Can I just be a customer and not critique?
This week I experienced a few service failures. One had to do with being overcharged on my credit card. Another had to do with delivery of a new refrigerator. And lastly, service received at the local grocery store. In the case of the overcharge, the total bill was $23, I tipped $5 for a total of $28. Apparently the server rang in a tip of $28 on a $23 bill for a total of $51. I noticed the error while reconciling my bank statement. I called the restaurant and was promised a call back from the manager I spoke with. When I did not hear back from the restaurant it made me nervous. So I paid a visit to the restaurant with my copy of the receipt. The manager was apologetic, assured me the issue would be fixed, and offered me a free meal. Two days later, a credit of $28 posted to my bank account. In the case of the refrigerator, the two delivery guys were behind the 8-ball. They had very little idea of how to deliver a refrigerator, didn’t know how to use the hand truck, almost damaged my door and new counter tops, had no tools with them to remove the packing crate, and spoke very little English. My bilingual FA friend who lives in LA was most helpful at such an early hour. I will need to follow up with the major department store around this service failure. I want to bring to their attention how this contract company is tarnishing their brand. Later that morning the local grocery store I visit, which normally provides great customer service, let me down. The cashier was having such a great, fun conversation with the guy bagging my grocery, that she barely noticed and interacted with me. I thanked the guy bagging my grocery and he didn’t even respond. They had more dialogue between themselves than I did. By end of the day I felt deflated, tired, and even more aware of customer service provided by others.
Providing customer service is a major part of my job. In addition, I facilitate classes on how to be more customer service-oriented. There are times when I say to myself, “Can I just be a customer and not critique?” It’s difficult to disconnect and just be a customer. For those who are in customer service roles, I’m sure you know what I mean. For people like us, we tend to give the person providing customer service the benefit of the doubt, tip 20% or more, hold doors open more often, look people in the eye when speaking to them, and say thank you when the other person says thank you first. “No, thank YOU.” As if we must get the last thank you in.
It has been said before that eyes are the window to the soul. The next time you’re interacting with someone look into their eyes. No, I mean really look. And let’s be clear, there’s a difference between looking, and staring. There’s a wealth of information that you can receive. It is in these moments between you and other person that you have a golden opportunity to connect on a level deeper than your role or your job. It is in these moments that you have the opportunity to connect on a level that lets the other person know that “you matter to me.”
At this stage of life I’m more aware than ever before of the customer service that is being given to me. At the same time I’m more aware of the service I provide others. Over the years I found that providing customer service has made me a better person. Or has being a better person made me give better customer service? Either way, it’s all good.