January 4, 2011 by Joyce Richman · Comments Off
Don’t get me started on my telephone service. I’ve already blown too much time trying to report a telephone number that is out of order.
It started last night when I received voice mail from an out of state client requesting an urgent consult. He asked that I return his call as soon as possible. I began the quest as soon as I received his message.
His line rang busy. It continued busy into the evening. I tried his line again this morning, and to my frustration, the busy signal continued. Aha. I realized it was probably out of order, that I would report it, and get on with my life.
That wasn’t going to happen.
Remember how easy it used to be? Before they took away all the humans and replaced them with technology. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say, there is no “press” anything for reporting a phone line problem when it isn’t your own and it is out of town. And I did manage to talk to telephone humans. But they have no telephones.
“I don’t have a phone. I can’t report your problem.”
They can’t report problems. They give you numbers to call. Those numbers are connected to recordings that signal options that I don’t need.
Welcome to the high tech version of, ”it’s not my job”.
“It’s not my job” is an attitude that turns into a behavior that turns customers against servers, from whatever the source.
You’ve all experienced those frustrations, and you know the ”I’m climbin’ over this counter and we’ll see whose job it is!!” feelings, You also know that your experiences are not limited to any one telephone service, airline, or drycleaners.
Thankfully, there’s a flip side to the story:
I recently had an minor accident that required medical attention. Rather than head to a local emergency department and miss my flight, I figured that if it got bad enough, I’d take care of it at my destination. By the time I reached my hotel, I realized that I needed to get some help. The hotel staffers were excellent and went the extra mile to be sure that I was properly tended to. Even after I sounded the “all clear” they continued to check to see how I was doing.
I was so impressed with the hotel’s manner of service, that I spoke with the front desk manager and asked what she thought contributed to that outcome. This is what she said:
“I hire people who genuinely want to be here and want to work with the public. Although I look for individuals who are good with the details and getting the job done, our reason for being is to serve those who choose to stay here. We realize that it’s about choice. Demonstrating that we care about serving them, in an efficient, effective, and caring way, is what we’re all about.”
She went on to describe the ways that managers and supervisors are supportive of their staff and reinforce a “winning spirit” throughout their organization.
I wrote to the president of the hotel chain, praising what this young woman had been able to achieve at their hotel.
Fast forward. Another hotel. Another city. Another accident. Not mine, not terribly serious, but to my colleague, it was and it needed attention. He put in a call to the hotel operator. The operator suggested the concierge. The concierge was on break and the call rolled over to the front desk. The front desk had people to check out and she tossed the call to housekeeping. Housekeeping suggested maintenance and maintenance laughed out loud.
No one had a clue how to help nor demonstrated a desire to get any.
“I can’t help you. Good-bye”.
“I don’t know where you should go, call someone else.”
“No one can help at this extension. Call back this afternoon.”
In the former hotel, every staff person that I met was cheerful, helpful, and efficient. The employees in the latter hotel appeared neutral at best, rude at worst, and when they lost our stored luggage, inefficient, too.
I don’t know what isn’t working at that hotel, but whatever it is, it needs fixing. Is anything broken where you work? If so, it probably shows, to more people than you want knowing about it.
Employees should want to be where they work, or they should leave. They should be hired to do what they do best, in an environment that supports success.
Employees deserve feedback that is instructive, helpful, and timely. They should receive it from those who practice the way that it ought to be. Employees should realize that no one is obligated to spend their disposable time or money where it benefits them least. And if no one buys a ticket, no one gets paid.
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Yes! You may use this article by Executive and Career Coach, Joyce Richman, in your blog, article in your blog, newsletter or website as long as you include the following bio box:
Joyce Richman (www.richmanresources.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce is a weekly guest on WFMY-TV and the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.