The "Cost" of Customer Service
When we moved to Tucson, a friend gave us a dining card --- you know, one of those buy-one, get-one-free deals. It was one on which the restaurant staff hole punches the card once we have used it so we can only use it once. For us, it was awesome as it is helping us get to know all sorts of restaurants in the area.
Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, we took the card to the middle of town to a Mexican restaurant (we joke that my goal for the next three years we are living in Tucson, I want to eat at every Mexican restaurant I can). When we entered, we saw they had a Sunday brunch going on. It looked marvelous----everything you could ever ask for, including mimosas. While I don't drink anymore, Dave would be happy to partake. The waitress took one look at our card and said, "It doesn't apply to the brunch". Hmmm....in my mine, I wondered what difference it made. We are paying for ONE thing and getting ANOTHER thing free----who cares if it is a $16 entree or the $14 brunch? At any rate, we were fine. We just ordered off the menu but felt the service that day was definitely geared to the brunch crowd rather than the "ordering off the menu" crowd.
Fast forward to last night. After an entire weekend of hosting two Open Houses, we were treating ourselves to a night out at a local Italian restaurant, once again with the card. The wait staff was attentive and the food was delicious! At the end of the meal, the waiter looked at our card and said, "I've taken off the price for the second entree but don't give me your card. If I don't hole-punch it, you can use it again." Now, technically, is he supposed to do that? Maybe not, but what harm does it do besides "inviting" us back for another chance to get hooked on their Northern Italian cuisine. Sounds like a win-win to me.
While both meals were great, I'm thinking we will return more often to the second one, and it's not even Mexican food! :)
What is the cost, then, of good customer service? The answer is limitless, I think.
Just for today, let's think about whether we are being good customers and/or providing customer service that invites folks to return to us.
In church on Sunday, we read James 3:11 which talks about how a spring doesn't spew forth both salt and fresh water.
I thought long and hard about this, as I am in the midst of writing a book about trust in schools. We, as leaders, or teachers, or....well, anyone, cannot expect to say we espouse certain beliefs and then act in a way that disputes that. Well, we can, but our reputation is shot if we do.
Let's look at an example. Say I believe in using only kind words. That doesn't mean I'm not honest. On the contrary, as a leader, I have to honestly critique myself and the folks whom I supervise. And employees want honest feedback---but there is no reason this feedback can't be both honest and kind. So, if that's not the problem, what is? Well, what if when I am not at work, I use a lot of curse words....just for effect in my speaking? We might say, "Hey, what I do in my private life doesn't have anything to do with my public life?" Au contraire, mon frere. The problem with that view of life is that it doesn't take into account that someone always sees us. Whether you take that to mean people are watching you or you are convinced that a Higher Power is always watching over you, depends entirely on your beliefs.
But I believe we cannot tout one belief while exhibiting an opposite action without confusing people.
What about leaders who say, "We have to work together" but then they never allow others to pitch in and build teamwork?
What about folks who say, "You can contact me anytime" but then are completely put out when they are contacted?
We need to act consistently with our beliefs or we will begin to look untrustworthy.
Just for today, be aware of what you are espousing and what you are doing.
Source of miscommunication
Do you recall all those sitcoms during the 70s and 80s that had the fake laugh tracks built in? I disliked the laugh tracks immensely because of the lack of authenticity. However, something bugged me even more and still does today when it is present. I remember specifically one episode of "Three's Company", in which one of the girls, John Ritter, and maybe even Don Knotts kept walking in one door and out another at varying times, thereby missing each other completely. If someone would have just stood still, they might have connected, but everyone was doing their own thing and on a complete different directional field from anyone else. It made me crazy!!! Just stop! I wanted to cry out to them.
I was thinking about this as Dave and I were talking about what we think makes people miscommunicate in the first place. I started laughing and said, "It's like one of those ridiculous episodes of 'Three's Company' when they are going in and out of doors missing each other!"
The problem occurs when we are going about our business without paying any mind to what other people are doing or have to say. We get so caught up in our own agenda, we forget to realize there are other agendas in the world. Maybe it's taking "minding our own business" to an extreme.
Take a minute to think back to the last miscommunication you had with a co-worker, spouse, significant other, or family member. What was the true source of frustration? I would love to hear your answers and even how (or if) it was resolved.
Just for today, let's take a look at the source of miscommunication and try to connect with the other people in our lives.