Taking Steps Toward Leadership–customer service

You remember the phrase, “Trust me, I’m a professional?”  If you say this or think this, or do this, you have to follow through.  Are you wearing a uniform?  Are you wearing a badge?  Did you hand them your business card that says what you do and why you can do what you do?  Do you have training, certification, degrees, experience, a network of people that you can call on to help your customer get what he needs?  They DO trust you!

This last few days, my family has been traveling.  We have had some “interesting” experiences with people and institutions.  Some of these incidents made me so mad I couldn’t sleep.  I even railed on Facebook! (Perish the thought!)  These were not impossible circumstances that people were trying to deal with, these were everyday operations.

  1. Get reservations for 3 rooms in a hotel, one with handicap access for a person with a broken hip, and beds for 3, a room for 2 and a room for 1.  Wellllllll, one of the people was unable to come because of some surgery, so I called to cancel the single room.  I called the hotel, and they said I had to go to the service where I made the reservation.  The registration lady gave me the number and I called it.  I told them to cancel 1 room because of medical reason.  They gladly cancelled the room with no penalty!  YAY!  We got to the hotel only to find they had cancelled two rooms!  What was confusing about cancelling 1 room?  “Do you still need 2 rooms.”  (Duh!)  Yes.”Well, you can call the service back and see if they can correct that.  Or we could match their price.”  Match their price!!!!!  “What was the price?”  $89.  “Ok, you’re all set.”  Why would anyone continue to use that service?  Is it cheaper, is it better?  eh…So we get to the hotel, and the handicap room they have is for a hearing impaired person.  No handrails in the bathroom, really low toilet, and double beds rather than queen sized beds make it difficult to do everything.  But if someone wants to let me know he’s at the door, he presses a button and lights go off in the room.  Did they have a handicap room for someone in a wheel chair?  Not with 2 beds…
  2. The years I spent in fast food I picked up a lot of skills and some management experience.  This tends to make me much much less forgiving and patient in situations where I have some expertise.  I worked in a burger joint, so when we pulled into the travel plaza for lunch and saw a Burger King, I figured we’d be in and out in a couple of minutes.  We were in line for 10 min, and when we got to the counter, the front liner just LEFT.  It looked like he went to the back to make the sandwiches himself.  Why was he the only one working?  What were the backliners doing?  And what kind of doofus of a manager would schedule 2 people to cover a lunch rush?  So we left without ordering and went over to Sbarro’s for pizza.  We put in our order, and some idiot with a clip board pulled the manager off the front line leaving NO ONE to handle the orders!  Really?  REALLY????  The cook came up front and got our orders for us, so the wait wasn’t unreasonable, but c’mon…
  3. I also worked at a KFC and knew the in’s and out’s of how things worked.  Once again at a travel plaza, I knew we’d just put in an order and they’d reach behind them and put the chicken in the box.  We three walked up to the counter together, and I put in my order, #5 dark.  That was a 2 piece meal with 2 sides.  I asked if the combo came with a drink, and he said no.  He looked at me and said $8.79.  ??  There are 2 more orders.  Well he accidentally put mine in and hit total, so we’d have to put in 3 separate orders and pay 3 separate times.  No, you just back out of the order, or you call your manager up to fix it.  But then…he was looking at the menu to find out what was in it.  I ordered the #5, he just put in the chicken order and didn’t make it a combo.  The other thing he could have done was open the cash drawer, take the other 2 orders and add them together.  He didn’t.  He didn’t call his manager up to help.  The line is now 8 deep.  The manager didn’t offer to help figure things out.  Then he got the other order in, and once again, didn’t make it into a combo.  My husband got disgusted and went to the gift shop and picked up a pre-wrapped sandwich with no price on it.  We’re all mad.  Why would you put an untrained rookie BY HIMSELF on the front line?

In all of my years I have rarely had this many bad customer service experiences in such a short time. The main problem was the lack of focus on the customers.  When the focus is misplaced, you get a bad taste in your mouth for that company or service.  You cannot put on the face of a professional, no matter what uniform you wear, no matter what company you work for, no matter what position you hold, if you do NOT pay attention to the service aspect, you have failed.

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