Whatever happened to customer service?

Broken Arrow Family Drug blog

  • about-us-img
  • 16 February 2010
    General stuff
    Comments: 0

    Whatever happened to customer service?

    It’s dangerous to post on your blog just after a bad experience. Something that starts out as a lesson could turn into a rant. I’ll just have to ask my friends to bear with me.

    If you deal with anyone in a person-to-person type of setting, then you’ve recognized that over the years, there has been a coarsening of society. Common courtesies such as “thank you” are now responded to not by “you’re welcome”, but “no problem.” The ability to count change back was lost somewhere during the 1970s. Filling an order incorrectly is not apologized for, but corrected with a “here you go!”

    You may have noticed that I did not describe the setting as a “retail” setting, but as a “person-to-person” setting. It was intentional, as my experience this morning was not in a traditional retail setting, but in a government-approved monopoly.

    I was getting my driver’s license renewed.

    I have decided that if a person has few people skills, likes every obscure government holiday off, and their middle name is “Lethargy”, then the tag agency is the perfect job.

    I awoke and prepared early this morning, with the intent of getting my license renewed before work. The agency opened at 7am, and I didn’t have to be at work until 9. My thought was to get there around 8am, and that would leave me plenty of time to get my license, get some breakfast, and get to work.

    Things looked good when I got to the agency. There was only 1 person in line, and they were there for a tag. It was my first time in the agency, so I had to figure out where to get in line for a license.

    Fortunately, there were multiple signs showing the way to an area at the back of the room. This area was clearly visible to all 3 employees who were working this morning. I walk to the area and one of the employees (seated) says, “We’re all out of driver’s licenses today!” Ha ha. I haven’t had breakfast yet. And little did I know how close she was to the truth.

    Now comes the point where I stand at the counter awkwardly. Other than the seated one addressing the lack of licenses today, no one else acknowledged my presence for about 5 minutes. Am I in the right place? Do I need to go to another window? Another employee (I’ll call her the walker) was walking around with a roll of paper towels and bags of some food-looking item. Do I ask her?

    Eventually, the woman who was working on the tag when I walked in came to the window. By now, two more people are in line behind me.

    “Are you here for a license?” Well, at least I’m in the right line. I hand her my old license. She asks if there have been any changes in my info.

    “No, maam.”

    She types a few keys, and then the fun really begins.

    First, the machine hadn’t even been turned on yet. Five minutes wait. And that was the least of it.

    If you’ve ever watched a license being produced, you know that the license is laminated, and spat out of the end of the machine. The license is laminated by a process where the “card” is sealed between two rolls of laminate. Today, neither roll of laminate was feeding correctly.

    It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, the lady would pull out both rolls of laminate, trim the ends, put it back into the machine, attempt to feed, watch it jam, and repeat the process.

    All the while, the phone is ringing off the hook. No one is answering it. Actually, the seated employee says, “This phone is just ringing constantly today. I wish it would stop.” She LITERALLY slaps the phone with her hand, without answering it.

    The walker comes by and asks the machine lady what flavor of popcorn she wants today. Seriously. We now have 4 people in line behind me for a license.

    I’m looking around the room at the pictures, as I know that if I stare at the lady working on the machine, I’ll just make her nervous. I see a sign that the agency charges a “$3.95 convenience fee” if I use my debit card for payment. Are you kidding me? I own a retail business, and I know that if a customer uses their debit card and PIN, I’m not charged anywhere near $3.95. Cha-ching! Nice little profit center you’ve got there. I’ll just pay cash, thanks.

    Eventually, my lady gives up on the machine. The walker sits down and takes a shot at it. Pull out, trim, insert, feed, jam, repeat. I’ve now been here 20 minutes.

    I see two newly-arrived employees talking, with one of them stating to the other that he was just “giving you s*it”. Sigh.

    Finally, God smiles on me and something works. I don’t know what happened, and I don’t care at this point. We’re making progress.

    Suddenly, a supervisor-type (maybe the politically-connected owner?) shows up. “How long has the machine not been working?” she asks the walker. “About ten minutes,” is the reply. The walker looks at me, knowing it was a bald-faced lie. “Maybe you should ask him.” I just smile and go on. 25 minutes, and now about 10 people in line.

    I smile, take the picture, and am told to wait another 5 minutes for my license. Finally, 30 minutes after entering, I receive the coveted license – with no apologies for the wait, no “thanks for your patience”, and no “thanks for your business”. There’s only a couple of tag agencies in our town, so they know they’ve got a captive audience.

    In thinking about this story, I could go in many directions for the “lesson of the day” – this is what government-run healthcare will look like, this is what service looks like at the $4 prescription store – but I’ll stick with the basics.

    When you come into our store, we greet you. We ask if we can help you, right away. We answer the phone. We don’t have some sort of “press 1 for this, press 2 for that” system. We get to know you by name. We count your change back correctly. We say, “Thank you.”

    And if we don’t get it right, I expect you to tell me.

    If you’re not receiving great service at your pharmacy, why not? When are you going to begin expecting better?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *