“So soon?” I hear your cry
Did you feel the benefit at all? Did you notice businesses starting to change their ways?
It certainly wasn’t in a certain service station on the M62.
I had been a guest at the White Rose Awards – a wonderful celebration of great businesses, which was straight after the own awarding of our Customer at the Heart – Winner of Winners. I am not sure I could have felt more positive about how when businesses make great efforts and truly ‘love’ their customers – they can also reap great rewards.
Things, however, were set to take a dark turn. Low of fuel, I knew I would have to be punished with a dose of service station fuel prices, and slowed onto the forecourt to fill up.
A man walked towards me and asked how I intended to pay. Rather than starting the story with his reason for asking – (would have been MUCH easier & quicker) I was quizzed with a set of escalating questions – ‘was I filling right up?’ ‘paying cash or card’ ‘which card’ ‘which sort of debit card’.
Apparently there was an issue with the card payment system and it was automatically declining some debit visa cards. I had nothing else with me – my cash, quite rightly left with the Yorkshire Regiment collection at the WRA2012.
I explained I would see how it would go – but I needed fuel and had no choice. He just wished me luck ‘with that’.
There was a cash machine on hand (and working) but with a £2 charge. So I tried the card first.
I wasn’t ready for the fury in store.
Another colleague was pacing behind the counter. He was an unhappy man.
He didn’t make eye contact. I presented a card. He served someone else. Yes – right in front of me.
I made it known I wanted to pay.
He still didn’t look or talk to me – but I sensed the ‘you know were having problems’ vibe.
The transaction didn’t go through – and so I skulked to the cash machine. He still didn’t acknowledge me or look at me. His colleague, by this time also inside, starting to mutter.
When I arrived back with the money, I expected a better interaction. Surely this time a ‘hello’, a smile, a nod.
Even better a ‘sorry you’ve had to go and do that – we’ve got a technical hitch at the moment’
Better still, ‘ this is our problem, we’ll sort it out’
Nope. This time more fury.
He slammed the till
He exclaimed ‘that’s it now, were shutting up”
He dramatically exited. He grumbled loudly about the ridiculous situation
Did they think it was me/ that it was my fault as a customer? Or most likely – did they think of me at all
They were upset, they were frustrated. It had probably been a long, challenging night. However, that’s what happens at work. There are problems. We have to fix them.
We have to look after our customers whilst we fix them. We have to make our customers experiences better despite the problems.
I can assure you that customers were the last thing from the thoughts of the team reflecting the brand of a multi million company.
No matter how many sponsorship deals they agree, how much they spend on advertising or promotion – the reflection of that brand (and its franchise partners) fell completely on the attitude and actions of TEAM FRUSTRATED
Customer Service Week may be over but the opportunity to improve it in your business has only just begun.