Sunday, June 10, 2012

A Tale of Two Customer Service Experiences

Last week I had 2 very different customer service experiences.  Last Saturday night I went to pick up some food from a local kosher restaurant that shall remain nameless.  My wife had called in the order ahead of time so I could pick it up.  When I got there they pulled an order, but it was not mine.  The owner proceeded to tell me off for not being clear when I placed my order.  I immediately called my wife to confirm that she was clear when she placed the order.  By the time I got off the phone they realized that they had pulled the wrong order and they just sent mine out without so much as an apology.

Last Sunday I was at a non-Jewish owned fruit store called Lincolnwood Produce.  Whenever I go in there the owner greets me with a smile, helps bag my groceries, and says thanks to me as I leave.  That day I forgot a bag of a couple of green peppers.  The owner ran across the parking lot to bring me a dollars worth of produce.  He could have easily returned it to the shelf and I would have been none the wiser.

Why do so many Jewish merchants not understand customer service?  The customer is always right even when they're wrong.   And if you do accuse a customer of being wrong and then realize that they are right at bare minimum apologize.

People let me know what you think about this in the comments.
Daniel Peikes


  1. Total agreement. In fact I would go so far as to say that while eateries and stores can 'reserve the right to refuse service', it's not in their best interest to do so.

    At the end of the day, the eatery is a business. It needs income. It only acquires income from successful sales, and it only continues to get successful sales from happy customers.

    I would probably not frequent a place that did not at least have the courtesy to apologize to me for clearly botching an order.

    I hope you managed to claim your order and not the food they gave you at least.

    But yeah, Jews used to be wonderful at customer service, except for butchers. Kosher Butchers have always been allowed to be crabby and cantankerous; on the flip side the kosher butcher NEVER messes up your order and always (if they're quality) trims and prepares the cuts of meat to your exact specifications.

    So yeah, Jews need to learn how to be polite and accept the aforementioned adage.

  2. "Why do so many Jewish merchants not understand customer service? "

    There's one simple reason, the merchants believe that it is a seller's market and that people will go to them REGARDLESS of how the store treats them.

    Great post.

  3. I've been on both sides of the counter many times, and I've seen people behave in a manner that would blow your mind. Yes, there is no shortage of clueless business owners who seem to think they they must be worshiped and obeyed, and that we are grateful to pay for the privilege of lousy service and condescending attitudes.

    To be fair, there are also customers who can become completely irate and irrational due to their own error in timing, price, etc. (What!!! you mean my order isn't ready yet?!?!? Whatdya' mean you told me 30 minutes - I need it NOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!).

    In one of the restaurants where I worked, the owner had posted some thoughts and advice in the kitchen for the staff to read. This one stuck in my head:

    Old wisdom: The customer is always right.

    New wisdom: The customer may NOT always be right, but they should NEVER be treated as if they are wrong.