PET PEEVES – CUSTOMER SERVICE

stock-photo-waitress-taking-an-order-from-customer-144399877Nothing ruins my shopping or dining experience faster than poor customer service or employee’s oblivious to the presences of customers.

Here are some examples of situations I have encountered:

  • An employee verbalizing disbelief that he was doing what he believed to be a lowly job.
  • An employee telling the store manager she was going to be forced to get drunk because of an altercation with a customer (they were just chatting).
  • Employees using sarcasm when referring to their employer.
  • An employee putting blame on his supervisor for not taking action yet not taking action himself.
  • Supervisors dressing down employees within hearing of customers.
  • Employees not acknowledging a customer’s presence at a counter as they chat with other employees or employees as customers.
  • Employee retaliation by failing to acknowledge customer or giving poor customer service when they have been proven incorrect.
  • Employees complaining about each other, their supervisor, and/or the company they work for within hearing of customers.
  • popart-comic-retro-woman-talking-phone-vector-illustration-36967984Employees gossiping while using no concern or consideration for customers in hearing distance.
  • Employees talking on the telephone while waiting on customers or within sight and hearing of customers.
  • Lack of vital customer account information on companies’ websites.
  • Failure of call center employees being able to speak English well enough to avoid both parties having to repeat themselves.
  • Employees closing out a ticket as “problem resolved” rather than continue to pursue a solution to the unresolved issue.
  • Lack of even basic knowledge on the part of technicians engaged by telephone.
  • Incompetence of call center employees.

I will acknowledge that many of these employees are just starting out in the work force, however, it is my opinion that customer and employer loyalty and pride should be an important part of company training programs. Employees do not seem to recognize that every job they do is a stepping stone and training ground for the next job. As Danny says, “If you are going to do the job, don’t complain, if you are going to complain, don’t do the job.”

stock-photo-waitress-serving-senior-couple-breakfast-in-hotel-restaurant-207855637When I was in high school, my first job was at a pharmacy grill. The pharmacy was having difficulty keeping the job filled. I worked hard on customer service and went the extra mile cleaning the grill and every other part of the work area when I wasn’t busy. The pharmacy managers and owners were so pleased that they made an effort to keep me on when I was forced to quit due to transportation problems.

In adulthood, I had a job where there was heavy filing. I had a busy workload so I would go in on the weekend to file in order to keep the filing caught up. Sure, I was being paid overtime but I was also giving up personal and family time. I didn’t complain because someone had to do it and I knew I was very skilled in getting and keeping it done. That manager was unhappy when I transferred to another group as well.

My father had a dedicated work ethic and as his daughter, I followed in his footsteps. I believed that if I was going to take a job, I had to do the whole job regardless of what it entailed. I didn’t believe in having someone constantly tell me what to do and how to do it. So is it wrong to expect everyone to perform by the same yardstick? Perhaps my being a rule follower clouds my judgement or perhaps there are extenuating circumstances. However, isn’t that why there are procedures and rules? Don’t they help to prevent unhappy customers and aid in time management?

9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussingIt’s all too easy to just walk away and complain to your spouse, neighbors, friends and families. Yet, I believe that you don’t have a right to complain if you don’t do something about it just as you don’t have a right to complain about an elected official if you didn’t vote.

I make every effort to be a pleasant and patient customer but I have to admit that my frustration shows when my expectations are not met and expectations are resentments in the making.

How do you feel about the customer service you are receiving?

 

Gossip

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One of my pet peeves is when someone tells me something that someone else said about me and asks me not to tell the person who did the saying. I don’t tell the person who did the saying because I don’t intentionally want to stir up trouble. So, I stew over it and the resentment builds up and ends up coming out sideways. What I mean by “coming out sideways” is that like a pressure cooker, the anger, hurt and frustration build up until it blows, often directed at the wrong person. Its a no-win situation. I have started letting people know that I am not open to hearing what others say about me, especially if they are going to ask me not to say anything to that person. My grandson once told me that his friends said I am fat. I told him that it didn’t hurt me that they said it, it hurt me that he told me about it. I told him that I would have thought he wouldn’t want to hurt me like that. It seemed to have gone in one ear and out the other. He has heard adults gossip and stir up trouble and is waltzing down the same path.

 

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A counselor I went to had a really good grasp on gossip. Here is what he shared:

When someone tells me a piece of gossip, to ask myself why they are telling me this and why are they telling me at that time or to ask them these questions. Most often, the real answer is that they want to create chaos but if nothing else, it will make them stop and think about what they are doing. Another suggestion was to ask the person who is telling you something another person said about you, “I really would prefer to hear this from them.” or “I really need to hear this from them.” This suggestion could also be used in regard to gossip about other people.

