Please choose from the following menu options…

There used to be a time when menu options were fun. That’s because the only place you’d find them was where you’d expect them to be: restaurants. Endless varieties of appetizers, entrées and desserts tantalized your senses as you read the menu, allowing you to make an informed choice about what would fill your stomach that night.

These days, say the phrase “menu options” to the average consumer and they’re likely to cringe. That’s because menu options stir up nightmares of automated voice response systems – common roadblocks for customers trying to reach people by phone.

A recent survey shows that Americans are frustrated with automated response systems. The survey found that 64 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with customer service. 64 percent! Their primary complaints? They aren’t able to get a person on the phone and they too often deal with rude salespeople.

You don’t have to be Einstein to understand that 64 percent constitutes a majority. And when the majority of consumers are dissatisfied with customer service, there’s something fundamentally wrong with how businesses are treating their most valuable assets.

Unfortunately, the businesses chastised in the survey for having poor customer service have a difficult task ahead of them if they want to improve. Exceptional customer service isn’t just a department or a job – it’s an attitude that must permeate throughout a business. From the top to the bottom, creating a pleasant customer experience is a responsibility that must be shared by every employee in every department.

The simple truth is that you’re more likely to find high-quality customer service in your local community. Most local and independent businesses succeed because the customer comes first. Local businesses don’t build blockades against customers, they build relationships with them. Quite simply, life and work are more enjoyable when they’re filled with positive relationships, and you can’t develop a positive relationship with an automated response system.

So, the next time menu options frustrate you, don’t get angry. There’s another solution that’s long-term and less stressful: shop local. You’re less likely to get fed up.

“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Damon Richards

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