Customer Service. Is it the end?
I used to be on several boards. I have worked over the years to try and benefit others. In the past, I have worked with non-profits that include: the Huntington Beach Playhouse, a theater and Faith’s Hope – a charitable organization which assists families facing debilitating, catastrophic illnesses. While I enjoyed the work, the time it takes me away from my own family, my own home, is sometimes difficult. It means I arrive home after 9:00pm, often twice a week. I had eliminated much of what I did outside of work except these last two assignments. They were both important to me and represented opportunities for me to give back, in what little way I coud.
I typically do not cook when I arrive home this late and I am trimming the amount of fast food my family eats as well as soda they intake, but there is not much available after 9pm. There is a franchise semi-fast food place called El Pollo Loco (The Crazy Chicken). It is amazing grilled chicken, tortillas, fresh salsas and salads. It reminds me of Port-o-Pit Chicken, a family fave when we lived in Northwest Indiana. I pulled into the drive-thru about five cars back and waited patiently as each car placed their orders and moved forward.
I knew I had hungry kids at home and so I was prepared with my order by the time I arrived at the speaker. I started to spill the details of my order, I was interrupted by someone with broken English. I had to ask him to repeat his statement. The gist of which was“We have no chicken.” I stopped, not fully comprehending what had been said and asked, “What did you say?” once more.“Chicken will be ready in thirty minutes.” I looked at the cars in front of me wondering what they had ordered. For they only served chicken-based meals. The words from the speaker seemed to echo in my head as I backed out of the line, thankful no one had pulled in behind me.
I was unhappy with the fifteen to twenty minutes I had wasted waiting; I wanted to be home with my children. I couldn’t understand why there wasn’t a sign blocking entrance to the drive-thru or an employee outside directing traffic away. Customer service was not put first. Customer retention was not put first. Building loyalty was not put first. It was as if no one cared, that we, the customers, should know better than to place an order after 9pm. This is Southern California, for God’s sake…
At that time, I was interviewing candidates for a Client/Customer Services Manager. Service is an important part of that title. The placement will need to put the client first, make the customer happy, solve issues, fix problems, as well as have an understanding of recruiters, how they think, why they think the way they do and learn a considerable amount about our technology. The job isn’t an easy one as is demonstrated every day by customer service individuals in other industries, including hospitality. But it is part of what keeps customers coming back. I probably will not return to that particular El Pollo Loco. Ever. Of course, the customer isn’t always right, but the customer is always the customer, the one who gives you their money, the one who talks about your business with others, and the one you hope comes back.
The customer is always the customer.