This Is a New Word for You: Skimpflation

"Is mediocrity the new customer experience?" a buddy recently questioned. He noted that when he phoned customer service, he had to wait longer and that there weren't enough cashiers at the grocery store.

"You are a victim of skimpflation," I remarked.

The term "skimpflation" was just coined by NPR's Planet Money show. I've previously published a few pieces on this obnoxious term, and I figured it was past time to introduce it here.

Skimpflation is the outcome of growing company expenses and a labor scarcity created by what we've dubbed "The Great Resignation," in which workers choose to leave their employment in pursuit of a better opportunity. As a consequence, businesses are obliged to "cut corners" on the quality and service that consumers have grown to expect. It's not that they don't want to. They do not have an option.

I recently went to a hotel for breakfast. Despite the fact that there was a queue, there were many free tables. I inquired as to why we were unable to be seated.

He apologized and said that they were unable to adequately staff the eating area. Rather than providing a horrible customer service experience, they decided to close down a section of the restaurant. If I was prepared to wait 10 minutes, he promised I would be seated.

It was the ideal justification.

There are three lessons to be learned here:


The response was straightforward. Customers like sincerity. It establishes trust, credibility, and, in certain instances, empathy.

I was given information on what to anticipate. When the manager told it would take 10 minutes, I thought it was a decent amount of time to wait. Customers like receiving information.

It provides them the impression that they are in command of the situation. The management, by the way, kept his promise. We were seated in less than eight minutes.

Customer service

It was more vital to provide excellent customer service than to serve more customers. The decision was taken by the management.

To retain the excellent level they were renowned for, either open up all the tables and get complaints about the service or block off a section of the restaurant. Customer service triumphed. It's what they're renowned for, as previously said.

Because they intended to fill every seat in the restaurant, there was no reason to tarnish their image.

We don't want to be kept waiting

We don't want to be subjected to subpar service. Unfortunately, this is typical of what many companies are experiencing as a consequence of skimpflation.

It's not something any business wants, but for some, it's become a reality. So, think about what we learnt in the restaurant. When there is openness, a flow of information, and an attempt to provide an exceptional customer service experience, customers will overlook minor faults.

Thanks to Shep Hyken at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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