There's nothing like walking into your local grocery store and seeing familiar faces. A pleasant greeting, a mention of the weather, a "do you need a hand finding something?" are all welcomed interactions.

But when you walk into some of the larger stores, sometimes the "associates" are hard to find and, when you do find one, are not the most helpful individuals you've ever encountered. (Honestly - sometimes they are the least helpful individuals you've ever encountered.)

Why is it that local establishments seem to have better customer service than larger/national chains?

I would wager that it has something to do with having the owners on-site. When an owner of an establishment shows his or her face each and every day, it is my experience that employees are more dedicated and feel more secure in their positions.

Wonderlane via
Wonderlane via

When the owners are from out-of-town or out-of-state or out-of-the-flippin'-country, it is my experience that my experience in that establishment will be less than stellar.

Of course, this isn't 100% of the time. Sometimes it's comforting to know that when you walk into a national/corporate establishment, you usually know exactly what you are going to get. It appears that a burger at a burger chain is almost the same regardless of which state you are in.

With all of that being said, it appears that customer service options at some establishments have been changing over the past few years.

icons8 via
icons8 via

It appears that some of the national brands are pushing people to migrate to using their online customer service options instead of speaking with an individual (either face-to-face or telephonetically - wait: did I just make up a word? Over the phone is what I mean).

For instance, Frontier Airlines recently announced that it is discontinuing its customer service telephone option.

When you call the line now, you receive an automated message that starts with language options, then directs you to their website, mobile app, and cellular chat feature.

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Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images

In response to questions from NPR, a spokesperson for the airline said that customers will now be able to get the information they are requesting faster and more efficiently.

I'm not in the "Old Fogey" club yet, but I have to admit that my nieces and nephews seem to be able to navigate an automated phone system better than I can, so Frontier Airlines might be on to something. Let's face it - people like me won't be around much longer, and those born in the digital world are who they will be serving, exclusively, before too long.

The airline also said, according to KLFY, that they are responding to the needs/wants of customers, saying that more customers want to be able to contact them digitally.

Frontier Airlines Files For Bankruptcy Protection But Continues Servic
Getty Images

I must admit, I do get tired of waiting for "the next available representative".

The airline says that customers are now served 2 to 3 times faster using its digital customer service options than when they used the telephone option.

While I do like to hear the voice of a customer service representative, I understand these changes and, actually, won't be surprised if other businesses follow suit.

Except for my local grocery store - I'm pretty certain I'll always be able to get someone on the phone to help me.

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