Efficient or Effective customer service? Process gone wrong

This is a true account of a day dealing with a large international company. It could have been any that operate without any care for their customers. Their competition is no better.

The office was recently remodelled. Instead of standing in line you went to a machine and selected what you wanted to do by pressing a button. A slip of paper appeared with a number on it. When the machine called your number over the loudspeaker you went to the appropriate window to conduct your business.

They had very comfortable sofas for the customers to sit and wait. So far this was very acceptable as I was tired after a long day.

A man entered just ahead of me and got a number before me: let’s say F242.

I sat and took out my diary and turned to the world maps. I began plan a hike, and remember others that I had done. I knew I would be there for a while.

F242 sat a little way from me and put his head back and relaxed. It was obvious that he too had a tiring day.

There were 7 customer service windows but as usual only 3 were occupied with staff and customers. About 5 customers were waiting to be served. Due to the paper work involved each transaction can take 20 minutes.

One customer service representative (CSR) was on a cell phone call while dealing with the customer. From her body language she was not telling her children to stop fighting and to read a book! Too many smiles!

Another CSR was busy strutting back and forth to show off her high heels, tight dress, donkey hair and very large posterior. As she walked  she would constantly flick her donkey hair and  look over her shoulder to admire her posterior to  make sure it was still following her. This caused much amusement to the customers who had resigned themselves to a long wait.

Steve was out from England and he went there later the same day. The CSR was still walking about. A few days later we were having a few drinks at Martins Bay and he described her in great detail, as only Steve can do.

Suddenly a small a discrete snore emitted for F242. It quickly rose to loud climax similar to Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss.

This caused the customers to smile. By this time a few numbers had been called. No one interfered with F242 and he continued to enjoy his sleep. Other numbers were called.

After nearly 1 hour the machine said in a flat monotone “F242 proceed to Window 3”. No one moved. The Speaker repeated it again.

After the third call and still no response the security guard came over, shook the man and asked what number he had. He fumbled for the paper and said F242. The guard told him to go to Window #3.

Some may blame the CSR and the local Management of the enterprise for this poor service. Maybe they are not totally to blame. In today’s corporate world the workers on the bottom have no value to the CEO or other “Big Boys” in the head office thousands of miles away. The directors and senior management draw inflated pay cheques. They fly first class to meetings, stay in top class hotels and play a few rounds of golf. When they return they give a press release using phrases like Downsizing, out sourcing, cost cutting. What this means is that some CSR’s will lose their jobs and will be on the breadline.

It does not mean that the CEO will get rid of his $400,000 car and fly economy class to stay in a Budget hotel for his next meeting.

What the top brass fail to recognise is that in a small community like Barbados everyone has a friend or family in all sorts of companies. Even the office maid knows the Directors salary, how much the hotel  and bar bills are and even has a copy of the invoice for his company car.

Why should they care if a Customer falls asleep while waiting?

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