Wednesday, January 28, 2009

At your service ...... If I wish

Some days don't work out very well. I mark them as learning days in my calendar. Yesterday was one such day. It showed me different shades of attitude problems among service providers and how it impacts their customers. Though this is a service related issue, I am writing this post in a Sales blog since attitude towards customer service is critical.

Pic Courtesy - Imageshack

Morning 6:30 am: I travel to Pune Railway station to catch the Deccan Queen Train to Mumbai. At the station, I discover that my wait-listed ticket has not been confirmed, so I cannot take the train. Reason – The person in our office who booked my tickets showed a callous attitude. Inspite of my calling him on Friday @ 5 pm, with more than 3 hours available to book the tickets on Friday, he finally booked my tickets on Saturday evening. The reason for delay, he never checked the requisition about which date tickets were required. Outcome – tickets with wait-list of 40. Further, no attempt was made to try alternatives.

My perception of his Attitude: Callous, Insensitive and Indifferent.

Morning 7:30 am: I then returned home to catch a cup of tea and rush to office. I decided to use the opportunity to drop my daughter at the bus-stop, something which I rarely get to do with my hectic travel schedule. At the bus-stop, I encountered one of the strangest behaviors seen from service providers. As the bus approached us while we stood at the bus stop, the driver saw us standing at the stop, but decided to pass us by, for some strange reason go to the next stop, pick up those kids, then come back and pick up my daughter. This took around 10 minutes during which time we kept wondering whether the driver is going to come back to pick us up or we are expected to reach school ourselves. His reason in his own words – So what if we had to wait another 5 minutes and keep wondering about this?

Attitude seen: Contempt for the customer, not acting in the interests of the customer.

In both cases above, the outcome was the same. I have taken steps to begin the process of replacing the service providers. They have lost my trust. Neither of them intended this outcome. Neither of them started the day saying they are going to attempt to loose their jobs today by treating their customers badly. It was their attitude which was their un-doing.

Do your customers ever get this feeling? I often look back at interactions with customers and think if any aspects of my behavior contained shades of poor attitude. Poor attitude is never by desire. It is by habit. In most cases, it is unknown to the person who exhibits that poor attitude. The difficult part is that one only gets to know about poor attitude when it is too late. Sphere: Related Content

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