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When employees don’t care about customer service…

So I had a nearly catastrophic event happen today. If it were not for me trusting my gut it would have ended badly.

Let me tell the story.

I had to meet a client at a local restaurant in Naples, Florida. I had a lot of things with me that I had to hand off to them and thus was a tad bit harried. Plus the fact that I was running late for another appointment meant that the normal focus was not there. Keep in mind the word focus.

I met the client for a half hour then dashed off to the other meeting and finally made it back to the office at 4pm. As I was unloading, I noticed that I was missing my thumbdrive.  On this thumbdrive is everything. Now granted I do have copies of everything on the thumbdrive, it’s just spread over 2 machines and 2 external drives-so that little 3 inch long, black USB drive is my one stop shop for docs and what not. It’s vital.

It was missing and panic set in.

I backtracked and concluded that it had to be at the restaurant, so I decided to call them. Here’s how it went down.

Me: Hi I was wondering if you could do me a favor…I…

Them: Hold please

Me..Ok

5 minutes later

Them: Hello? (In a thick foreign voice)

Me: Hi was wondering if you or someone there could do me a favor. I think I left or lost my flash drive in the chair near the fireplace. Could you look for me?

Them: A what?

Me: A Flashdrive, it plugs into a computer, it’s black, about 3 inches long and made of plastic. I think it’s in the chair i was sitting in near the fireplace.

Them: What?

Me: A Flashdrive, it plugs into a computer, it’s black, about 3 inches long and made of plastic. I think it’s in the chair I was sitting in near the fireplace. It’s either in the chair or table.

Them: Ok.

5 minutes later

Them: (A new voice) Sir we couldn’t find it.

Me: Do you know what you were looking for? I mean that seemed awfully quick.

Them: Sure, but we couldn’t find it.

Me: Uhhh, OK. Can I give you my name and number?

Them: Sure hang on. (another 5 minutes)

At which point I had to repeat my phone number at least 4-5 times and wondered whether she really wrote it down. I say thanks and she says, “Yep”.

I got off the phone and thought to myself, that a) they didn’t look,  b) nor did they care to look, and c) nor did they really know what they were looking for and d) could care less.  I decided right then and there to make the drive back over and look for myself and this is what I saw when I went back to my chair.

Is this thumb drive hard to see? on Twitpic

Look closely. Understand that my camera phone is not a high rez camera but come on-Is this really that hard to see here? What do you think it looked like in person? Talk about being mad, lucky, relieved and disappointed all in one fell swoop! Customer service indeed. I know they are a restaurant but come on help me out here. It would be no different if it was an iphone- the fact of the matter is that they did not look. They didn’t care and thus when employees don’t care about the customer, or customer service, you’re screwed.

Yesterday afternoon, I really wanted to name names and based on a very large group on Twitter, I was given the green light to do it, but that’s not really my style. I will say this, there is chance for this restaurant to get it’s act together. We’re not talking about food quality here, but we are talking about an experience that a customer could share with others.

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8 Responses to “When employees don’t care about customer service…”


  1. 1 Mike P April 16, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Just imagine if they actually looked and found it. You would have Tweet’d the story no doubt, and would have definitely mentioned them by name, probably the employee as well. Given you ~4,000 followers, some of them in your local area, you would have been able to drive business their way, no doubt.

    I do commend you for not mentioning their name though.

    The “service” that you received had nothing to do with the food or the service while you were there. IMO, this is “additional service” that every business needs to consider being part of their regular service. This type of service makes a huge difference and is what separates the winners from the losers.

    Mike P | @mikepascucci

  2. 2 productionengineer April 17, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Where does one draw the line between wanting fast, efficient, thorough customer service and assuming that everyone in the world is your servant because you once threw them a $3 tip?

    Could the long waits on the phone have been due to the need to address and serve the customers who were physically at the restaurant at the time? You know, caring about their customers in the manner that is expected of them (ie Serving them food)

    And if you were waiting at the restaurant to be seated, would you have complained about the long wait as multiple people were talking on the phone?

  3. 3 marc meyer April 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    @Mike, thanks and you were right, it had nothing to do with food or service but it had a lot to do with representing the company and the restaurant.

  4. 4 marc meyer April 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    @production.. I think you missed the point. The long wait on the phone didn’t bother as much as the fact that the employees did NOTHING and then treated my request and phone call with such a complete lack of disdain and legitimacy.

  5. 5 Jane W. Meade April 20, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Since this is a place you like to conduct business and since you have a photogrph that shows how you easily found your Flashdrive, I suggest you print out this Blog and the comments and send a copy to the Store Manager. Let them know that you value them as a place to meet with Clients and because you understand Customer Service, you felt they might want to know how this went down.

    Assure them that had their staff found the item for you, you would likely have sent a Gratitude letter to them also, to applaud the Staff’s Good Customer Service.

    You just want to let them know what you experienced.

  6. 6 marc meyer April 21, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    @Jane, not a bad idea…

  7. 7 Michael April 25, 2010 at 4:23 am

    They did not care, to care. One of the problems with TIP motivated help, there was no quick tip in it for them. Most FOH employees will not even do the work to set themselves up for success muchless go out of thier way to help others. The less than 30 seconds it would of taken could of yielded a ton of appreciation, $, down the road from Marc, but they could not see past the end of their nose.

  8. 8 marc meyer April 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    @Michael, good points- what’s the old line? Good service, people tell 5 people-bad service, people tell 5,000?


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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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