More times than I wish to acknowledge; I witness the type of service that has me wondering if we might have returned to Jurassic times. As someone affluent on the topic of customer service, I make a conscious decision every day to dull my sensors; otherwise, I’d likely need to be committed how often I encounter the lack of quality service.
Last week I entered my local bank to deposit a check. These days it is rare instance I do so; however, this check wouldn’t scan at the ATM. As I entered the lobby I noticed it empty with no lines. As I typically do; I entered the waiting section to be called up. A teller who appeared to be available had her head down; so I rather than walk up I waited for some type of acknowledgment (vocal, eye contact...) to be assisted. This employee without a “hello, good morning or can I help you” stated aloud with an expressionless face “I can’t help you from where you’re standing.” Say what?
Now I have eight – yes, eight accounts with this establishment – I know, I know ridiculous! Yet even if I had none, the initial occurrence I’d expect is a courteous acknowledgment be extended. After I explained my reason for visiting, the employee noted since I had multiple accounts she asked what account did I wish to deposit the check into. Again no thank you for being such, a loyal customer, during my initial conversation I did indicate the intent to deposit this check to my business checking account – so much for listening to the customer.
I noticed another employee wandering behind the tellers, viewing the computer monitors. This representative interrupted my transaction to promote a new bank offer (open another account – no thank you!) but how about extending the courtesy to allow me (and her colleague) to complete our business at hand first.
Must be Something in the Air
That same week as I stood in line to make a purchase at a home improvement store I experienced another memorable event. Now this location did not feature one line for customers to wait for the next available cashier. At this retailer you simply “roll the dice” and take your chances by selecting a cashier line. Of the three available, I ended up picking the slowest, but I make every effort to be a good customer and be patient. After a few minutes waiting and watching customers who obviously selected the faster lines; as I waiting to be serviced the cashier advised me she had to close and I’d need to go to another checker – Say what? Of course there exists so many ways this could have handled customer oriented; unfortunately this does not represent one of the options.
To minimize expense so many retailers select to train their associates through “on-line” video processes. During actual “in store” training way too often, the most common advise heard by new associates is “treat customers as you wish to be treated” Following that philosophy, if you ordered a cheeseburger at your favorite fast food who knows how it might be prepared. I’m just not sold that standards, specifications or quality assurance can be learned that way; what’s next, download our app? Today, competition and loyalty demands standards be identified and specifically followed, as we strive to meet and attempt to exceed customer expectations.
No Target on Your Back
I must admit in my past when I encountered such service or should I say lack of service; I wondered what on earth is causing me to experience such behavior. I will profess that life in sharing signs of purpose, thus leading to my career as a consultant. So when we encounter scenarios where the experience warrants improvement – do not take it personal – you did not wake up with a bullseye target on your forehead or back.
During the last couple of months I have had two instances in which I received exceptional service and each time, I took the time to write a positive endorsement of my experience. Recently I ran into one of these employees and the person stopped me to mention how much the compliment feedback was appreciated; especially when the manager recognized the employee during some internal meeting. Positive affirmation can be such, a wonderful thing.
We have opportunities to share our experiences – negative and positive in person or I’d suggest on-line; as most companies offer the availability to do so on their websites or via some external site, like Yelp. It seems everyday a cashier presents me with a receipt asking I take time to complete a survey and a chance to win $500. I’ve yet to meet anyone that has won – have you? Likely that person is related to a winner of The Publisher’s Clearinghouse.
Customer service is not on an extinct art or a thing of the past. It is a process that needs to be acknowledged, so it doesn’t fall into the category of an endangered commodity; it should remain active in our evolution – part of our DNA.