– Where is the cooperation and common courtesy?

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Ever have a day where it seems it is almost impossible to get anything done? I’ve been experiencing a lot of these lately, as have my friends, and I’m not too sure why they occur. Let me explain by providing three examples which you might possibly be able to relate to. Even though these are minor incidents, they blossomed into ugly affairs and threatened business.

First, I was recently charged with obtaining a special plaque for a nonprofit organization I belong to. I had produced a mock-up of what I wanted, complete with text and graphics. The only problem was that my old trophy vendor retired, and I was forced to locate another one. A friend recommended another company, claiming he had used them for years and knew they could perform the task for me. I called the store and talked to a woman about my project. She said she would be happy to look at it, but I would have to get there before they closed at 5:30pm. So far, so good. I arrived at 5:00pm. As I entered the store there were two women behind the front counter sitting at their desks typing on computers. As I approached, I cheerfully said, “Good afternoon ladies; beautiful day out there, isn’t it?”

They displayed no emotion and didn’t reply. Although unlikely, I thought perhaps they hadn’t heard me. I then said, “My name is Tim Bryce, I called earlier about having a plaque made here.”

One of the ladies looked up at me, stone faced, and asked what I wanted. I judged her to be about my age, but it appeared she couldn’t care less as to my needs. I explained what I needed and showed her my mock-up. It wasn’t a complicated order, and I said my friend had something similar produced there which I would like to duplicate. This caused her to dig through her computer files to find my friend’s order and a description of his plaque. She then showed me a blank version of the plaque which I agreed would suit my needs.

After giving her my name, number, and e-mail address, I thought I was finished. Far from it. She insisted I send her the text and graphics by e-mail so they could just cut and paste it into their engraving software. She also pointed out I would incur a $30 fee for converting my graphics into another file format. I told her I could do the conversion for her, but it didn’t matter, I was still going to be charged $30. Finally, she said they would need seven business days to complete the job. Keep in mind, she wasn’t asking for my approval, it was kind of “take it or leave it” with the emphasis on “leave it.” It seemed she went out of her way to try and kill the deal. If I hadn’t been in such a good mood that day I probably would have told her to shove it where the sun doesn’t shine, but I let it go. I finally left the store shaking my head in bewilderment.

The second incident involves a restauranteur friend of mine who told me a story about his credit card machine going down due to an interruption in his Internet service. In all, the service was knocked out for approximately 15 minutes, but this didn’t satisfy one of his patrons who was eager to pay his bill and be on his way. My friend explained to him the problem he was experiencing and if the man could pay with cash or wait just a few minutes for the service to restart. This did not sit well with the patron who started to become belligerent. When my friend asked if the man had cash, the patron became more irritated and vocal. He said he had to leave and would stop back later to pay the bill. This, of course, did not sit well with my friend, who went out and recorded the patron’s license plate number. Interestingly, the man could have easily walked next door to a bank with an ATM to obtain cash, but he rejected this proposal outright and insisted on leaving. In other words, there was no interest in solving the problem amicably. To my knowledge, the man never returned to pay his bill, and he will likely never darken the door of my friend’s restaurant again.

The third incident involves another friend who sells industrial supplies to manufacturing companies in the Tampa Bay area. Recently, he visited one of his larger accounts. His contact there was pleased to inform him that she just issued a purchase order to his company for some supplies. He thanked her for the order, but as he studied it, he discovered it was incorrect in that she was entitled to a volume discount, which obviously pleased her. “Not to worry,” my friend assured her, “I’ll have my office correct it on the Order Confirmation which we’ll send you shortly.” He then dutifully called his office, talked to the people in charge, and reported to her that all was corrected and she’ll receive the confirmation shortly. She thanked him for saving her money before he left.

Three days later, the woman called my friend asking where the Order Confirmation was as she hadn’t received it. My friend checked on it and discovered the people hadn’t processed the order yet, which upset him greatly as it was rather simple procedure to perform. Days later, the woman still had not received the Order Confirmation and phoned my friend to tell him of her displeasure, and that it may threaten future orders.

All three of these incidents were relatively small and insignificant, yet they rippled into having an adverse effect on business. It seems people are going out of their way to irritate others, unnecessarily I might add. Such incidents should never occur, yet they are becoming more frequently these days. As another example, during the holidays, my mother wanted to send a Boneless Ham, fully cooked with a crunchy glaze to one of her neighbors. She contacted the local ham franchise (Yes, it was one of the big ones) and asked a clerk how much it would cost to purchase a whole ham and have it delivered. The clerk quoted a delivery price more than the cost of the ham. When my mother contested the price, the clerk became flustered and couldn’t answer the question. They obviously lost the order simply because the clerk was clueless and made no effort to solve the problem.

In theory, we have the finest technology available to us for communications and office management; technology which is intended to simplify our lives, not make it more complicated. So, why do we keep tripping over our jocks? It baffles me when people seem to come down with a bad case of the stupids over the simplest things. There is no spirit of cooperation or common courtesy anymore over the most mundane tasks. Is it that we rely too heavily on technology as opposed to brain power or do we no longer care? Historically, customer service meant bending over backwards to help customers, thereby allowing them to leave satisfied. I am not asking people to make a herculean effort, just some simple “please and thank you” and a little cooperation can make life so much easier to live, but I guess that is too much to ask in this fast paced world of personal technology.

Related articles:

“Easter Island Statues” (Mar 02, 2012)

“Indifference in Customer Service” (Jul 31, 2015)

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2016 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  LEARNING A LOT FROM VOTER REGISTRATION – Just sit and listen to the people; you will get an earful.

LAST TIME:  TEMPERATURE SENSITIVITY  – We may not be cognizant of it, but we do adjust the temperature to suit our comfort zone.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern); WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.

Zeen Subscribe
A customizable subscription slide-in box to promote your newsletter
[mc4wp_form id="314"]