Bad customer service in Valley: Can I get a little help here?

The ABC15 Investigators are tackling one of the Valleys' biggest pet peeves – bad customer service.

We hear it all the time -- "It's horrible customer service", "One hand doesn't know what the other is doing", and "I will never step foot in that store again!"

WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE

You would think that with all the ways customers can complain about a business these days, customer service would be better.

Customers post bad customer experiences on blogs, various complaint websites, Facebook, and now some are making videos for YouTube.

One man tried calling a store to order a part. He lived about an hour away from the store so he wanted to make sure they had it in stock.

He called for two days. No one answered the phone. He got so frustrated, he recorded his next call. While the phone was ringing, he drove to the store.

Fifty-four minutes later he arrived at the store and confronted them as to why they haven't picked up the phone.

He posted his experience on YouTube for everyone to see.

According to Consumer Reports, 71 percent of shoppers were extremely irritated when they couldn't reach a human on the phone.

OUR UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION

The ABC15 Investigators went undercover shopping at nearly two dozen stores throughout the Valley.

We brought customer service expert Galen Collins, who has 30 years of experience, along to watch.

It's such a hot topic, he even teaches classes on it at Northern Arizona University.

Every year, the American Customer Satisfaction Index conducts research on the largest retailers within an industry.

The research is done by phone throughout the United States. The overall score includes quality, loyalty, expectations, customer satisfaction and promises made in advertising.

We started with the stores that scored lowest on the most recent survey.

WALMART

Our first stop was Walmart in Phoenix.

The National Retail Federation lists Walmart as first in retail sales, but, the Customer Satisfaction Index ranked it lowest for both grocery and department stores.

Our undercover producer went in and asked for help to purchase a calculator. There were no more on the shelf. An employee said she would go and get help.

The producer waited 20 minutes for the employee to come back or for someone to return to help her.

No one ever showed up.

Our producer could see the employee who was supposed to be helping her in a nearby department.

So, the producer walked up to the employee and said, "I've been waiting for 20 minutes. Did you get someone to help me?" The employee replied, "Oh, I can help you now."

It took a total of 48 minutes to get the one item we wanted.

"Unacceptable!" said Collins. "There is no standard for 48 minutes for the time to purchase an item and come out."

According to Consumer Reports, two out of three customers have walked out of a store because of poor customer service.

Collins told us there are three basics to good customer service:

-Acknowledging the customer quickly

-Attentively listening

-Taking action

Our Walmart employee did none of those things.

"Absolutely not responsive, she didn't show a sense of urgency. In fact, she was disrespectful."

We asked Walmart about it.

They responded:

We're focused to provide our customers a pleasant shopping experience and we apologize if that did not happen in this case.

"If you ask most customers, they would say they've had some negative experiences. And unfortunately, that registers in the brain more and a lot deeper and has a much longer memory," said Collins.

GAP

Our next stop was Gap at Paradise Valley Mall. The retailer also scored low on the satisfaction survey.

We were in the store for 16 minutes. There were at least three clerks that we could see. No one asked us if our producer needed any help.

Gap also issued a response to us, saying:

Our store associates are trained to be sensitive to the unique needs and shopping preferences our customers have, and often tailor their approaches as needed...

MACY'S

Macy's scored lower on the satisfaction survey too. So, we shopped at the Macy's store at Fiesta Mall in Mesa.

Three sales people were chatting while our producer waited at the jewelry counter for five minutes. She had to walk over to them to ask for help and there were no other customers nearby.

Macy's wrote in their response that they will make changes based on our test:

We have significantly accelerated our training for store associates over the past 18 months. We will use your feedback to redouble our selling service efforts.

Our expert told us that when a company treats employees well, their employees will treat the customers well.

"Happy employees make happy customers," said Collins.

And happy customers spend more and return more often.

"When you have higher customer

The ABC15 Investigators are tackling one of the Valleys' biggest pet peeves – bad customer service.

We hear it all the time -- "It's horrible customer service", "One hand doesn't know what the other is doing", and "I will never step foot in that store again!"

WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE

You would think that with all the ways customers can complain about a business these days, customer service would be better.

Customers post bad customer experiences on blogs, various complaint websites, Facebook, and now some are making videos for YouTube.

One man tried calling a store to order a part. He lived about an hour away from the store so he wanted to make sure they had it in stock.

He called for two days. No one answered the phone. He got so frustrated, he recorded his next call. While the phone was ringing, he drove to the store.

