Archive for June 2007
Customer Care is dead. Thatâ€™s right; Customer Care and Customer Satisfaction are dead. They have ceased to be an important part of todayâ€™s corporate philosophy and are quickly being replaced with a “we donâ€™t care what you think, give us your money, you have no choice” attitude. Let me detail for you the events that have happened in the last few months that have given me my current perspective on Customer Care.
First there are the Fast Food, Movie Theater, Gas Station Attendant, Grocery Store, Bank Teller, type of reps. Weâ€™ll call them â€œStandersâ€! These â€œStandersâ€ have never been trained in Customer Service, never been trained on how to make a customer happy or deal with an escalated situation or even how to present them selves to the customer on a face to face basis. No, they are simply given a uniform and told to stand in one place and do Job-A or Job-B, nothing more! I understand the difficulty of providing the people that come in with, what I would consider as Adequate Customer Service Training, due to the increasing amount of turnover with the young people of today. However, the supervisors of these establishments should be taking more pride in where they work (weather they like where they work or not). This means that they should be giving there new employees a simple run through on Customer Service Skills, Ways of Communicating, proper Presentation of Oneâ€™s Self in a public atmosphere and above all, How to handle a difficult customer. Some other points that should be trained are Appearance and Pride in your Work-Place. All of these skills are being pushed to the wayside. As I see it the only reason is that the corporations are more interested in making the all-mighty dollar instead of building solid relationships with its customer base. What they are failing to realize is that if you build that customer relationship up you will gain more revenue. This is because the happier the customer is to come to the establishment the more they will come and the more money they will be willing to spend. You may have to make a few short term sacrifices to gain long term goals but so what. So you have to give a few tickets away to a few customers, comp a few meals or return a few over draft fees. If this is handled correctly the customer will walk away feeling refreshed that his concern was met, his situation was resolved and he was compensated for the inconvenience. What is happening instead is that the customer is walking away more aggravated and more irritated than when he first filed the complaint! This is in part due to the supervisors thinking that if they make this persons experience unpleasant they will A.) Never return and they wont have to face them again or B.) If they return, they will never complain because they will not want to re-live the previous unpleasant experience. Sooner or later these companies are going to experience a decrease in there customer base, this will be directly due to the customers that they have driven away. With Blogs and personal websites becoming more and more popular and Pod-casts becoming the next generation in evolving news and gossip, you run into a situation where you get a disgruntled customer that voices his opinion over the web and it is relayed to several others that have had similar experiences, then they voice there opinions and so on and so on. Then you have Forums telling people where to go and where not to go. This is all something that Corporate America is overlooking. If anything with the ease of Web base complaints and the flow of information from the customer base these corporations should be ramping up there Customer Service Training and trying harder to gain that customer base and keep the flow of customers coming. But, enough on the â€œStandersâ€ for now! Lets move to the worst Customer Service industry of all and the one that will be the most difficult to train. That would be the Medical profession. Weâ€™ll call these folks â€œSittersâ€! These people have nothing to loose because we are always in need of Doctors, Optometrist and Dental professionals. They can treat you like crap because they know that they will continue to have a customer base regardless of the amount of people that they piss off. The worst part is you canâ€™t train these people. Most of them have been doing this for so long that they will refuse to be trained no matter how hard you try. And to make matters worse, they will train a whole new generation of people that will be taking over there job to handle customers in the same way. These â€œSittersâ€ have no fear of you not returning and in some cases are happy if you choose to never visit them again. There employment is not based on customer satisfaction, they donâ€™t hand out surveys that say â€œHow am I doingâ€ and allow you to drop it in a box for there management to see. They simply exist to process the information for the Officeâ€™s and Insurance companies. The thought of calling a patient to tell them that there appointment was canceled over a week ago never crosses there mind. They will let you take time off of work, drive all the way out there andÂ then tell you at that point your appointment has been canceled. The people have been conditioned by the years of service in this industry to have no remorse for there actions. They are devoid of any and all emotion when they encounter an upset patient. I really feel for some of the older or more handicapped individuals that plan for these appointments. They have a hard enough time getting around there own home much less driving across town to a doctors office. To be told at the last second as you walk in that your appointment has been canceled is just outrageous. However, you will not see any change in this field. They will continue to treat each and every person like crap because thatâ€™s all they know how to do.
So as you see, the world of Customer care and Customer Satisfaction are truly dead. At least from my perspective! Now donâ€™t get me wrong, I am not saying that EVERY place on the planet is like this. I have run into some very friendly places and when I do I take a moment and let them know how good of a job they did. Then I make sure to tell as many people as I know how good the Customer Service was at that place. I do the same for the bad places. This way word of mouth spreads the information like it has for yearsÂ and the customer base hopefully goes to the correct (good) places and away from those that do not deserve it. I hope that the people from Corporate America read this, and feel free to give me your comments about your feelings toward the Customer Service of today. I have a feeling that I will find several people that have the same thoughts as me.