 

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Do I gossip? I would have to say that I am a work in progress. I have consciously avoided gossiping recently. The thing I have learned about gossip, besides that it hurts the person or persons being gossiped about, is that it is an addiction like any other addiction. Here’s an experiment: Notice how you feel when you repeat gossip (if you do). Chances are you will get a high from participation in a gossip session. Also, try to stand by and listen to a gossip session without saying anything. And then, see what happens when someone tells you a tidbit of juicy gossip and you try not to tell anyone

 

9362132-bright-picture-of-young-woman-listening-gossipI think you will find as I have that it is, indeed, an addiction. You see, if you have had chaos in your life, that becomes your comfort zone because it is what you are accustomed to. You become addicted to chaos and because you need it to feel alive, you will cause chaos either unknowingly or knowingly. It’s sad really because you might have been a different person had you not experienced all that chaos. Understand that most of us don’t even realize that is going on within us.

 

 

3487178-dos-muchachas-j-venes-intimidaci-n-otra-ni-a-al-aire-libreWhen I was in elementary school, I made fun of a girl who rode my bus for being pregnant. I was repeating what I had heard and obviously didn’t care if I hurt her reputation or feelings, nor did I stop to realize that it was just gossip. Her mother called my mother to let her know what happened. My mother took me to their house and we sat down with her and her mother to talk about it. I don’t remember what was said but I remember being made aware of the seriousness of what I had done. I had to apologize and really meant it. I think my mother handled the situation very well. There was no screaming or punishment, I was made to face the girl and her mother in front of my mother and to face up to the hurt I had caused and the damage that was done. Even after the meeting with them, my mother didn’t treat me badly or stonewall me. My parents did not punish if you were honest, so for the most part, we were honest kids.

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I didn’t gossip much in high school because we were a pretty close-knit smaller school. I was friendly with the different groups, from the overachievers to the underachievers and hung out with the achievers even though I was an underachiever. Another reason I didn’t gossip was that my boyfriend “told” me not to. I was surprised at how easy it was not to gossip back then. I wish I could say it lasted but it didn’t.

9663423-shocked-mother-among-wild-little-girls-at-a-sleepoverI had a moment of epiphany recently after reading a post by nutsrok.wordpress.com about child abuse. I have known for a very long time that I am emotionally stuck at 15. When someone experiences a trauma, they stop growing emotionally at that age and I went through a very difficult time starting when I was 15. I shut down emotionally at that point and couldn’t even cry for at least a year. My epiphany was that the 15 year old inside me is defensive, needy, angry, insecure and fears abandonment. It is not me, the real me, that acts out and the adult in me is responsible for reining her in. I have gone through therapy after therapy and I know what needs to change but I don’t make the effort. I come to a point in therapy that I quit going because it doesn’t do any good if you don’t use what you learn. However, I still can’t keep myself from chasing the problem to find the answer. Children of Alcoholics often become self-help junkies. Then, there comes a moment of epiphany and I embrace the problem and take baby-steps, one day at a time, to overcome the negative thing that is ingrained in me. That is where I am today.

 

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I no longer want a life of chaos! I have had a taste of peace and crave more. I know now how important it is for me to parent that 15 year old girl. To stop her from destroying both of us and love her through the tough times. My question is, why did it take until I was 63 or is it 64? I truly don’t know how old I am because Danny and I are both young in our minds and hearts. Does it even matter?

FLOSS-PICKS

The latest craze in parking lot trash is floss-picks. Almost very time I get out of my vehicle I see one on the ground. I suppose it is one way to maximize your time – some people listen to self-help CD’s while they drive and others floss-pick their teeth. My hubby is one of these people. However, he doesn’t throw his out in the parking lot, he stashes it someplace in the vehicle for re-use. Is this the ultimate in cheap? He saves them at home too. I had a conversation about it one time with my mother. I complained to her about finding them here and there. I was expecting her to commiserate with me but instead I got “I do it too.” I asked her “You do what too?” and she told me that she reuses her floss-picks. I frowned and told her how gross I found it that our grandkids had a tendency to pick up my husbands used floss-picks and put them in their mouths. She said totally deadpan, “That would be gross.” I can’t help but laugh now when I think about it. When I see floss-picks in parking lots, I can’t help but harass my husband by texting him that he left his floss-pick in the parking lot again and ask if he wants me to bring it home to him. I don’t know what I expect when I send these texts because he just responds, “Yeah, go ahead, I don’t want to run out.” Wouldn’t you think a pharmacist would be more germ-conscious?

According to Nina Tadros of Tadros Dental, a piece of floss is made for one-time use. If reused, it will begin to deteriorate and even worse — it can introduce old bacteria to your teeth and gums, undoing the work you just did! Reusing dental floss or a floss pick can also pick up new bacteria from wherever you happen to store it. It’s really not a good idea to reuse floss on your teeth and gums. Many people experience bleeding when they floss (caused by flossing too hard, not flossing often enough, or simply because you are dragging a thin wire-like string across delicate tissue). If there is bleeding, there is breakage somewhere in you gums where bacteria can get into your blood system. Besides, floss is very inexpensive, so it won’t save you a significant amount of money to keep using the same piece of floss or floss-pick over and over.

