AWRIGHT DEN: It does matter
It amazes me that customer service matters so much to a customer, yet many employees in Barbados seem not to care. This pandemic is so engrained in the DNA of many Barbadians that this disease of poor customer service can be found almost everywhere. I do not accept that this is our culture or how Barbadians are. I have never once gone into Carters General Store or Automotive Art and had a bad experience and if they can do it, it means others can as well.
One or two Saturdays during the month, I would go out to buy food for the family. More often than not I would go to a food establishment in the Warrens area, where I do most of my grocery shopping. Every single time I go there, all of the servers, with the exception of one girl, do not display a welcoming or warm atmosphere. No greeting, no smile, no excitement to talk about the menu, no thank you for your business, no “we hope to see you again” and no “we hope you enjoy the meal”.
If you ask them a question concerning the meal, they behave as if you are begging for their service. Imagine you inquire if more of an item on the menu is available and rather than hearing, “Excuse me, let me find out for you”, you are told: “Wuh I aint know but I doubt”. Why should I have to ask you to check?
On more than one occasion, I felt the need to address them about their service but refrained. I was so fed up and sickened by the service that I opted to have something else for lunch from a nearby vendor, but recently, I found another location with excellent service and very healthy food in the same area.
What I am about to share with you, I have experienced at Popular (the two times I have been there), PriceSmart and Warrens Supercentre. Interestingly, I have never experienced it at Cost U Less or Carlton & A1.
The types of discussions between cashiers at the cashier counter, especially when serving a customer, is unacceptable. Honestly, I don’t want to hear who wants your man or which cashier’s weave looks like a bird nest or which supervisor’s clothes has her looking like the Goodyear tyre man . . . . Sometimes it can be quite comical but it is really unprofessional and shouldn’t be practised.
Those who know me know that I love shopping. It doesn’t matter what it is for; I am the shopper and spender in the house, so I enjoy grocery shopping for my family. I also use it as daddy, husband and relaxation time.
I used to do 85 per cent of my shopping at Pricesmart, ten per cent at Cost U Less and five per cent at Supercentre. Over the past six months, I have increased my shopping to 35 to 40 per cent at Cost U Less, and it is growing. The reason for this is customer service, experience, excellent attitude and atmosphere from the staff. They can’t compete with PriceSmart generally on prices, but when it comes to customer service and experience, they are winning me over.
A few weeks ago I was in Nashville, Tennessee. I went into Starbucks and went to the counter and waited for about 45 seconds. A staff member exited the kitchen, saw me and inquired if I was being served; I said no. Immediately another staff member who was supposed to be serving me but didn’t recognise me waiting, profusely apologised for my ‘long’ wait and said as a result, your order will be free; to which I responded “Wow”.
There were other coffee shops on that street that were cheaper than Starbucks and offered excellent product also, but despite Starbucks being more expensive, the customer service, experience, attitude and atmosphere of the staff encouraged me to go back every single morning and night while there. Customer service does matter.
• Corey Worrell is a former Commonwealth Youth Ambassador. Email [email protected]