Warren Theaters has a knack of pissing me off. Below is an e-mail I sent to there coperate office. I think the e-mail explains everything.
Just for the record this will be the third time that the event that I will lay out to you has happened and the 2nd time that I have filed a complaint about it.Â
I am very disappointed in the way that your theater is currently conducting business. As I stated before this is the third time that I have had this problem. Iâ€™ll start by telling you that I am an avid movie watcher and probably visit your theater about 5 to 6 times a month, and most of that is balcony seating. Each time I call and ask your customer service when the tickets will be on sale. Lately I call several times a week because each time I call I get a different answer. The first time I called it was about the last â€œPirates of the Caribbeanâ€. I stopped by after work on Wednesday the week before the movie was to start and was told that the tickets would be on sale the following Tuesday. I show up on Tuesday and find out that Tickets had been on sale since the previous Thursday, the day AFTER I came up and inquired about when the tickets would be sold. Needless to say I was very upset and almost did not get any seats. The second time was with the second â€œFantastic 4â€. Again, I called on Wednesday and asked when the tickets will be sold. They advised me on the phone that it would be on Tuesday. This time I stop by the next day and see if the tickets are on sale (Just in case they are sold in advance again). And I was told Tuesday again by the man at the counter. So I figure that Tuesday is good and show up after work on Tuesday and ask for tickets. This time Iâ€™m told that tickets would not be sold until Wednesday or Thursday. Again, I was frustrated at the misinformation that I was told. My wife was frustrated enough that she filed a complaint on this web site and provided my number for the contact. I was called by a very rude supervisor that told me that they have never sold tickets on a Tuesday (Which is incorrect because I have been coming to this theater for years and have purchased tickets on ranging from the week before to the Tuesday of) and that I was mistaken in the information that I heard. Not that I was misinformed but that I heard the information incorrectly. This infuriated me that this supervisor would treat me in this manor. Now the current issue, I had called On Thursday again and asked when the tickets would be on Sale for the 4th of July. They stated on the phone that it would be Wednesday. So I call today before I get off work and was told by a lady that the tickets for â€œTransformersâ€ were on sale. I specifically asked if they were on sale for the 4th of July and was told yes. I looked at your website and saw that the show times were available for the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July for â€œTransformersâ€. So I go to the 13th ave Warren (this is where all this happens if I didnâ€™t mention it before) and go to the counter and ask for tickets. This time I am told that the tickets are not on sale until Friday, maybe Thursday â€œIf Iâ€™m Luckyâ€. At this point I think maybe he was not aware of the web site displaying the tickets being on sale and pointed that out. He said that it didnâ€™t matter what the web site said, he could only sell tickets for the 2nd (a special showing). I immediately asked for a Supervisor. About 10 minutes later a Supervisor showed up and I explained that I had called today 15 min before I drove up there and asked if they were selling tickets specifically for the 4th of July and was told yes and that when I got here I was told no. She tried to tell me that itâ€™s not in the system and they didnâ€™t have any Showtimeâ€™s available. I explained to her that the web site showed all times for the 3rd 4th and 5th. She had to take a min and go downstairs and check the computer for herself. She then came back up with a series of printouts and could not explain why the Showtimeâ€™s were there and not available in the system. She just told me that they didnâ€™t know what they were going to drop yet and that this was the proposed times for the movie. She took my name and number and stated that she would call me when the tickets became available for sale (Iâ€™m not holding my breath for a return call).
Needless to say I found that this is a form of false advertising. You are claiming that you have something for sale that is truly not for sale. I will purchase tickets for â€œTransformersâ€, to be exact I will be purchasing 8 balcony tickets (this is pretty standard, I have several family and friends that go to the movies with me). However, this will be the last time I purchase tickets from your theater. The turnaround time from theater to DVD is fast enough now that I can patiently wait for it to come out on DVD and enjoy it in my home with out the hassle and frustration that I am currently going through. If you want to call me about this then I would be happy to discuss it with a member of your corporate office. If you are going to have one of your supervisors from the 13th ave Warren call me then save it. I have already talked to them and it has yet to be a pleasant experience.
Dinner and bowling tonight was a lot of fun. It turned out better than I expected.
Last month, Brian and I received a free dinner certificate from Kobe. It was addressed to Brian for his birthday. Neither of us could figure out how they got his information. I mean, they knew his name, date of birth, and our address — that’s a lot of detail considering that it has been a few years since we’ve been there.