Oh well, you choose your battles.

Public Restroom Ettiquette

One of my biggest pet peeves is lack of consideration for others in women’s public restrooms.

There is nothing worse than sitting down on a toilet seat to find belatedly that someone has urinated all over it. Because our mothers told us never to sit on a toilet seat in a public restroom, women and children squat over the toilet and urinate all over the seat and floor. Then I come along, pull down my jeans, and sit in urine while trying to hold the legs of my jeans out of the urine on the floor (though there’s no help for my shoes). You can bet that I utter a few expletives when I feel that familiar dampness on my behind. Even if I’ve discovered the wet seat prior to sitting down, I have to wipe the seat with toilet paper, being careful not to get it on my hands. which is disgusting to say the least . So by trying to avoid germs on their behinds, these “spritzers” are exposing the next person to their germs. Go figure.

Now we come to those who refuse to flush because they don’t want to get germs on their hands from the flush handle. Really, really gross! However, they will unlock the stall and open the door with their hands so what about the germs on the lock and door? Aren’t the same hands that flush the toilet going to unlock and open the door? O.K., so they wash their hands, but they use their germy hands to turn the water on and then use their clean hands to turn the faucet off so don’t the germs jump back on their clean hands when they turn the water off?

Then there’s the purse. There is usually a hook on the inside of the door to hang your purse but then the germy hands are used to remove the purse off the door and after hands are washed, there go the clean hands on the germy purse.

And of course, there’s the door leading out of the restroom. The germ-a-phobes don’t want to touch the door because it just has to have germs on it, so they use a paper towel to open it but what to do with the paper towel?  Yep, throw it on the floor.

Web MD says restroom paranoia might be a bit overdone. They say simple hand washing should be enough to knockout familiar and unfamiliar suspects like Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, E. coli and Shigella bacteria, Hepatitis A virus, the common cold and various sexually transmitted organisms if one’s immune system is healthy. Also that many people consider the toilet seat to be the playground for organisms responsible for STDs like Chlamydia or Gonorrhea. However, the toilet seat is not a common vehicle for transmitting infections to humans. Many disease-causing organisms can survive only a short time on the surface of the seat and for an infection to occur, the germs would have to be transferred from the toilet seat to your urethral or genital tract or through a cut or sore on the buttocks or thighs, which is possible but highly unlikely.

Abigail Salyers, PhD, President of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) says to her knowledge, no one has ever acquired an STD from the toilet seat – unless they were having sex on the toilet seat. Most viruses and/or bacteria would have to be contracted in amounts large enough to make you sick according to Judy Daly, PhD, Professor of Pathology at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The organisms that cause the Herpes virus or HIV don’t survive outside the human body especially not on a cold, hard toilet seat and to infect you, they need to enter through an open cut or sore or via a mucous membrane such as your mouth or rectum. We won’t go there.

“What about those paper seat covers?” you ask. Maybe if you fold them to increase the thickness so they don’t rip and fall apart or if you use double folded toilet paper it would at least make you feel safer, either of which will probably end up on the floor. In actuality, your skin is a very effective barrier to keep germs out if you don’t have a wound or lesion on your behind.

I did find out that germs in feces can be propelled into the air when the toilet is flushed. For that reason, it is advisable to leave the stall immediately after flushing to keep the microscopic airborne mist from landing on you. The greatest dispersal of the mist doesn’t occur during the flush but after most of the water has left the bowl says Philip Tierno, MD, Director of ClinicalMicrobiology and Diagnostic Immunology at New York University Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

The real danger in picking up and carrying around germs comes from your hands, warns Tierno. “The 10 dirtiest things are your fingers.” Germs left on your hands can be easily transferred to surfaces you touch or to your eyes, mouth or nose. The best way to scrub your hands is to rub your hands with soap lather for at least 20 seconds (the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) and be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. So you might want to use a paper towel to turn the faucet off. But please please dispose of the paper towel in the trash bin.

Now I am going to list 11 things more germy than toilet seats:

  1. Hotel/Motel Bedspread
  2. Purse Bottoms
  3. ATM Keypad
  4. Office Telephone
  5. Restaurant Menu
  6. Condiment Containers
  7. Grocery Carts
  8. Steering Wheel
  9. Kitchen Faucet Handle(s)
  10. Gym Equipment
  11. Swings and Monkey Bars

So even though my mother told me not to sit on a public restroom toilet seat, I refuse to squat in the air. I never have and never will. Nor do I use paper or my foot to flush or open, close or lock the door. I certainly don’t use my foot to turn on or off the faucet nor do I use paper (I do, however, wash my hands) and guess what – I have never gotten sick or caught infectious or sexual diseases from sitting on a toilet seat.