The good old days of customer service

Remember a time when customer service was part of what you were paying for? Photo: AP

MISSOURI, June 5, 2013 — Customer Service is a thing about the past.

In the good old days when you got a haircut, the barber or shoe shine boy brushed the hair off before you left the shop.

It was automatic to get your car windows cleaned when you got gas. Today it is hard to find a full service gas station, and the window cleaning is not automatic.

Going to the movies, you were escorted down the aisle by a uniformed usher with a flashlight, not to disturb the people who were watching the movie, but to help you find a seat.

Once there, the usher said, “Excuse us” and other patrons would stand to allow you to pass by. All parties did all this in a polite and cordial manner.

It was automatic to open the car doors to let the ladies into the car. If a man was sitting and a lady got onto the bus or streetcar, a gentleman stood to allow the lady to sit down.

Old people were always helped on and off public transportation, helped with their packages. As a rule, all ladies were helped to their car if they had more grocery bags than  ey could carry. They were not asked if they needed help; it was automatic.

Today, customer service is basically non-existent. At the movies you consider yourself lucky if you can sit through a movie without disruptions from other people talking, or texting!

Getting customer service at a service station is gone. No longer is the oil or tire pressure checked.

Now let’s take the big department stores. It is a real challenge to find someone in any department to give you customer service. It’s amazing that these stores still are open for business but on the other hand, people have been programmed not to expect customer service. 

Customers of the past may not have had all the technology, the new widgets, or all the highly skilled trained work force that we have today but the one thing that they had was customer service.

Another point to be made is most stores were closed on Sunday—food for thought.

The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that there are no results inside its walls. The result of a business is a satisfied customer.

-Peter Drucker

However, that’s from a time and place I am from-


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Charles Vandegriff, Sr.

Charles is a fifty-four-year career in technology retiring at the directors level from three major corporations. Followed by three-plus years as a free-lance columnist, published three books, over three hundred speeches to senior organizations, radio interviews, one television commercial and finally married for sixty-five years, four children, seven grandchildren and thirteen great grand children. 

Charles is also a Navy veteran.

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