Customer Temper Tantrums

What is up with the way people react to the word “NO”? Every time I am put in a position to uphold to a policy the first response I get lately is “Your treating me less than human” or “Your treating me as a 3rd class citizen” – What? Why is it that when people are told “no” or “you need to do …. first” the first thing that comes to their mind is – That’s not fair! Every time this happens I have to take a double take – because I thought I was speaking to an adult in an higher education/healthcare setting not with children. Then reality hits and I AM speaking with an adult, but this response is what I get from my 7 and 11 year old. We have done such a disservice to our youth and young adults by letting them think that they need to challenge everything. Yes I am a huge component of asking questions and being completely informed, but having unrealistic demands is obnoxious and shows lack of maturity.

Everyone of us live by rules whether they are written, spoken, or a part of daily expectations. In my offices we are 100% customer service focused and we do this well (in prior post “Customer Service – not a job task, it’s a mindset” you can see my passion on providing great customer service), but it really seems that in the moments this is called into question it typically is when the customer does not like to hear “No” or “Wait”. Accusations of poor customer service never stem from the customer actually being treated poorly or receiving poor product, but from an unrealistic since of entitlement. Let’s call this what it is – an over sized temper tantrum. You are not showing your superior intelligence by trying to always buck the system or prove your injustices, some things are put in place for a reason. As long as those rules and policies are not truly an injustice then follow the policy and move forward.

-J

RESPECT

I was watching TV and a commercial came on from a local TV station. It showed two males discussing their new talk show that would air this fall. The two were dressed in casual jeans, a tee shirt, and a suit coat. Suddenly, their female co-host entered in a very casual short skirt and tight shirt. So why is she not dressed like her male counter parts? I am not a huge feminist, but at some point we all need to ask ourselves WHY? Is her position less than theirs and/or are they just using her to sell ratings. I have a hard time understanding why this female is asked to wear less than professional attire while the men are wearing suit coats. I hate thinking like this, but this isn’t the first commercial like this from this local TV station. As a professional working woman I want to be valued for my work and my dedication to my department. What would I do if my leadership team asked me to wear a tight skirt and shirt to work during high volume times while they wore suits- let’s just say that this conversation would not go as they would expect, but I don’t work for employers that would ever ask this.

I was sitting at home one night and a commercial came on; it was from a fast food company. The young lady was half naked sitting on top of a car eating a sandwich in a provocative manner. I was so frustrated that I called the company’s home office to complain. I quickly noticed I was not the only one that had the same frustration as the home office set up a line just for complaints about the commercial. In my complaint I said ” I will never eat at your establishment due to your lack of confidence you obviously have in your own product. If you know you have a great product you could stand behind it and would never need to use sex to sell it, it would sell itself”. Well, a few years later they have stopped using this style of commercial to sell their product. I would love to know if removing these adds helped or hurt their sales.

All of this should not just be offensive to the onlooker, it should be to the individual. We women want to complain about the differences in professional settings between men and women from pay, authority, acknowledgement, and respect. However unfortunate, the sad truth is that we are allowing this behavior. If women would take a stand against this type of objectivity it would eventually stop, but it takes us all doing our part. And this can not just be in the lives of everyday women, those in positions to be seen and heard should also should take a stand. This has to be a broad change. We are never going to be taken seriously unless those in respectable, and public settings set a precedence for what is acceptable. I wish those in the public eye would realize what they are communicating to us all about what is acceptable and respectable. We can’t fuss about inadequate pay or higher positions if we are not demanding basic respect. I would like to see how the three staff members from the local TV station are being paid, is it equal? From outside looking in it appears that they do not value the female as much as the men and do not take her as serious, just something cute to look at. I hate this and hope this is not true because this young lady has worked hard and should have the same respect from her employer as the other two. If she is being paid the same she still isn’t being given the same level of respect. Perhaps the commercial was meant to be funny and light hearted, but this is not the first thing that comes to my mind when watching it.

