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Where Has Customer Service Gone?

May 22, 2013

Usually stores and businesses are happy to have customers, and eager to keep those customers. Larger businesses seem to have lost customer service – and empty promises don’t help sooth issues.

Consider Nutella’s discouraging thousands of fans from *supporting* their product! Thousands of people pay tribute to your product and you say “thanks but no thanks”? Tractor Supply says they value customers, but don’t really want to hear what you have to say on those surveys.

Then there’s glowing warm customer service displayed by Tractor Supply. It’s not the first time, and feel good PR seems to be good but not actually dealing with customers.

So after several issues in person, I went to the Tractor Supply Facebook page and left a message.

What good is the customer service surveys when there’s nothing done about issues brought up? Pricing – there’s a stack of feed at the end of one row that isn’t priced. Hasn’t been priced for over a month. If there’s anyone around to ask they don’t know how much it is. There’s tomato towers up front with no prices – in bundles that are quite large. No idea if it’s by the bundle, by the tower, how much, etc. – I asked last week and the cashier couldn’t get off the phone long enough to answer. This week there’s employees texting on duty, but still no prices on either item, and when I asked the cashier this week (different one) she didn’t know how much either was or when it’d be priced. I suppose that’s why they’re not selling. There’s been issues of the price up was different than the price charged. I’ve backed off buying at TSC because it’s a hassle to get prices. Got tomato cages across the street at Jasper Feed and they were happy to get prices for me – bought several from them. Jasper AL store needs a lot of improvement on customer service. It’s not meeting your stated mission and core values espoused. Even the receipt survey says to go to the website, but there’s no survey on the website to fill out! I call it in, and y’all really don’t want to hear as there’s promises to address it and someone will call – that doesn’t happen either. Poor customer service.

There was a stack of rabbit feed that for over a month was in the same place at the end of a row, no price, no one who could tell me a price. It’s still sitting there.The box of tomato towers are also in the same place, still not priced – since the 14th when brought to their attention on Facebook. Tractor Supply doesn’t have the ability within six weeks to have any of the employees label these items? Are they too busy on their cell phones?

The powers that be addressed me promptly – “we’ll have someone contact you soon” which is code for “we’ll say whatever we need to and hope you’ll shut up.”  Maybe they haven’t gotten done texting and talking to others on the phone yet.

So this last weekend I go in again – yep still no prices. I bought a pair of boots for Scoutman – and when leaving the alarm went off. THREE PEOPLE waved me on…I got out to the car and thought it wasn’t right. Sure enough – ink tag on the boots. Try to break that and it damages the product, then no warranty as it’s suspected stolen. Nice isn’t it? I went back in and had it removed.

Now I know they don’t care about me. They don’t care about breeders who object to being deemed irresponsible (except when buying feed!). The mission statement and “ethics” seems to apply only when Tractor Supply is favored. Treat others with the same consideration we expect for ourselves – it seems that isn’t very high, based on repeated performance. Live up to commitments sounds good – but telling someone they’d get a call “shortly” and weeks later no call and no resolution says otherwise. This is legendary service? I don’t think so, but perhaps I’m picky. Too many businesses seem to think customers don’t matter – and here’s to hoping small businesses will take up the challenge to take those customers. This works well for Jasper Feed when they’re open.

I think over a month to price stock is unreasonable. I think telling a customer that someone would call then no one following up tells loud and clear “shut up and go away.” Is that what’s wanted? If there’s a focus on subsisting off the urban market, fine – don’t represent as being a farm/ranch friendly option.  Are their investors happy with this representation? I’d say it’s just this store, but comments on the Tractor Supply Facebook page show it’s not. Maybe it doesn’t matter as long as sales roll in.

But maybe I just think our customers deserve better, so expect better from bigger companies with more people available. Like prices easily seen at Tractor Supply. Clerks who actually listen to customers. Stores where customers matter. The feed store across the street is happy to take up the slack.

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