Without wishing to alarm, good customer service cannot yet be taken off life support. And I’m not sure how much longer I can keep the nurses from pulling the tubes and wheeling in the padre for last rites.
No, wait, they’ve found a pulse, but don’t leave the building just yet, Father Michael, will you?
Some customer neglect can, of course, be put down to human frailty. We’re all flawed, we all have off-days – this is easily forgiven. What’s not so palatable is a rash of stupid which shows no signs of letting up. What have I forgiven in the last month or so with a wry smile and a shake of the head? Well, there was the:
- walk-in hair salon who could not tell me if they had any free appointments without first taking my email address;
- the retailer who said I could not pay for my goods without first giving them an email address as the till wouldn’t open without it;
- the fraud division of a company who rang and won’t talk to me about a serious breach of security without me first divulging (over the phone) my name, address, date of birth and mother’s maiden name. (They didn’t see the irony.); and
- the train ticket inspector who would not take a detailed and original printed receipt and corroborating credit card as evidence I had purchased a return ticket. I also had the other half of the ticket with me.
I won’t go on, except to say I was at least gratified things couldn’t get any worse… until they got worse, that is.
Visiting a local shop and combined Post Office, you know the kind, I waited in line patiently at the Post Office end as the customer in front of me counted and re-counted money to be deposited. Was it £261.00 or £241.00? Let’s count again.
We get to the bottom of the mystery a while laters and I’m next to be served. At this point I am the only customer in the shop – until the door opens and another customer comes in and stands at the non-Post Office end of the store. Mid-serve the shopkeeper leaves me abruptly to serve the customer who has just walked in.
Knowing I hadn’t yet perfected the power of invisibility, I enquired politely on his return why he had served that customer out of turn.
“The Post Office is not a priority for us,” he replied. “We get a better return on non-Post Office transactions. There’s a main post office in the city if you’d prefer to go there. That’s why The Post Office encourages people to use main branches,” he continued.
Awarding some points for honesty, I asked the shopkeeper if he could not see the black eye he had just given good customer service?
Not only could he not see it, his manager came over and explained the ‘logic’ to me all over again – but just a tad slower this time so I could fully comprehend what he was saying.
I begged them to stop speaking to me while we completed our interrupted transaction.
This incident stayed with me for about a week, until yesterday. I had to call The Post Office to find out if my experience really was a policy they accepted.
Thank the Lord, The Post Office were as appalled at my treatment as I was. (I love you Sue.)
I am encouraged, therefore, to sit beside the bedside of good customer service for a little while longer, with this glimmer of hope that it will come out of its coma soon.
Although, to be on the safe side, I’m keeping Father Michael’s number at the top of my speed dial.
MISs Make It Stop!