Toyota in the crosshairs of a class action lawsuit

Skimpflation | Same bill, but less service

No one likes to find out that there are fewer cookies or spaghetti in the box for the same price, which is called a markdown. It is not better to face a decrease in the quality of customer service, while the bill remains unchanged or, worse, increases. a phenomenon called miniflation

Posted at 6:30 am

The term inflation is an acronym that merges the verb sparewhich could be translated as skimping (or scratching, as we say colloquially) and the noun inflation.

Every time we wait longer on the phone, in a store or restaurant to be served, every time our hotel room is not cleaned during our stay, we live inflation. We get less for our money.

Companies use this strategy to control costs and maintain profit margins as their own outlays increase.

At this time, neither the Office québécois de la langue française nor TERMIUM Plus, the Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic database, offer French translations. However, with the rate of inflation and salaries that do not stop rising, the examples multiply.

Of course, labor shortages don’t help companies excel at service. Whether in hardware stores, fast food restaurants, or at the airport, we notice right away. He is missing arms. The same is true in call centers, where it lacks ears. So we stay, we move unnecessarily, they answer nonsense. Either way, it’s pretty frustrating.

The quality of customer service has never been lower than it is now, agrees Jean-Luc Geha, director of the HEC Montreal Sales Institute and professor. And he doesn’t see the day when he could get better.


PHOTO HUGO-SÉBASTIEN AUBERT, LA PRESSE ARCHIVE

Jean-Luc Geha

“At that time it was said that the problem was the federal and provincial government. We could wait hours and hours for them to respond to us for the tax. But it is done that we live it with the companies. »

Marc Gordon is also an expert in customer service. For 25 years, Ontario has lectured on the subject and helped 300 businesses improve. I called him to find out if he is seeing the same degradation in customer service quality that Mr. Geha and I have. His answer, in a nutshell: yes.

This is particularly visible, he finds, in the hotel and restaurant industry.


PHOTO PROVIDED BY MARC GORDON

mark gordon

They don’t have the time or resources to properly train their recruits. Management is too concerned with costs and maintaining sales.

Marc Gordon, Ontario consultant specializing in customer service for 25 years

But the shortcomings are widespread.

Included in the supermarket. According to a survey of the inflation Surveyed by Field Agent Canada among 1,554 consumers in February, 61% noted a decrease in the number of employees and 44% felt customer service had deteriorated. Customers are finding checkout lines longer and shelves less stocked, the magazine reported. canadian grocer.

The desire of companies to avoid the effects of inflation is also felt in the United States.

In the first quarter of 2022, customer satisfaction fell to its lowest level in 17 years, according to the American National Customer Satisfaction Index.

unpleasant examples of inflation it made headlines there as early as 2021. planet money He reported in particular on the dissatisfaction caused by the elimination of the transport service between the parking lots and the Disney theme parks, a journey of almost a mile (1.6 km).

Supply, shortages, inflation and staffing problems caused by the pandemic have changed the culture of companies, observes Marc Gordon. “We went from ‘I want to be successful’ to ‘I want to survive.’ When COVID-19 hit, companies stopped calling him for advice. They had other fish to fry.

But now that everything is reopened, guess what? “Nobody wants to talk about customer service,” says the expert.

The priorities are elsewhere: stress at work, inclusion of visible minorities, work-family balance, mental health, etc. These are important concerns. But interestingly, customer experience has disappeared from the list. “What matters are the employees. »

These employees have also changed, which affects the quality of customer service, adds Jean-Luc Geha. Many want to work fewer hours, stay telecommuted and spend more time with their family. “If everyone goes to a 30-hour week for 4 days, surely in all areas there will be fewer employees and fewer services. »

I repeat myself, but we are not done waiting, being frustrated and disappointed…


#Skimpflation #bill #service

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