Sunday, September 12, 2010

We Evaluate the term - Service

Gary and I purchased our bed and breakfast more than 11 years ago and we evaluate the term Service nearly every day.

We are, chronologically at least, above middle age. In writing that I laughingly remember when I was 45 and my Mom and I were discussing the term, "middle age." She said, "You know, it's crazy that people call 45 middle age. That is overly optomistic for most actuarial tables." She was right of course. The median age of death is usually not 90.

I am sure if you are of this certain age and can remember clearly when things weren't like they are now you miss those times as much as we do.

There was a time in what now seems like a faraway land when the following was the norm:

When you called a business during working hours a real person answered the phone. Just that very action, answering the phone, speaks volumes.

You have made an appointment. In making this appointment it was stressed that you be on time. In respect and awareness of the time of others and their scheduling issues you arrive promptly on schedule, only to wait hours for your appointment. Clearly, in this scenario, respect for time is only important when the time is theirs.

If a service needed to be performed on your car, likely you could take the car in, explain the current problem and they fixed the car. Taking the car back repeatedly for the same problem was not the norm.

In stores, a clerk or salesperson generally sought you out. If your request was something they did not possess the knowledge to deliver, unprompted, they sought out the answer and provided it. They wanted your business and it showed. They did not act as though your presence was an intrusion on their texting or cell phone call. You were their priority because they had a clear understanding that fulfilling your need was relevant to their having a job and keeping it.

Now, I am not saying this type of service and delivery was present every day and every time but I am saying it was infinitely more consistent than it is now. A big part of this was the understanding that if one is in the service industry that entails trying to deliver whatever service one is offering. There seems to have been better accountability, pride in accuracy, genuine self appreciation for a job well done and that one's word and promise of delivery actually meant something. It meant something to the customer in branding and loyalty and perhaps more importantly it said something about us. It said we were responsible, it said we understood value, it said we had enough self pride that doing the job well was a reflection of who we are as individuals. Our own respect for ourselves would be sufficient motivation to try and render a good showing the first time making it unnecessary to "work the customer to death" to get the job done or service rendered they had paid for in good faith.

I find myself wondering as I hold the phone waiting for a very long time to see which number I am to press to be directed to my needed department only to have it answered by someone not having the answer to my query, nor any particular industry to obtain it...Is there really any wonder why unemployment is skyrocketing? Are we really so clueless that we don't understand why many of the jobs in the United States of America are being shipped to other locations? Are we going to remain so closeted in our supreme arrogance we fail to understand that we gave many of them away with poor consistently poor service, undeniable shoddiness and complete lack of caring as we texted and tweeted ourselves into obscurity?


Patti and Gary Wiles,  Innkeepers 

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