I’m A Trainer, not a Candlestick Maker. What?!

Posted on: May 9th, 2013 by Gina Trimarco 2 Comments

bad-customer-service1How many of you cringe when you hear “That’s not my job” or “That’s not in my job description”?

Lately it seems that I hear that a lot, said in a variety of different ways.  Here are some examples I have personally experienced recently …

TGIFridays (Myrtle Beach, SC): “I’m a bartender, not a butcher” in response to me asking the bartender the difference between a flat iron and sirloin steak.  Later found out it was his last night on the job.

Dollar Store (Myrtle Beach, SC):  A supervisor said to a cashier in front of other customers: “You tell the customers we ain’t got no more change for 100 dollar bills. We’re the Dollar Store, not Wal-Mart.” True story!

Spirit Airlines (Chicago O’Hare Airport): “I doubt that bag fits under the seat. That will cost you $100.” When I told the gate agent that I fly with this particular bag all the time on Spirit and it indeed fits she further escalated the situation by threatening to have me removed from the flight in addition to telling me she flagged me in the system.

Macaroni Grill (Chicago O’Hare Airport): A restaurant manager harassed a bar patron about her electronic cigarette telling her people get arrested for having guns and smoke in the airport, clearly not understanding the difference between smoke and vapors. Not sure why he had to bring up guns. His rudeness caused five guests to demand their checks immediately.

Now let’s hear it for some amazing service

Peabody Hotel (Orlando):  The cashier in the coffee shop thanked me by name from looking at my credit card. Yes, this small gesture exceeded my expectations!

Dana Hotel & Spa (Chicago): “Welcome Back Gina. Would you like us to explain the amenities again?” said Tim, the front desk person who knew I was a repeat guest but still followed his “script” to let me know what was happening at their property. This same hotel surprised me by delivering a fruit plate and water to my room as a gift (and knowing I eat healthy).

Macaroni Grill (Chicago O’Hare Airport): The bartender offered a guest an electronic cigarette as a gift (see story above about the rude manager). She was so delighted like a kid on Christmas, only to have the experienced squashed by a rude manager who told her she could be arrested. The poor bartender was speechless and powerless.

Capitol One & American Express (phone representative): I recently lost my wallet and all of my credit cards. Capitol One and American Express had the best service, exceeding expectations.  American Express is always amazing. They automatically overnight a new credit card at no charge. All of the other companies said they could do the same for $50, except for Capitol One who said they could make an exception for me upon my request.

AAA (phone representative): Quickly took care of my request to replace my lost AAA card, including emailing me a temporary card until my new one arrives in the mail. He concluded the call with “We’re triple A. We never close. Just let us know if you need anything else.”

For many of us, our expectations for adequate customer service are pretty low.  I now find myself going out of my way to give accolades when I experience average service. The poor attitudes of many employees can not only kill the customer/guest experience – it can also kill your business. This isn’t a new revelation, yet many companies do very little to change this reality. At the end of the day EVERYONE’S JOB is to provide excellent customer service and hopefully a positive experience. Every company has the same goal – to make money from their customers whether or not employees interact with customers/guests. Even if they’re interacting with each other they still need to provide excellent service. It IS their job. Now management just needs to reinforce that.

I’ve experienced so many of these situations lately that I’m giving some serious consideration to documenting all of them in a book and then providing suggestions of what the employee “should/could have done”.  Anyone interested in reading it?

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2 Responses

  1. Jan Igoe says:

    Very well written, Gina.

  2. Katie says:

    Sounds like a book in the making. If we could just get the worst offenders to read it! Good manners and a respectful attitude make such a huge difference in customer interactions.

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