Fifty-four minutes later he arrived at the store and confronted them as to why they haven't picked up the phone.

He posted his experience on YouTube for everyone to see.

According to Consumer Reports, 71 percent of shoppers were extremely irritated when they couldn't reach a human on the phone.

OUR UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION

The ABC15 Investigators went undercover shopping at nearly two dozen stores throughout the Valley.

We brought customer service expert Galen Collins, who has 30 years of experience, along to watch.

It's such a hot topic, he even teaches classes on it at Northern Arizona University.

Every year, the American Customer Satisfaction Index conducts research on the largest retailers within an industry.

The research is done by phone throughout the United States. The overall score includes quality, loyalty, expectations, customer satisfaction and promises made in advertising.

We started with the stores that scored lowest on the most recent survey.

WALMART

Our first stop was Walmart in Phoenix.

The National Retail Federation lists Walmart as first in retail sales, but, the Customer Satisfaction Index ranked it lowest for both grocery and department stores.

Our undercover producer went in and asked for help to purchase a calculator. There were no more on the shelf. An employee said she would go and get help.

The producer waited 20 minutes for the employee to come back or for someone to return to help her.

No one ever showed up.

Our producer could see the employee who was supposed to be helping her in a nearby department.

So, the producer walked up to the employee and said, "I've been waiting for 20 minutes. Did you get someone to help me?" The employee replied, "Oh, I can help you now."

It took a total of 48 minutes to get the one item we wanted.

"Unacceptable!" said Collins. "There is no standard for 48 minutes for the time to purchase an item and come out."

According to Consumer Reports, two out of three customers have walked out of a store because of poor customer service.

Collins told us there are three basics to good customer service:

-Acknowledging the customer quickly

-Attentively listening

-Taking action

Our Walmart employee did none of those things.

"Absolutely not responsive, she didn't show a sense of urgency. In fact, she was disrespectful."

We asked Walmart about it.

They responded:

We're focused to provide our customers a pleasant shopping experience and we apologize if that did not happen in this case.

"If you ask most customers, they would say they've had some negative experiences. And unfortunately, that registers in the brain more and a lot deeper and has a much longer memory," said Collins.

GAP

Our next stop was Gap at Paradise Valley Mall. The retailer also scored low on the satisfaction survey.

We were in the store for 16 minutes. There were at least three clerks that we could see. No one asked us if our producer needed any help.

Gap also issued a response to us, saying:

Our store associates are trained to be sensitive to the unique needs and shopping preferences our customers have, and often tailor their approaches as needed...

MACY'S

Macy's scored lower on the satisfaction survey too. So, we shopped at the Macy's store at Fiesta Mall in Mesa.

Three sales people were chatting while our producer waited at the jewelry counter for five minutes. She had to walk over to them to ask for help and there were no other customers nearby.

Macy's wrote in their response that they will make changes based on our test:

We have significantly accelerated our training for store associates over the past 18 months. We will use your feedback to redouble our selling service efforts.

Our expert told us that when a company treats employees well, their employees will treat the customers well.

"Happy employees make happy customers," said Collins.

And happy customers spend more and return more often.

"When you have higher customer

WALMART

We will continue to work to meet the expectations of our customers by offering them low prices on everything in our stores, while providing the broadest assortment.

We're focused to provide our customers a pleasant shopping experience and we apologize if that did not happen in this case.

 

GAP

At Gap Inc., we have a strong commitment to providing the best possible customer service and shopping experiences for our customers – whether in store, or online. Our store associates represent our brands in every possible way – this is why we focus a lot of our training curriculum on customer service, and helping associates identify different characteristics of the diverse shoppers that come into our stores.

We know that customers today do a lot of pre-shopping on ecommerce sites and often walk into stores either already having been inspired by outfits they've seen online, or have specific product and promotions they're looking for. As a result, our store associates are trained to be sensitive to the unique needs and shopping preferences our customers have, and often tailor their approaches as needed, to fit the customer. It's these sorts tailored approaches that allow our store associates to provide the best possible customer shopping experiences possible.  

 

MACY'S

We were disappointed to hear about Channel 15's experience in our store. At Macy's, we strive to engage every customer in order to provide the very best shopping experience. In fact, we have significantly accelerated our training for store associates over the past 18 months. We will use your feedback to redouble our selling service efforts at the Fiesta Mall Store. We always welcome customer feedback and communicate it to our stores so we can improve our service and shopping environment.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments