Saturday, June 25, 2011

Customer Service - A Dying Art

I have become my mother. I find myself all too often referring to how things were “back in my day.” I guess I knew this time would come, though I swore for many years I would never be one of those people. But apparently it is a requirement of the aging process to get that way. It is part of the grand scheme of life for things we took for granted to start to lose their luster, thereby forcing us old fogeys to make comparisons.

For six weeks now, I have been “communicating” with my insurance company over hail damage to my car. I have been with the same company for many, many years and I have always been more than pleased with their service. But the ball got dropped on this one, actually, it got dropped three times. It was on my mind while driving this morning because I had a voice mail from a manager wanting to discuss the claim. 
I decided to pull into Mickey D’s for an iced tea. In the south, sweet iced tea is the equivalent to the nectar of the gods. It is one of my many vices, so I try to limit myself to one or two a week on special occasions. I was headed to my daughter’s to help her get the house ready for my grandson’s first birthday party this weekend. I knew that big, old 99 cent iced tea would taste good while cleaning house and working up a sweat. Indeed, this qualified as a special occasion.

I pulled my car flush with the ordering speaker and waited for instructions to speak. “I’ll have the 99 cent sweet tea please,” I ordered politely.
“Hdahiw wkhcowb aschowdho shbcia,” was the response I heard. I sat there stunned, not knowing if I should ask her to repeat it, say my order again, or just drive forward. It was just a tea, nothing complicated. So I decided to drive to the payment window and hope for the best. I gave the cashier my one dollar and eight cents, and inched forward to the pickup window.

A nice young man gave me a wide grin and handed me my tea. I looked at him a little confused and he said, “Do you need something else?
“A straw please,” I replied.

“Your Egg McMuffin will be right up,” he said as he handed me the straw. Now I got a really confused look on my face and he knew something was wrong. “I didn’t order an Egg McMuffin,” I said.
“What was your order?” he inquired. Now he had the confused look on his face.

“Just a tea. But I ordered the 99 cent large tea,” I explained. He took the small tea back and grabbed the correct sized tea from the counter and handed it to me. I noticed something dripping down the side of it. It looked like milk.
“Can you wipe this, there’s something dripping down the side,” I requested.

“Oh my gosh,” he said as he took it back and grabbed a napkin. “Sorry about that,” he apologized.
“No problem,” I lied. I smiled at him, told him to have a nice day and drove off.  It was not a day of good customer experiences for me so far. But hey, I am working hard on not sweating the small stuff. After all, I live my life as a turkey sandwich now. So I got the wrong tea, he exchanged it, he wiped the dripping foreign matter off the side, he smiled and told me also to have a good day. Move forward, go enjoy my grandson and the rest of my day. Besides, a good long sip of this yummy sweet tea is going to taste great.

Imagine the look on my face when my mouth filled up with unsweetened tea! Yuck!
And that’s when I started mumbling about how customer service today is not like it was “back in my day.”

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