Is customer service dead?

Mediocre customer service seems to be the new standard by which businesses mark themselves. Success is not whether a customer leaves happy, but whether they return, and this has caused a significant drop in the old idea of customer loyalty. Now customers seem to be loyal to the lowest price, not their favourite store.

This trend came to my attention a few weeks ago, although not in the way you might expect. I was due to buy a new pair of eyeglasses. My old frames had done their dash, but my usual optometrist didn’t have anything I liked. I kept putting it off, but finally the world became so blurry that I had no other option. So I set aside a day to comb the city for the perfect frames and set out, albeit a little reluctantly.

I ended up in a little boutique optometrist’s store by the name of Occhio. It had a good range, from the very reasonably priced right up to quirky designer frames. Thomas and Ross were friendly, I fell in love with a frame and easy as that I was all set to pick them up the following week.

It was only as I was walking down the road away from the store that I realised how relieved I felt. Glasses sit right in the middle of your face – they are often the first thing people see and they certainly aren’t cheap enough to change very often. I had been nervous about making such a big decision, but somehow Thomas and Ross made it seem easy. Before finding Occhio, I had visited a number of other optometrists and had largely been ignored, so experiencing good customer service was a real treat.

Good customer service should not be an endangered species. It should not surprise and delight as only the unexpected can. Why then do so few stores and so few people remember this dying art?

Unfortunately not all stores have a Thomas or a Ross. But, if you happen to live in Melbourne and are interested in a stylish new set of specs, I can personally recommend Occhio, store 6, 242 Exhibition Street in the city. If not, I hope that you too have managed to find one of these rare stores which sends you home smiling. 

What do you think? Is customer service dead? Have you had an especially good experience? Or maybe you have experienced awful customer service firsthand. Share your story in the comments below.


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