Give me good service and I'm yours for life

Good customer service. Is that a lost art or what? Remember when the customer was always right? How many businesses today make you feel special? When you find one, you never forget. At least I don't. You give me good service, I'm yours for life.

I'm to the point now that I'll settle for decent customer service. Too many businesses fail to provide even that level of courtesy. Most businesses no longer train employees to be pleasant and helpful, so the result is not surprising. It's like you're doing them a favor by spending your hard-earned dollars in their store.

Rudeness is No. 1 when it comes to bad customer service. Many times, it's not even blatant. When shopping recently at a store here in town, on Valentine's Day no less, the clerk never said a word to me as she punched up my purchase, took my money and bagged my items. I stood looking at her, waiting for a simple, "Have a nice day" or "Thank you." Instead, she looked past me to the next person in line and reached out to grab their items, never saying a word. Maybe she was computerized, I'm not sure. She looked like a real person.

Nothing irritates me more than being helped and the phone rings and the employee picks up the phone and begins helping them, WHILE I WAIT! Hey! I came down to your store. All they did was pick up the dang phone and hit a few numbers. Shouldn't I receive preference? Is it too much to tell the person to hold on a minute while you continue to meet my needs first? It's like they got a free Go to the Head of the Line card or something. I should walk out right there, but I don't like being rude and I don't like making a scene. That might change because my dad does it all the time when people are rude to him. I hope to develop that trait myself soon.

But I probably won't. Like most others, I'm insane, in that I do the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. For example, there's a restaurant here in town that I've visited exactly four times. Their prices are too high, but I love steak, and sometimes my stomach gets the better of me. The first time I went, we waited to be seated a long time even though the restaurant was empty. It was like 8 p.m. on a Friday night so that should have clued me in.

Once seated, the waitress finally stopped by like 20 minutes later. It took nearly an hour for us to get our food, and of course, she never came back to see how we were doing. I finally had to grab someone passing by to get the check. I then discovered that they didn't take personal checks, so I had to scrounge for money to pay for the meal. I swore to never return.

Six months later, I returned. This time, our waitress walked out. My family and I heard some yelling in the kitchen, and then the manager came by and apologized. He proceeded to give us crappy service the rest of the evening, the salad bar was atrocious, and, once again, the prices were way too high. I promised my family that we would never eat there again. That lasted a year. The third time was pretty much as bad as the first two, and they had raised their prices again. The fourth time wasn't too bad, but the service was certainly not at the level one gets at say, another area restaurant. My stomach and I have since come to an understanding. When he requires steak, I'm allowed to drive further on to a restaurant that truly wants me to be there.

Like I said earlier, I no longer expect great customer service. Just be polite and look like you're happy when I decide to give you my money. A smile and a "thank you" go a long way with me. There are a handful of places in and around Kingman that give exemplary service to their customers, and I return frequently, even if their prices are higher than other places. And when people inquire, I'm more than happy to tell them where to go. Unfortunately, there are several places here that treat their customers like sewage. Some are, surprisingly, out of business. I wonder why.

It's the Miner's policy to not print letters about bad customer service because the business in question can't respond immediately, and it could be the customer who was at fault, so it isn't fair. I have a new policy. If we get three verified letters on a particular business about bad customer service from three separate individuals, we will take those letters down to that business and give them one week to send a response. Their response will accompany the letters in the paper. If they don't respond, the letters will go in without a response.

As for letters on good customer service, we will always print those. Businesses deserve to be praised in public when they go the extra mile to meet their customers' needs.

We could all use more of that.