When Jen was over picking up some clothes last weekend, I mentioned to her that Brian and I would be dining at Kobe’s sometime to redeem his free birthday dinner certificate. She thought it would be a great opportunity for everyone to get together. Mom had mentioned getting together for some bowling so we all agreed to do it on the same night.
Before we knew it, there was twelve of us going to dinner. Brian’s parents came, Chad, Ray, Jen, Jan, Carla, Paul, mom, and dad all came. I was actually amazed that we got dad to come out. He usually doesn’t ever leave the house. Dinner was great. The food was pretty good and our chef wasn’t bad either. Probably the only thing that could’ve made it better was if I were able to drink. 😉
Jan didn’t go to the Alley with the rest of us because one of the puppy buyers was potentially coming over that evening to get Tips and Walnut. Donna and Carla decided not to bowl, but the rest of us did. I was actually surprised that dad decided to bowl. He gave up bowling a couple of years ago. I guess he couldn’t just sit and watch. He rented shoes and found himself a house ball. It was fun. Dad had the highest score on the first game (amazing considering he was using a house ball), and Ray had the highest score on the second game. Ray almost bowled a 200, but even though he didn’t (he ended up scoring a 184) he still smoked everyone.
I didn’t do too badly considering it has been at least three years since I bowled last. My first game was a 134 and my second game was a 154, so I bowled about my average. Mom is right, you don’t really lose it. It’s just like riding a bike.
I think I’d like to get into bowling again. When I get out of school and I have more spare time, maybe. It would be fun to join a league… Or maybe just bowl for fun more often than once every three years. I probably won’t be going to the Alley for bowling, though. Their rates are much higher than everyone else’s.
Anyway, it’s a thought.
Here are some select pictures from our family gathering yesterday. We were celebrating Brian’s birthday, his grandmother’s birthday, and Father’s Day all in one. You may view all the photos here.
Everyone met up at B&C BBQ for lunch. Everyone being Brian’s grandparents, Brian’s parents, Chad, Brian and I. Mom and dad came, too. So that was nice. It usually takes an act of God to get dad out of the house. I’m really glad they could make it.
We gave everyone their gifts which Brian and I purchased and wrapped almost a month ago. We went the easy route this time and just got movies for all the dads. We got Happy Feet for grandpa, Smokin’ Aces for Dave, and The Greatest Game Ever Played for my dad. Since everyone is getting into golf, Logan and Jen included, we figured it would be appropriate. Plus, it is such a great movie. (more…)
“Who told you this movie is good?” That was Brian’s first reaction upon watching Curse of the Golden Flower. I guess he didn’t like it. I liked it, though. If you think your family is dysfunctional, you ought to watch this movie. It will make you feel better. LOL.
Hey, at least this movie is dubbed in English so Brian didn’t have to endure reading subtitles. Unlike Pan’s Labyrinth. Brian’s main complaint on that one was that it should have been dubbed in English. I’m sure they’ll release an English-dubbed version eventually.
Despite having to read subtitles, Brian paid enough attention to the movie to recognize the religious references. He commented about Ofelia’s true father, the king, being a God-like figure; her mother being a metaphor for Mary; and her infant brother being a representation of the baby Jesus. While his observation is on a more literal or physical level, I observed something similar. Taking it a step further the story line itself reminds of biblical, religious stories about the origin of man I was often told as a child. Only this time, you add fantasy and special effects and turn it into a fairy tale.
Princess Moanna, the daughter of the king of the underworld, ventures to the human world above to experience what it is like to be mortal. While living on the surface, she forgets about her previous life. She grows old and dies as a mortal, but the king believes that her spirit will return someday. Her spirit returns in the form of Ofelia. Ofelia has to pass several test in order to prove that her “essence is intact” before she can return to live with her father in the underwold.
Basically, Ofelia represents the children of God–mortals like you and I living in this world. We came from the heavenly kingdom but now we are here. Before we can return to heaven (for those folks who believe there is such a thing), we must prove ourselves. We face trials and tribulations each day of our lives. These are like the tasks or tests that Ofelia had to complete. Our choices demonstrate what we are made of, whether we have moral fortitude–whether our “essence is intact” so to speak. In the end, how we have lived our lives determines if we are worthy of returning to our Father in the heavenly kingdom.
Anyway, I was telling this to Brian and his reaction was “Have you been smoking dope and why aren’t you sharing?” Of course, I haven’t. The parallels just seemed glaringly obvious to me. Watch the movie and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It makes perfect sense.
Beyond the surface of the movie (a fairy tale loving child with a wild imagination cannot cope with the environment that she has been cast into and has gone completely insane) there is a definite religious tone. I think the closing throne scene with the mother, father, and baby–how the scene was costumed and presented–hammers this idea home. Like, if you don’t get the moral of the story we’re going to hammer it into you real obvious-like.
I don’t know. You watch the movie and tell me what you think.