I shake my head over and over again at how bad retail customer service has become. As companies realize that they have become commoditized, they are not doing anything to rise above this and create a customer experience that is truly authentic and based on providing customers real value.
Today, I was making a return at store. I bought the wrong wattage of a light bulb and had to buy the right one. When I was in the store, I found something else I wanted and therefore my new bill would be more than the original. Could I go through any cashier I wanted. . . NO. I had to go through a specific line for returns that had someone uniquely unqualified to do her job running the cash register. Not only did this slow things down to a crawl, it frustrated everyone in line, as this woman talked about things that had no relation to her job at hand, and could not handle her required job efficiently.
Personally, I blame the company. They hired her, they trained her, or didn’t, and they put her in a position where all she was doing was angering clients and showing them that this was not the place they would want to spend money in in the future.
Most companies do not take the time to realize this opportunity cost. Yes, this employee was working probably at minimum wage; they probably had minimum benefits and worked part time. The problem is, that by hiring and training cheap, you lack people who can provide a positive customer experience and therefore the story you are telling everyone is that you really do not care about the customer.
Is that what you really want? Will this help you increase your market share and profitability in the long run? NO! Take the time to train people properly. They are the front line of your brand. If you do not care about how they present your company to the world, clients will stop caring about you!