The paradox of slack periods and lousy customer service

This is something that I learnt at my first job, which had me managing Food and Beverage outlets at the Taj. That service failures would be common during 'slack' periods at the restaurant. And its true. Not just for restaurants, but for any retail outlet.

Yesterday saw us 'traipsing' off to Big Bazaar for our grocery purchases. We chose a Monday 'cos we knew that it would be less crowded. Plus it rained here in Bangalore. And it was. Yet the downside was not having anyone respond to us, when we had a query. That's 'cos the floor staff just weren't alert to buyer needs. It was obvious why. 'Cos there weren't too many customers in. Ditto for our visit to a Bata Shoe outlet. No response from the store staff to the extent that we left.

Retailers must dread slack periods more than the busy ones. Not just in terms of lower revenues, but also for slack in customer service. What makes this even more dangerous is the fact the buyer is less forgiving when the store isn't busy as compared to when it is. Buyers remember how they were treated during such times and may even choose to stay away from the store itself.

Comments

Deepali Chandra said…
Hi Prof,
I think you have put the concept of lousy customer service very well. Few days back I also experienced the same thing with 'ICICI bank' and 'Brand Factory'. A friend of mine wanted to close account with ICICI bank and the whole process took more than an hour where as its just 10 minutes work including all the formalities; and ridiculous reason was lunch time out of 6 counters only one was open…!! Same I had experienced at Brand factory it was afternoon time, whole intention was to avoid crowd; but all in vain... when half an hour wait at billing counter. Queue wasn’t very long but was moving too slow when I proceeded ahead I saw just 2 counters operating out of 5-6. And two guys were handling those two counters, with least possible efficiency; leisurely scanning the clothes for billing and drowsily folding the clothes and putting in carry bags…. I just felt why they are working if they can not work in afternoon’s…! In China all the IT companies provides 2 hours break for sleeping to all of their employees post-lunch, guess we are also leading towards the same.
Prof.Ray Titus said…
I guess the ICICIs and the Brand Factories of the world need to care more...'bout us... :)

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