5 Ways to Drastically Improve Customer Service

By Mary

We all give and experience all sorts of customer service throughout the course of life, unless you never had a job and have other people interact with service workers for you, in which case, stop reading this blog and go back to your mansion, you rich monster.

Anyways, here are some observations on things that all employees do that can really make our everyday activities suck far less.

5. Teach Your Employees How to Sack Stuff

Okay, this one might just be a personal pet peeve, but to me, when I bring my huge Trader Joe’s bags and ask you to pack them full, I mean do whatever possible to fit all my groceries into just those bags. Its okay, I promise I can handle it. My delicate girl frame and weak, feminine ankles may look fragile, but I assure you I won’t crumple under the weight.

Unfortunately, baggers are often flummoxed by the idea of properly sacking groceries that they try to separate cold from warm, then produce and meat, into separate bags, even if you only bought $20 of groceries. Why, who wouldn’t want five plastic bags for 15 items? Everyone. Everyone wouldn’t want that. Look, it’s easy, and I’ll teach you now. Take two things in boxes, and put them on the ends of the bags, then fill up the space you made, keeping cold or hot together. Holy shit, that IS complicated, isn’t it?

4. Get rid of uniforms

Now, I get that there are some professions where a uniform is necessary, or they’re part of a theme, like a sex-themed theme park. I get that. What I’m talking about is places like The Finish Line, where they make all their employees dress up as umpires, because…..they’re also umpires? No. No they’re not. They’re bratty teenagers and one lonely, lost thirty-something who know as much about refereeing as I do, which is basically just that you should yell alot. In addition, it doesn’t make sense to have grocery store employees dress in button-up shirts and aprons like it’s still the 50’s. That makes people miserable, and miserable employees make customers want to tie them to the bumper of their cars and hit the gas. I’m all for a clothing requirement. Target, you wear red and khakis, Wal-Mart, you wear an expression of faithlessness in humanity – I can tell you work there if I need something. And the workers get to be a little more comfortable, and a little less stabby.


I get that the basics of customer service come from a better time; a happier time when sexual harassment was still a punch line, and bank loans were given on handshakes, and you could get a Ferarri or whatever for a nickel. That time is gone. There is no more illusion of a perfectly pleasant society, and no one feels the same pressure to mingle with everyone. And there are just too goddamn many of us to each get personal assistance while shopping or whatever we’re doing. I know that there are still some shoppers who want their hand held, and that’s fine, but let them ask for it. The rest of us can shop just fine on our own, because usually it just involves looking at something and picking it up, and hopefully paying for it. But Maybe not.

2. Cut the Small Talk

Dear Sweet Merciful Jesus, No one gives two shits about the weather, and anyone who pretends to is just bending to an awkward need to open their gaping face-holes to reinforce their idea that they are worth anything, even though deep, deep down, they know that both they and their words about the weather or local sports or something something politics are of less worth than the vomit that rises in their throat when an employee is expected to carry on small talk with their customers.

1. Cut the Canned Phrases

The biggest offenders here are call centers and grocery stores. We all know them, we’ve all been instructed to give them at jobs. “Thanks for Choosing Scrotie’s.” “Would you like to save 5% by applying for a Ripoff card today?”

Every time I hear (or say) these canned phrases, or even tell someone have a nice day because a I have to, I have a microstroke. And you know what? So do most people. Somewhere along the line of crazy that is the customer service ethos, someone decided that people want to hear wage slaves regurgitate insincere phrases at people to avoid being coached on it. There’s truth to the idea that everyone wants to be treated with courtesy, everyone wants to be thanked for their business or greeted. But only genuinely. If I had the choice between the stoned 15-year old handing me my coffee staying silent or forcing himself to say “Thanks for visiting Starbucks, have a nice day…”, I know what I’d pick. You can’t force your employees to be genuine. If the customer is pleasant, and it feels right, encourage them to greet, or thank, or whatever, but don’t make them force it, because no one buys it. In the end, there are a lot of things that will always suck about the service world, but letting people act like real humans means less incidents involving disgruntled employees letting loose tigers they set on fire to attack their bosses and asshole customers.

Wait. Okay. I take this all back. Let’s go with the flaming tigers instead.


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