Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Why is it so Hard to find Good Customer Service?

I am a customer service representative.   During my typical day, I probably take 25 phone calls.  We are trained to give good customer service.   Here are three examples....all from today.....that explain why it's getting harder and harder to give good service.

1.  An older man calls.  From the loud background noise, it's quite evident he is calling from a car.  (The bane of our existence.   We can't hear you!!! AND  you can't hear us!!!)  
Man:  I want to pay my bill.
Me:  Okay, what is your account number?
Man;  I don't know - I'm in the car
Me:  Okay, what is your phone number?  (no result)  What is your name?  (no result)  Spell your name (no result).  "Sir, I cannot find your account.   Can you call back when you have that available?"
Man:  (to his daughter who is apparently driving the car).  Do you have your membership card?  I need the account number.
Daughter: (yelling at man)  Just call back later!!
An argument ensues - I listen to every blasted word.   Finally the man recites a number and I pull up his account.
Me:  Okay sir, I found your account and I can take your credit card number now.
Man:  Oh, I don't have that on me.  Don't you have my card on file?
Me:  No sir, we only keep your card on file if you ask us to.
Man: Well, that makes no sense.  (totally the opposite of the usual, which is "What are you doing with my credit card number?  I never gave it to you!"  To which I want to reply, "I didn't pluck it out of thin air, dumbass!)   Okay, I guess I'll have to  call back later.
Total waste of 15 minutes of my time.

2.  Another man calls.
Man:  I want to pay my bill.
Me: Can I have your membership number?
Thankfully, the man provides it.
Man:  What is your name?  (Which I provided when I first answered the call)
Me: Karen
Man:  What is your last name or your employee number.
Me:  I'm sorry sir, we don't provide that information over the phone.
The man went ballistic!
Man:  that's just bullshit!  You have all my information and you won't give me yours??  I'm going to cancel my membership.   RANT RANT RANT  What if you do it all wrong and I have no one to call back?   I offered to email him a receipt....nope!
Finally I interrupt -
Me:  SIR - I cannot give you my last name.
Man:  I guess you weren't listening!  I said your last name OR - that's O-R, your employee number.
Me:  I cannot give you either of those.   (I could have given him my extension, but frankly I didn't want this obnoxious twit to have my information)
Me: Sir, I can give you member relations if you wish to speak to them further about this.
Man:  RANT RANT RANT - Let me speak to your supervisor!
Without a word I transferred him to member relations.  God Bless those folks for having to deal with these crazies.
Another total waste of 15 minutes of my time.

And finally - my favorite

My coworker received this call.

Woman:  I want to pay my bill
Mary:   Okay, can I please have your membership number?
Woman:  Oh hold on.............
Mary then sits and listens as the woman takes someone's pizza order. Apparently the woman was at work at the the counter of a pizza place.  Mary listened while the order was taken (extra cheese), the credit card was given, including the billing address and the order was completed.   Now Mary figures finally the woman will come back and continue her call to us.   Nope.  Mary hears the woman again say, Can I take your order?
At this point Mary hung up.
Another 15 minutes of wasted time.

Sadly, this is not an unusual day!   This kind of stuff happens every single day.

So, when you are waiting in a queue for hours for a service counselor to help you, it's not necessarily that we are understaffed, or not answering phones or whatever.   It's that we have a bunch of doodlebugs taking  up our time!  And when your customer service representative is being cranky, take into account the 20 other calls she took before yours, and what she's had to deal with.

And my rant is shouldn't get me started!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Children's Museum with Audrey and Elise

Hubby and I had the great good fortune to take our two littlest grandkids out for a day of adventure!   Son and daughter-in-law wanted to do some things in the house, so Memere and Pepere took the kids off their hands for the afternoon.  And what a pleasure it was!

These two little girls are the most well-behaved, happy and accommodating kids ever.   Interestingly, they couldn't be more different.  Audrey is  3 3/4.  She is quiet, calm, and almost a little timid to try new things.   And her little sister Elise is 15 months and hell on wheels!  She doesn't walk...she runs! and climbs!!  

We got to the museum and the place was packed!  I was quite dismayed when they told us there was a 1/2 hour wait to get into the Museum!  Unbelievable!  So they gave us a number, and we went to check out the new outdoor area - a treehouse!

The Treehouse was huge, with all kinds of interesting, natural materials to see and touch.   Audrey and Elise looked out the child-height windows into the back area where there's a huge swing and playground.

There were books in every area of the Museum.  Pepere shows the girls a book all about leaves.

There was a tent set up with sleeping bags for the kids to try out.

We finally went to check and see if it was time to get into the museum.  It was our turn!!   We skipped the first room that had a Brio train set-up.  Way too crowded and with some quite unruly little kids!

The second room had all different size balls that you could put into ball ramps and watch them go through the tunnels all around the room.   Both Audrey and Elise loved this room.  When Elise grew tired of the balls, she spent the rest of the time going up and down the small set of stairs!

The next room had a water table.  They had nice rubbery plastic smocks for the kids to wear over their clothes.   Elise immediately stood next to another little boy her size and went to town splashing water like crazy!   You can see by Audrey's face what she thought of that!

Elise didn't mind a face full of water!

Audrey was smart enough to go around to the other side of the table where it was quieter!

After awhile, I could see where this was going and knew I'd have a soaking wet kid, so I decided it was time to move on.  It was the one and only time either girl squawked, and it was Elise who was not happy to be pulled away from the water.  Her "fussing" lasted all of two seconds until she saw what awaited her in the next area.

The Museum had all kinds of cubbies and small, comfy areas for the children to investigate.  This is a tiny room under the stairs with a fish tank in the wall.

Pepere wanted to see too, even though he was a little too large for the space!

The next room was Audrey's favorite.  It was dark, and set up like an outdoor campfire!  The fire pit "glowed", and someone had made some giant marshmallows on sticks so you could roast them over the fire.   Audrey loved those marshmallow sticks - so she called it the "Marshmallow Room".   They had a "tree"you could crawl into, and a sheet set up with light behind it so you could make shadow puppets.

Elise's favorite part of that room was the itty-bitty slide just her size!  She must have gone up and down that slide 100 times!

This room had vacuum hoses pushing air out, so the kids could see how they could make things move with the power of air.

Another favorite, where we spent a lot of time, was "Bessie's Diner".   All set up like a diner with tons of fake food and dishes, a stove, etc so the kids could cook and serve customers!  (Bessie's Diner shows up on Google Maps as a real diner - although the comments say things like "food tastes kind of plastic"!)

Elise finds a friend!

At the top of the house is a room made to look like a ship with ocean-themed activities.

Audrey shared a boat with a new-found friend.

There was a little cubby area under the eaves filled with soft pillows and a lighted sand table - Audrey, Elise AND  Pepere enjoyed that very much!

After a couple of hours, Memere and Pepere were done!  (Although the kids could have kept going forever!)

We took them for lunch at Friendly's, where they each go their own kids' meal of mac and cheese and hotdogs, milk and ice cream.

Elise dove in with hands and cleaned her plate!

What a tremendous day of fun for all of us!