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Customer Service Anyone?

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

After interacting with employees at a grocery store, restaurant, online websites, and various medical providers, my takeaway is that their service could be a little more customer-centric. I've included some recent experiences of these entities not always living up to good customer service.


I wanted to make an online reservation at the Cheese Cake Factory in Lincolnshire, Illinois. I checked the available times, but you can only make an online reservation if you create an account. I have over 100 online accounts and, ideally, will not create another account to make a reservation. But if you're unwilling to create an account, you must call the restaurant to get a reservation, which I did. Before speaking with anyone, the recording said I only needed to do it online to make a reservation. Not deterred, I talked to an actual person and asked her if I could make a reservation. She apologized and said the only way I can is to do it online. I still wasn't ready to create another account. Fortunately, our lunch was tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday, and we didn't need one because it was not a busy time.


I was recently in Minneapolis for several days and stayed in a comfortable and modern hotel in the downtown area. However, you must use an iPad to control the lights and television. This process is also applied to controlling the blinds and booking housekeeping. It took me a while to get accustomed to this technology for the first day or two. If I had stayed one night, getting accustomed to things would have been much more challenging. I appreciate modern technology and efficiency, but not at the expense of customer service. Especially if travel to a hotel was challenging and exhausting. Sometimes, after a long day meeting with clients or attending meetings, you want things in your hotel room to be easy to control.


Another company purchased my dermatology provider. In a short time, I started to receive emails from them about reviewing my status. I never asked to be "spammed" by them, so I want to unsubscribe from these emails. I learned that I must create an account before unsubscribing; this is ridiculous. Another business wanted me to create an account, but in this example, it would only be made to stop receiving emails from them. Because this company is new, I'm still trying to figure out what to think about them, although this first impression could be better. A few months later, I visited my dermatologist and asked them to remove me from the list. They obliged, which made me happy.

Treat customers with respect


I've read recently that some grocery store self-checkout units will randomly ask you for a tip. Even though you've done the shopping, scanned your groceries, and loaded your cart by yourself, the checkout unit may badger you for a tip anyway. According to the article, the reason is that by tipping the machine, you're benefitting store staff. Where I shop, it's hard to find store personnel besides at the deli, bakery, pharmacy, and checkout areas, so I'm still determining who I'd be tipping. If the store employee supervising the area has helped me or made a big difference, I'll tip directly to them. Otherwise, I don't know where that money will end up.


I received a check from Medicare a few days ago and wasn't sure why the check was sent to me. Typically, Medicare pays part of the medical bill once the deductible has been met. I then logged on to for an answer and couldn't find one. My only option on my Sunday evening was to chat with someone to get my question answered. No telephone numbers appeared on their website. I added my telephone number and full name to the chat window. Allen, the Medicare representative, appeared. I proceeded to tell him my situation, and he asked for the date of that claim. I provided the date and actual claim number. He then said it would take a few minutes to understand the situation. After about five minutes, he said he'd be unable to help me as the claim system was down for the weekend. I'm still trying to figure out why it was down, but what can I do? I'm also wondering why it took him so long to come to this conclusion. With all the information he collected, he waited about five minutes before giving me that update. Is it always down for the weekend or just this weekend? Was this his first chat with someone who had a question about a claim? Was he being truthful?

Treat customers with respect


I received a bill from my homeowner's insurance due in August. Because it was late June, I decided to pay it early, so I logged on to their site and paid the bill using my account information.

Unfortunately, a few days later, I received an email saying there was a problem with executing the transaction. The code in the email stated 'No Account R03' which was cryptic. I decided to log on to their site to see what this code meant. Unfortunately, there were no codes listed to help me diagnose the issue. I emailed them, trying to understand why this wasn't paid online. Providers know an effective website presence provides much efficiency, but that efficiency depends on how thorough and effective it's executed. A day later, I received a reply email saying that I needed to call the office to get my question answered, so I obliged. The company's representative explained the situation (perhaps a wrong routing number), giving me a better idea of the issue. Before finishing, I asked the representative if there's a location on the website that explains codes, and she said no -- you need to call to clarify that. Customer service anyone? I then asked if it might be a good idea to have that on the website to reduce the number of calls to the company, and there was complete silence from the other end. It appears she hadn't ever considered that possibility.

Regarding a potential survey about how well the online website is designed, I'd be fine with providing them with my experience. However, one wasn't sent to me. One other thought about surveys, I often wonder, after completing a survey, where the data ends up. How often is the critique of a given website given to the correct department to effect the change?


I went to the bank with a $100 bill and wanted to receive smaller bills. However, it's not my bank, and the teller refused to exchange the money. She said their policy is not to serve any non-customers in any capacity. I'm wondering why certain banks have this policy. Is this a security issue with potential fraud or an accounting situation to help tellers balance their registers at the end of the shift? I was quite surprised to hear this. However, I understand, so I'm inclined to say I have no animosity toward this particular bank.

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