This should not only bother women, but males as well. I am trying to raise two young boys and teach them to respect women. How on earth can I do this effectively when everything coming at them says the exact opposite? The message of the TV station and the message from the young lady says this type of behavior is acceptable. I know this may upset some to read, and I hope it does, it should. We should be upset that women continue to let themselves be used to sell ratings and products and all of this is supposed to be professional….. WHAT? This has always been so frustrating to me. If you want to be respected you first have to respect yourself! Demand respect and carry yourself in a way that shows this.

I love reading books regarding coaching, staff development, professionalism, managing, and productivity. One of the books I am currently reading goes into depth about the do’s and don’ts of women in professional settings. It talks about not to be emotional, the difference in communication styles between women and men, and body language. All of this information is to help women navigate the male dominate work force. Now, this book was written a long time ago and I believe the work force has improved greatly, but it’s bad to think that women seeking professional, higher level jobs have to worry about all these things on top of making sure they are excelling at normal tasks. I wish there was more information/coaching for women in regards to respect for one’s self and how to demand it from others, especially in the professional setting.

Does this frustrate you too?

-J

Customer Service – not a job task, it’s a mindset!

I was running late trying to rush to the mall to purchase a couple of pairs of jeans for my boys. I hate going to the mall when I don’t have a lot of time to shop and look around. It’s also never a good idea when I have two very hungry and tired little boys with me. Needless to say I was already working at a disadvantage before I even walked in. Now, I don’t go to this store often (won’t say any names) because their product is amazing, wears well, or even because I feel valued as a customer. I only go to this store because I like the way this one style of jeans fits my boys. I have NEVER had a good experience in this store and the jeans do not hold up to the rough and tough tumbles little boys can put them through, so I only get them for church or casual events.

As I was walking in the store I noticed a HUGH sign out side the store door that reads ” ALL BASIC DENIM JEANS $7.99.” I had gone online the night before and the discount there would have made them $6.99 each, but due to time constraints I needed to go into the store (lucky me!). I walk in, right to the wall shelf, and picked up only one of the pairs of jeans. I would have gotten more, but they only had one size I needed. I walked up to the counter and quickly noticed I am interrupting a very important conversation between the two employees about last nights drama. One of the employees greeted me, and please know I am the only customer in the store at this time, and said “Yeah?” I asked her if she had anymore size 7 jeans in this style in the back. She said “Ughhonknow”, please hear this as a one syllable word. Eventually she left after a very awkward staring contest and returned with a pair of size 7 jeans. It’s my lucky day again! She rang up my order and that is when I noticed that one pair of jeans were ringing up for $12.99. I stopped her and asked about the price and the very large sign where it clearly states that ALL BASIC DENIM was on sale for $7.99. She said not this pair, that’s for the other sizes. Really? I said will you honor your sign due to it not being a style issue, basic denim, just a size issue? She said no and I asked why and I was given the exact same one syllable word “Ughhonknow”, which still included the annoying head roll. I said “Is the Ughhnoknow” because you can’t honor the sign or that you don’t know if the store will allow you to honor the price?” She said it was due to not knowing if the store would allow her to honor the price. Well to stop the suspense – I didn’t get the jeans for the $7.99 as advertised, which is exactly what I expected due to past experience with customer service from this store.

I hate shopping in that store, and even more, spending my hard earned money there. If I didn’t feel like I needed the product that they produce I would definitely go somewhere else, and that is where they get me. I don’t really need this product, but I want it. In my professional career I manage an area that is built on quality customer service. As a manager, the expectation is that you will provide great customer service at all times. This is not a job task, but rather a mindset. Think like a customer, which is super easy to do as we are all customers and have many experiences to cultivate this mindset.

Customer service is vital to every organization even ones that don’t really categorize themselves as front-line customer service. The way you treat your customer communicates how you value them, their time , and their money. When teaching my staff about the importance of providing great customer service we also talk about the importance of being a great customer. I have my staff talk about positive and negative experiences they have had as a customer and employee. The first thing I realize is that the negative experiences are numerous and positive experiences are few. I’m not sure if that was due the lack of positive experiences, which I strongly hope not, or that negative experiences have more of a lasting impression. Customer service is not just providing a great product, it’s being knowledgeable, having good communication skills, being honest, and being present while at work.

