Today is a bit of a rant day as I need to get something off my chest that has been bothering me for awhile now. Perhaps you have experienced this too – poor customer service.
I thought that we were making great strides in lessening the divide between men and women but I today I am unsure. When I hear stories of the barriers that women are breaking, it is so inspiring and motivating for other women to push through them. In the world of diversity, we are taught to accept people of all races, genders, religions, and the like, and I do believe that progress is being made. But I am questioning this thought.
Being an avid dancer, I have been going to a particular venue for years; I’ve always enjoyed the people and the friendships I’ve made, including the owners of this venue. Recently, they have hired several new staff members, both male and female, but one new male employee needs to go back to customer service school and fast!. He does not smile, makes curt comments, and has a bad attitude all-around. I have heard more than one comment from others customers, both male and female, who agree. So, last night, I spoke to one of the owners to discuss the poor customer service of this staff member and boy, am I disappointed today and wonder how indicative this is across industries.
I am not one who complains to management; it is rare that I send a meal back or make a complaint about a rude employee. But I do expect, as a consumer, to be treated welcomingly and respectfully. Lately, it seems that I am saying thank you to more than I am hearing that in return. The art of customer service – and what that truly means – seems lost today. It may be societal or it may be unhappy workers in the wrong job, or both. But I think something needs to be done.
So in going back to my story, the owner, instead of apologizing or at least telling me he would talk to his employee, just laughed, told me that he had no problems, and said, “Maybe he’s a man’s man” and pumped his chest while making this statement. Hearing no empathy or responsibility from this manager was, to say the least, disappointing and the gender implication was telling. I might expect this from a front-line worker, but not from someone who is ultimately responsible for hiring decisions and who sets the tone for these workers. I now know why this employee acts as he does: because he can. Managers who do not address poor employee behavior, whether valid or not, are setting a poor tone for the workplace and risk the loss of their brand and their customer base.
Although this poor response won’t make me stop visiting this venue my feeling have changed; I am not so willing to promote the venue as I have in the past. It also, though, has made me more aware and I am now more dedicated to providing stellar customer services for my clients and making it an expectation to not accept less for myself in the future. I might just send that steak back the next time !