Tag Archives: may I help you?

SERVICE Industry

Let me once again re-iterate the word SERVICE. That means the service of your customers or potential customers, You know, those people who pay your salary.

One of the most common complaints today, is with the voice dripping with condescension on the other end of the line when one calls to make a reservation in a pricey restaurant. First, you are put on hold, then told they are incredibly busy and will be back in a moment, then the breathless ‘hello’ as if your time is of no interest or value to them. The negotiation as to the time and day the restaurant will deem to allow you into it’s hallowed halls to pay for overpriced, over spiced food. One must wonder what exactly goes through the head of these individuals. One trendy fusion Asian-French Restaurant kept us on the phone waiting for well over 10 minutes to make a simple reservation. No, 8pm wasn’t acceptable, but 8:45 was, but a lecture to tell us that we must absolutely arrive on time. We arrived early on the appointed night, to discover an amazingly pretentious greeter, a half-empty restaurant, good tables which were empty, terrible tables full, an attitude when we suggested that we didn’t want the assigned table, and mind-numbingly slow bad service. By 10pm the restaurant was 3/4 empty. The staff spent the entire evening fussing and preening themselves in front of the mirrors, and actually complaining about the clients. The food was totally unimaginative, the setting a very poor rip-off of a well known London Restaurant, prices over the moon, a grotesquely over-priced and not exciting wine list, and washrooms which weren’t the cleanest or most interesting off in Siberia. Furthermore, I can’t possibly imagine how someone older and not totally mobile was expected to be able to reach them- up stairs, around a corner, down a corridor. Forget wheelchair access.

Somehow, it is assumed that if you can afford to frequent these trendy restaurants, that you aren’t stupid. Obviously one must be intelligent enough to have worked for the cash in your pocket. What on EARTH are these people thinking? That clients are stupid and blind and we can’t see that with all your advertising everywhere, that your restaurant is half empty and all the staff seem to care about is their own image?

The same things apply with ‘Customer Service’ desks in shops, banks and government departments. How many times have you reached the counter only to have a rude employee look over you as if you are invisible, put a sign on the wicket and walk away, even though you are the only one in the queue. You are then expected to wait for 30-70 minutes while they either go on ‘break’ or for lunch. Forgetting that your time is also of value, and presumably you took time off work to be there. Spending the 5 minutes serving you would not have been such a hardship for them. And the polite response that you are the last one before they go for their ‘break’ or lunch.

The endless being put on hold on telephone ‘Customer Service’ lines, to wait over 20 minutes sometimes, only to have someone from half way around the world with a bad accent, who doesn’t understand two thirds of what you say, is rude, and finally hangs up on you because they don’t want it to appear that they couldn’t answer your question.

If you are being paid to provide a service, smile, provide the service, THANK your customer, they are the ones paying your salary, and then move on to the next. If you are having a bad day, don’t blame it on the people paying your wages.

Somehow there seems to be a common thread – treat your clients like ignorant children and think they will flock to continue to do business with you. With the internet today, word tends to get around at the speed of light. One has to pity the investors in some of these ventures, as they are usually not aware of how poorly the clients are treated. With all the social networking services available both on mobile phones and the internet, it is seconds today from being in business to being ruined. Companies should remind their ‘Customer Service’ Representatives about this fact.