I think one major question we need to ask ourselves is: Why wouldn’t we give great customer service? Is it too time consuming, too draining, are you tired of dealing with people, maybe you don’t know how, or is it that great customer service comes with unrealistic expectations from the customer? All of these are valid feelings, at times. However, if we go back to the fact that we are all customers and we know what our expectations are, then this should be what drives us when providing great customer service to others. It is a Mindset!

Love to hear about some of your customer service experiences!

-J

First Impressions

First impressions are crucial – whether we like it or not our first impression can be a make-it or break-it.  From your business to personal life, you get one shot at this and you should always bring your best.  I was recently at my son’s open house at his middle school (he is going into the 6th grade this year).  I left so frustrated and less confident than I have ever been regarding the ability of a school to care for my child due to, or lack of, the first impression. Every question, with exception of one, was answered with “I don’t know” by many of the staff.  My questions ranged from “where will his locker be?” to “how do we sign him up for the bus?”  Not only did we get an “I don’t know” but each also came with the usual shoulder shrug and unenthusiastic look.  When asking where his home room class would be we were given three different locations which all were incorrect.  We did finally get the correct location of his home room, but his teacher was not there to meet the parents on the Open House night.  My husband and I have never had this kind of experience at an Open House, the purpose of these things is to communicate and inform parents, we ended up leaving confused and frustrated.

You know, they had one shot to show that they cared or even tried to be prepared for this parent’s night, however, all they wanted to talk about was their reputation and the dress code policy. Both of these are important, but this was also their chance to explain their expectations of their incoming students, and what the incoming students could expect as well.  I heard many times that night that middle school is harder on the parents than the kids.  Ok, so you are aware, you could have done some of the simplest things to help.  It would have been great to have been told what a day in the life of our children would look like, how they will transition from their classes, how they are to prepare their binders with school supplies, or go over their expectations of homework.

It’s kinda like when you are car shopping or buying a house.  If the prior owner hasn’t taken care of the “smalls” then I immediately become worried because most likely they haven’t taken care of the “bigs”.  The “smalls” are when you see broken blinds.  I then think if they haven’t fixed that knowing they are trying to sell their home then most likely they have not maintained the “bigs” like the heating and cooling system.  If they haven’t cleaned the trash out of the car, “smalls”, (and yes, this actually happened to me and my husband when test driving cars from a dealership – let’s just say we left) then did they bother to do major maintenance or regular oil changes “bigs”? 

Or like my husband.  He was a police officer for almost ten years.  He used to always say that the way he presented himself spoke a lot to the people he interacted with, Officer Presence.  His presence was not only the uniform itself, it was how he carried himself, his confidence.  He always made sure his uniform was tailored, cleaned, pressed, shoes shined, and car washed.  He respected his role and the community he served and you could tell this not only by his words and actions but in his level of attention to his physical appearance as well.  In his role, all of this was crucial to his safety and effectively doing his job.

Speaking of bad first impressions, just the other day my husband and I were working out in the garage, and the door was up. This is not something I enjoy, but that’s for another story. While we were working out, a man in a truck pulled up close to our mail box and appeared to be going through some trash. He gathered, what I thought was trash and threw it out his window next to our mail box. In an instant I screamed at him and said “NO NO – DON’T YOU DO THAT!” He immediately looked at me and my husband jumped up, not knowing what was going on. The man was still looking at me and slowly moved on to my neighbors house. My husband looked at me and I was like “I can’t believe he just dropped his trash in our yard”. My husband said “he is delivering phone books”. I was instantly embarrassed and desperately wanted to run after his car to catch up with him to apologize, at which my husband said running after him was probably not the best idea after screaming at him. My husband laughed and said I wanted to look at him and whisper “just drive away” – I told him that’s not funny! I can only imagine what he thinks of the people that live in That House.

 So in this situation with the school, if they aren’t willing or see the importance of communicating the “smalls” then how will they be throughout the year with the “bigs”.   This school may be great. However, the first impression did not leave me with confidence in their willingness to communicate throughout the year . 

Focus for today:

You have one, ONE shot at a first impression – understand just how invaluable this truly is!

-J