Sunday, September 21, 2014

The best and the worst of customer service- a day in the life

Yesterday I wrote the whole day ordeal of the post- accident aftermath. It also was a good day to reflect on the idea of "what is good customer service?".

I knew since I volunteered to help TheGuy, it was going to be lots of red tape.  I knew I had to have a good attitude and I was probably going to have to be patient.

We walked into the insurance office with no appointment and immediately we were assisted by the agent. She was sympathetic. She offered beverages. She immediately started the paperwork, made phone calls on our behalf while we were there in the office, on speaker phone so we could hear everything. She gave us copies of everything. She helped us with phone calls TheGuy actually had to make to the claims dept.; she didn't need to be part of that but was, in case we had questions. Then the rest of the day she stayed in contact with us to see how we were doing, to update on her progress, and to see if I needed any help with my mission. I was super impressed with her. This was an example of the most excellent customer service.

I went to the city impound lot and that wasn't without some bumps. I could tell in my short time waiting in line that the women who are the clerks there do NOT have an easy job. People who come there are mostly angry. This is the lot where cars what need towed post- accident but don't go to a garage are deposited. Also... it's where people's cars get towed who park where they aren't supposed to and where cars are put when they're impounded from a crime scene. So, yeah, mostly people who show up there are pretty pissed off. Additionally, this place is in a rough part of town AND there is a city policeman on duty, armed, in a patrol car, the entire time they're open. Not an easy place to work, I would guess. But I have to say, the 4 women who were working the windows were calms, cool, and professional, often friendly as well. I had never been to this place and had no idea what to expect. I was prepared. When I stepped to the window I gave her all my paperwork, my ID and my credit card. Since my name wasn't on anything, there was a SNAFU. She explained TheGuy could call in and give phone permission for me to do stuff for him. She told me after I called him I could come back to her window without having to get a number as soon as she was done with the person who would be at the window at that time. I stepped out and made my call and came back in. She was true to her word and we completed our paperwork. I told her I didn't know what to do next and she was so kind and helpful. She told me she was sorry they didn't have a waiting room but I was welcome to wait in the parking lot while I waited for our tow truck. She also told me she had called a lot attendant to come up and chat with me if i had questions about the car. She explained all the paperwork and what I needed to do with each piece of it. Again, excellent customer service AND this is a woman who has a pretty tough job! (I heard her get yelled at for no reason, and someone else in line called one of these clerks a bitch.)

I called the tow trucking company. We had several phone calls and every time I called Nicky was super sweet. She was not only professional but she was also sympathetic and helpful. She gave me all the info I needed, even letting me know it would be better for me to have cash than deal with credit cards with the driver.  The only thing I wasn't happy about was that she told me someone would meet me at the impound lot in 30-45 minutes but it was really was an hour and 15 minutes later. So, customer service was alright.

The tow truck driver- Larry- was great. He was a nice guy. He made sure I had directions to get from the lot to my apartment. He also knew where I lived because he has a relative there so he knew the perfect spot to get the car into so it would be out of the way (next to the dumpster, by a fence, in a corner). That really helped! He also said they're the tow company who's contracted by our apartment complex to tow cars who are illegally parked so he said he would call the office and make a note in the computer to NOT tow us! See- excellent customer service.

I talked to our maintenance guy - Brian- at the apartment complex- it's not even his job to help me with the car thing- but he listened, AND he also then told the leasing agent when she returned. The leasing agent touched base with me to double check the info Brian gave her. YAY- go our apartment complex staff! Yay great customer service!

I picked up Mac and we got Starbucks coffee. (After the day I had I thought I deserved a coffee. I was tired. I was mellow. I wasn't in a hurry and I wasn't angry or impatient.) I ordered. I ordered 2 drinks, nothing special- 2 venti salted caramel mochas (no special milk, syrup, nothing, just as is- the standard version). I waited. I saw the 5 people who were in line behind me all get their drinks. I finally asked one of the baristas making drinks, nicely! I asked NICELY!- if my drinks were being made. She asked what they were. I told her. She said, "I don't have cups for that." She used a super snotty tone, like that was my fault. The woman as the cash register heard and said, "Oh I didn't make those cups." The barista I asked turned to me and said, "See, I can't make drinks if I don't have cups." Really. REALLY?!? Oh fuck you barista bitch. She made the drinks, slammed them on the counter and then slapped a free drink coupon down next to the drinks and said, "next time you come in you can have a free one." and she walked away. Did you notice at no point did anyone apologize? And in the process some how tried to make this out to be my fault? So far this ranked as the WORST customer service of the day. This was not at my 'usual' Starbucks, either. This one is located in a prissy-pants, hoity-toity, snobby fashion mall so their rude-ass behavior is pretty much like most of the people you encounter in the mall- shoppers and employees. I try to avoid this Starbucks at all times but I wasn't thinking. And I expect better from Starbucks. I spend A LOT of money a year (it's abhorrent what I spend on coffee since I moved to the Capital) there so I have high expectations. This just makes me angry. Bad customer service. Bad, bad, bad.

We decided to eat dinner at Boston Market that night for dinner. We were in line and a girl dipped up half a plate of food. Her manager walked up to her and asked if she gave the person already seated her turkey dinner since it was now cooked. She said to him she didn't know it was done. He took our plate out of her hand, slammed it on the counter and said to her, "Go get the woman her dinner." Then he walked away. She did as she was told and then came back to help us. I felt really bad for her since he treated her like shit in front of customers. I was pissed because he never looked at us or said "excuse me" or "I'm sorry." I've done a slow burn about this since Friday night. Poor customer service.

Ya know, I had great customer service experience all day long with people who have to deal with those who are primarily angry: an insurance agent and various insurance reps who had a client in a crash, an impound lot employee who deals with people whose cars have been impounded, tow truck employees who deal with people with car trouble... and my worst customer service experience is at a Starbucks and a Boston Market? Really? What does this say?

I haven't drawn any conclusions that are earth shattering or revealing. I guess I just find it more or less an interesting assessment of human nature. The Starbucks and Boston market employees sure would suck doing anything high stress if they can't really cope with food service customers. I've waited tables, tended bar, dipped ice cream, worked as a barista, been a dining room hostess, washed dishes in a kitchen restaurant, and did a little bit of short order cooking so I know food service. I've also been a social worker, an insurance telemarketer, and a teacher so I now what it's like to deal with angry people- the Starbucks and Boston Market folks are out of line.

Like I said, it's merely an observation of all my incidents of customer service in just one day.


1 comment:

Curley said...

Glad the most stressful part of your day went the easiest. Why is it when you are trying your best to be nice, (even when it's their mistake) they act like your the reason they made the mistake. Should have complained to management.