I Guess They Didn’t Get the Memo or Did They?

My 17 year old thinks I’m a bit over the top when I’m evaluating customer service and he’s probably right. However in these two situations I’m about to describe you tell me if my perspective is in line or out of whack.

The first was my last visit to my favorite (not really) most convenient (that’s more like it) big box office supply store. Their service is usually middle of the road and every once in a while they exceed my expectations which are pretty low for this type of retail chain.

I’m in a hurry looking for a refill cartridge for my favorite pen. Can you say “needle in a haystack”? Unfortunately there is nobody in sight to help me in my quest to cross this little errand off my list. Suddenly an associate appears. She is moving faster than a speeding bullet so I kind of figure she is in the middle of something. Her eyes were fixed in a steely stare not directed towards me. As she zipped by I politely said, “Excuse me. It looks like you are in the middle of something but I was wondering if you could help me when you are through”. Are you ready for her response? “Well, I’m actually on my way to lunch. What is it that you need?”

As difficult as it is to talk while biting your tongue I managed to eek out these words, “Well I’m looking for a cartridge for my favorite pen”. My hungry helper points to the far corner of the store and says, “Head that way and Madison should be able to help you!” I turned back to say thanks (for nothing – I guess that’s just a conditioned response), and she was already on her way out the door.

Fortunately Madison was ready, willing and helpful so the experience wasn’t a total train wreck. I don’t know what this company’s vision is for customer service. It would probably be safe to say it’s not “Hamburger First”. Or “If you are on your way to lunch dodge the customer”. It’s probably something like “100% Customer Satisfaction” or “Customers Are Our #1 Priority” or some other profound statement that is plastered all over the corporate office walls. Not sure this behavior is what the CEO had in mind.

My next example may not be quite as offensive however it’s at least a customer service misdemeanor. My favorite cell phone provider or should I say the one to which I am contractually obligated, was the perpetrator. For the record, this is the second time this happened with the same employee.

Recently my cell phone stopped working so I got roped into purchasing a new one. It’s basically the same model which doesn’t mean much because I barely knew how to operate the old one. In any event I had to go in to ask a few questions on standard operation procedures.

I usually won’t enter the store until I case the joint – that’s police talk I learned from watching CSI… Seriously what I do is walk back and forth in front of the store to see if my service hero is working (that’s for another blog) and if she isn’t I don’t go in. If she is working I go in and ask for her by name. I don’t care if I have to wait 20 minutes. Dealing with her is well worth it.

Because my level of frustration with my new phone is becoming intolerable, even though my hero is not there, I bull my neck, take a deep breath swing the glass door open and head on in. Lo and behold the female employee who had gouged me, uh I mean helped me with my new “upgraded” Blackberry approaches me and asks the proverbial stupid question “May I help you?”. Doing everything I can to swallow a sarcastic response I explain my issue and she pushes a couple of buttons and presto change-o I’m good to go.

As I depart she thanks me for coming in then the ”nails on the chalkboard” request: “Oh by the way, if you happen to get a survey in the mail asking questions about your service today I hope you will give me all 5’s saying you approved of the service I provided. Have a nice day!”

Are you kidding me? Is it me or is that inappropriate? In my mind her request is just short of a bribe. What’s next? “Hey I’ll give you 5 bucks if you give me all fives!” If our little service angel put as much energy into engaging the customer as she did lobbying for a good score on the survey those scores would probably take care of themselves. This brings up an interesting question.

What’s causing this behavior?

a) Is it some sort of ill-conceived incentive contest?

b) Does she get 40 lashes with a wet noodle if she gets a lousy score?

c) Is it because she doesn’t know any better?

d) Or maybe it’s all of the above

If the answer is a, b, c, or d then I have to ask this follow up question – “Is it her fault?” Or is the company negligent? I’m going to go out on a limb and say it’s the latter. At the end of the day the behavior happened – twice! Am I crazy or would this lobbying for high survey scores bother you as well? I can almost guarantee I can go in there in a week or two, interact with the same gal and she will adhere to the same script. When she does I’m flat out going to ask her – “Why do you do that? What causes you to want to lobby for high service scores? Wouldn’t it be better just to focus on providing wonderful service (like at least recognizing the fact that she’d just waited on me no more than 5 days ago)?

