
  • Home Depot — Good luck trying to find someone.
  • Costco — You can get 50 pounds of mayonnaise but forget about asking someone what to do with it.
  • Airline Industry — Awful.
  • Any internet commerce — What customer service?

Is proper customer service reserved only for high end goods and services? At the end of the day, it’s sad. We have all been accustomed to zero or awful customer service for just about everything. Will that change?

All start-ups need to take advantage of this and go above and beyond to keep all of their customers.

Post if you have any thoughts on the topic.