On Customer Service…

[I am envisioning a Carlin-esque monologue onthe subject, and am likely to revise this post later, possibly to do just that… – jle 8-8-08]

It’s amazing how focused on customer service everyone is getting today. Obviously good customer service is important from a business perspective – if the customers are happy, they are more likely to come back anf exchange their money for the company’s goods and services. However, when did customer service turn into babysitting? When did the self-accountability of the patron become a non-factor?

I work sort-of with the medical sector, and this fact is very relevant here. If a patient fails to monitor their own medications, and runs out, they create their own emergency. It frequently happens that a patient will have been out of medications for several days before contacting us for a refill. A few hours later, they are calling back to find out if their prescription is ready, or why the medication has not been called in to a pharmacy. The medical staff needs time to take care of things – they do have more than one patient to take care of, and just because [generic you] couldn’t keep an eye on your own stuff, [generic we] are now expected to drop everything to fix [generic your] mistakes?

I also find it tiresome (both humorous and frustrating) when ther will be “last minute” calls that come in, where a patient is “getting ready to leave town, tomorrow morning” and needs their medication tonight. Oh, and they call at 4:45 pm on Friday, with the clinic closing at 5pm.

I have worked in restaurants, and I know how things work there as well, and it’s funny how our expectations shift based on the type of restaurant we visit. Fast food, we expect basic, sometimes crappy service – and we generally get it (even when you hope for the best). The more prestigious the establishment, the higher the expectations – from drinks never being left empty, to high quality food, to smiles on the server’s faces. It’s hard, and I generally try to relax in restaurants (but the manager in me quickly jumps into action, and I have a low tolerance for someone trying to blow smoke my way – don’t tell me “things are slow because [we] are short staffed”, doesn’t cut it, especially if [you] are strolling around, leisurly, instead of showing some hustle), and otherwise give the benefit of the doubt.

But it’s crazy how much has come to be expected, without thinking of the “other people” (those performing the service. Individuals are more concerned about themselves – their problems, or their own failure to plan correctly – and they expect someone else to jump to their rescue.

Now, I can understand some issued with the elderly, or the “challenged”, andthere will be genuine moments where emergencies may come up… but otherwise, people need to grow up and actually learn to be responsible for a change. If you want to think about yourself, learn to think for yourself.

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