If you are saying this would never happen in your organization, you may want to think again. Stay tuned because now I’m all lathered up. I have to find out the answer to my multiple choice question regarding this bizarre behavior. To be continued…

Views: 16

Tags: bill, campion, company, culture, customer, office, revolution, satisfaction, service, store, More…supply, talent

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh


Non-Operator
Comment by Bill Campion on September 2, 2010 at 5:29am
Rod thank you for the comment. I'm just really convinced that managers aren't taking the time with their employees to explain how important it is to make a genuine connection with the customer. The way to get all 5's is not to ask for them it's to engage me and make me feel special. I hope you have an extraordinary day Rod and again thanks for commenting. BC

Non-Operator
Comment by Rod Guinn on September 1, 2010 at 6:03am
Agree with Andy -- it's a or b -- most (not all) humans of a certain seasoning have learned not to ask for such feedback in public unless they're instructed -- the question is, is s/he more concerned about potential negative outcome (if there's no, or a poor, survey response) or prizes (for all 5s) -- either way the employer/manager has taken the easy way out rather than instilling a service environment.

Non-Operator
Comment by Bill Campion on August 30, 2010 at 10:56am
Patrick thanks for the comment. You are so right about "wrong on so many levels". I know this particular employee has been there for a while. It's like what's worse than an employee quiting on you? An employee who quits and keeps working for you. Will you write the forward for my book "Hamburger First"? As for you Mr. Sullivan consider it done. You are the co-author! I just hope you can write better than you can dance - it won't take much, that's for sure!

Operator
Comment by Ty Sullivan on August 30, 2010 at 8:30am
I'm with Ptrick on the "Hamburger First" title! Can I co-author it with you? Can I huh? Can I?

Non-Operator
Comment by Patrick Maguire on August 29, 2010 at 2:01pm
The "Hamburger First" comment is priceless. Perhaps a great name for a book.

I feel like I was in your shoes when you were telling both stories. Both behaviors are so wrong on so many levels.

Non-Operator
Comment by Bill Campion on August 29, 2010 at 10:29am
Andy - my thoughts exactly. I hear ya "been there". Can you say CSI? I guess the worst part is it is such a turnoff to the customer. The challenge continues to be how do you get the front line people (the brand ambassadors) to embrace the vision? The two examples I cited here are not backwoods organizations. Thanks for the comment my man. We must connect soon. Hey I Susan and I will be cruising through Columbus on Friday Sept 17th, wondering if you and Janie might be available for lunch? Just a thought...
Comment by Andy Swingley on August 28, 2010 at 7:14am
It's definitely a and b.....it isn't c because deep down she doesn't like asking because she knows she is too busy to get a 5...if she doesn't beg...it won't happen and then you are back to a and b....

Been there....

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

PepsiCo exec Lisa Walsh shares path to leadership

Industry leader Lisa Walsh, vice president of PepsiCo Customer Management, has risen through the ranks at the company since j -More

Checkers, Philly Pretzel Factory seize opportunity at Wal-Mart

Checkers and Philly Pretzel Factory are hoping to benefit from Wal-Mart's popularity by embracing new franchise development o -More

Quickserve eateries entice customers with local and sustainable angle

Locally-sourced, conscientious ingredients are gracing menus and grabbing loyal consumers at an increasing number of restaura -More

Galbani® Mascarpone. Gold Standard True Italian Taste.
Italy has a flavor all its own. When it comes to cheese, chefs who know choose Galbani. For irresistibly savory risottos and pastas, try classic Galbani mascarpone. Its rich, creamy goodness makes it perfect for favorites like tiramisu and cannoli. Galbani mascarpone, one of the fine brands from Lactalis Culinary. For paring suggestions, click here.

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Gen Z, the First True Digital Generation, Represents the Future Foodservice Consumer

Gen Z, the first true digital generation, represents the future foodservice consumer. They're a generation on the move that strongly prioritizes speed of service, technology, and having what they want, when they want it. Millennials, more so than older generations, prefer to visit restaurants that offer new and unique foods and flavors. Gen X and Boomers converge on several preferences—such as the importance of a convenient location.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Celebrates Its 500th New Restaurant Opening

Red Robin's 500th new restaurant opening will open on Aug. 4 at 11 a.m., in Milpitas, Calif. at the Great Mall of the Bay Area.

Darden Completes Sale Of Red Lobster To Golden Gate Capital

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) and Golden Gate Capital today announced that Golden Gate has completed the acquisition of the Red Lobster business and certain other related assets and assumed liabilities for approximately $2.1 billion in cash.

Dunkin' Donuts Announces Plans For Seven New Restaurants In Duluth, Minnesota With New Franchisees Brian And Sharon Weidendorf

Dunkin' Donuts announced today the signing of a multi-unit store development agreement with new franchisees, Brian and Sharon Weidendorf, to develop seven restaurants in Duluth, Minnesota and the surrounding areas. The first restaurant is planned to open in spring 2015.

Wendy's Names Brandon Solano Senior Vice President of Marketing

The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ: WEN) announced today that Brandon Solano, 43, a veteran brand builder and product innovator, has been named Senior Vice President of Marketing.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service