edited: Saturday, December 29, 2001
By Jeffrey W. Bennett
Posted: Saturday, December 29, 2001
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Lack of good service in the service industry
I will never understand what happened to employees appreciating patrons. Whether working in a store, restaurant or any other business establishment, many service personnel don=t seem to take pride in their work. I haven=t figured out the reason for this, but I figure they must have learned it from somewhere or somebody. Maybe it is the present mentality in America that expresses the popular misconception of Awe are owed. something. Or maybe it is that the feelings permeating some minds that suggest that big business deserves to be Aripped off. because of their success.
At any rate, I am upset for feeling obligated to be overly kind to a clerk, server, or anyone providing a service. Many times I am dismayed at having my purchases are tallied by an outwardly unpleasant individual. What riles me is feeling guilt of having to initiate acknowledging a transaction. Granted, it is great to greet somebody, but as a customer I should at least know that this person is greatful for my patronage. I expect to be welcomed and thanked, not to thank them for being in business for me.
With all these feelings of guilt that I am bearing, how can I enjoy my purchase. Lately, when prices seem to be skyrocketing and a few bucks won=t buy the services they used to, it is important for consumers to feel they received their money=s worth. Whether I buy a hard purchase or an amount of time from a server, it is important that I feel like I received a good deal.
I love small talk and exchanging greetings. The key word is exchange. It is foul to have someone attend me with a scowl on their face. Is their unhappiness my fault? Did I force them into their job? To ease my false guilt I almost apologetically say something nice in a feeble attempt at pleading to them that their present situation is not my fault. In the same way I have tipped in a restaurant just because the server was not rude and was not late with my order. Why should that be? Should I greet someone or tip them to hide my guilt, or because I appreciate their service?
There are many examples of my frustration with today=s workforce, and I=m sure you can list many of your own. My first concern is with servers. I recently went to a restaurant with my wife and the person had to ask which of us had soda and which had water. Keep in mind that there were only two of us there.
On another occasion my wife went shopping at a grocery. For some reason she could not get anyone to ring up her purchases. It seemed that the cashiers were carrying on in horseplay and didn=t want to be bothered. Finally, after insisting on being helped one reluctantly came to her rescue. However, he was no hero. When she asked the bagger not to put bananas on top of grapes, he looked confused and said Awhy, because they=ll get squished?.. Is it too much to ask people to pay attention to their tasks?
I could speculate that employers aren=t instilling pride in their workers. I realize most of the jobs I see people dissatisfied with are part time or low paying full time jobs taken by younger people, but there is no excuse for lack of professionalism. This work experience should be a spring board for them to develop interpersonal relations. This is a great skill that many people lack, and is vital in the pursuit of personal, business, and professional success.
Keeping in mind that no one is immune from terrible service or faulty merchandize, we do have the ability to solve problems ourselves. Just as we can=t rely on police alone to clean up our communities, instead it requires community involvement. We encourage these situations if we don=t bring them to light. I have yet to find any business without customer satisfaction/complaint forms. Let them know how the service is. Positive reenforcement works too, so fill them out if the service deserves good comments as well.
When expressing a complaint be precise about the incident and remember details and do so immediately before you forget. Don=t feel guilty either. The person will not be fired because of your one complaint in fact, through proper training that person can become a better worker. If poor service is a constant problem, the manager is made aware of the situation and can deal with it properly. With time, service in your area can be a more pleasant experience.
Along with expressing verbal dissatisfaction, adjust the tip according to the service. As mentioned earlier, don=t reward feeble attempts at service. Minimum standards don=t exact healthy rewards.
Managers should also reflect on their businesses and take the initiative to instill pride in their workers. I feel peoples= pride in their jobs ended when big business replaced "mom and pop" operations. People don't feel the pride an owner takes in his or her business. This is not an excuse. People can own their job and take pride in the service they give. A great way to keep this morale up is to tell the intent of the establishment, show motivational films, and show excitement and enthusiasm to the people whom you supervise. Another great way is to display unwillingness to tolerate unacceptable behavior, and let workers know that they are not owed or guaranteed a job.
Work is a privilege that we all should take pride in. No matter what our business is, we should perform our best. We are not owed our jobs, rather we earned them. We earned them by learning how to do them well, or by stepping up into them through education or resumes that prove our ability to perform well. This is what we should expect of others. We can bring about a revolution within our working communities. One that doesn=t tolerate feelings of being owed, but rather, feelings of owing our services to the industry.
Jeffrey W. Bennett