Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Ying and the Yang of Customer Service

Scenario 1:
Driving through Mcdonalds as your typical mom in her blue Minivan with three children, it was a quick surprise to appease the young budding palates of my youngsters. Yes, I've read the history of McDonald's, and I've heard quips about that movie, "SUPERSIZE ME." But, we were heading out on a journey that would mean at least 45+ minutes in the car. Big deal, right? Try taking over my role for just one day, and perhaps you'll say otherwise.

As I pulled up to the drivethru window, my children earnestly belting out their meals of choice, which usually begins with, "I want the green toy." I advised both of them that they were only getting fries. Nothing more, nothing less.

Now even though I knew what I was going to order, I always tend to look at the Menu Board, don't know why that is, but there's something about the vibrant colors and mouth watering faux fillet pictures that makes me yearn for the days when I used to devour the tastes of the arches.

Scanning across the menu I noticed that under the area labeled DESSERTS they had FRENCH FRIES listed; .95small 1.15medium 1.30large. But what was confusing me is that just above that area they had the $1 Menu listed. The first choice was Small fries, $1.

hmmm, why would I order a small $1 fry, when I can have it for 5cents less under the desserts?

Yes, it's only a matter of .05cents, but it's the principal of it.

After ordering my two small fries and a small coffee 6creams one sweetener I pulled up to the first window. Music being wastefully belted from their outdoor speakers, I rolled down my window and asked the employee if she had charged me for the $1 fries or the .95cent fries. She said that they don't sell .95cent fries.

Me: "okay."

Me: "well, than why is it that your menu shows .95cent fries under the dessert area?"

Her: "that's a mistake."

Me: "Fair enough, but you should honor what it says regardless, it's called customer service."

Her: "I can't, the COMPUTER won't let me." "It's programmed for the $1 fries as the smallest price.
Oh come on!
Now for those of you that DON'T know this, many years ago I used to work at a McDonald's in a quaint town called New Lenox. Unless they changed their policy and have backpedaled their views, I remember exclusively being told that if the customer complains, they're always right. You honor their request. You override the register.

I wasn't even complaining over the 5cents, I was mainly making them aware of the fact that there's an apparent error. Maybe I should have asked for some free cookies. But I didn't.

I drove up to the pick up window for the fries that they call fresh but are always just doused in so much salt that if you didn't order a drink with your order, you've screwed your tongue for the night.

After receiving my order, I did ask to speak with a manager. Eventually the manager approached my window and I began to tell her my discovery.

Me:"I was charged a $1 per these fries, but on your menu board in the drive up it says fries are .95cent under the dessert section.

Her, in broken English: "that's wrong.It's $1. I will go see what it says."
With that she walked away from the window without even offering a thank you.
I waited to see if she was going to return, but she never did-and those fries were getting colder by the second.

Quite obviously that was the end of that situation. I drove off in a bit of a humph not because I wasn't given a refund of .10cents, (Good Gosh the horrors of balancing out that register at close time!!) but because of the way the situation was handled.
That will be the LAST Time I visit that particular McDonald's.

Definitely not "lovin it" right now!
There's absolutely no point in trying to analyze what happened. It could go so many ways. Being that we live in a rather overpriced town, maybe she didn't feel I was owed the difference. Maybe she felt that I'm the typical town minivan driving mom yuppie with money coming out of my ass that I don't deserve to get a break. (funny, didn't that used to be their slogan, "Take a break?")

She labeled me without giving me a chance. I'm not your typical minivan driving cell phone gabbing bitchy broad that this town has their share of.

I'm not even one to be materialistic either. I don't care to have the biggest house, the biggest SUV, or most fanciful purse. I could care less about that sort of thing. I think life is much easier when you simplify it.

But, I'm analyzing as I said I wouldn't, so I'll move onto scenario 2.

Scenario 2:

Her:"Thank you for calling Physician's group, How may I help you?"

Me: "Hi, I need to see if Dr. P is available to see me today, I've hurt my back and am in some nasty pain."

Her: "Could you please provide me with your date of birth please?"

Me: "blahblahblah- 1975."

Her: "Oh Hi, crusty! How are you doing? How are those adorable boys? How's your husband doing? Did the medication work out for him?"

Me: "why yes it did, thank you for asking!!"

Her: "You are welcome. I just felt so bad when I heard what he had to go through for so long, that's just awful." "How's he enjoying his TV?"
Me: "oh he's in love with that thing. He's only been talking about getting one since I first met him 7years ago."

Her: "that's wonderful!" "and your boys, are they well? How's the baby?.........."

The conversation went on like that for a good 10minutes.

This isn't your small one doctor type office either. It's a huge center with at least 6 or 7 doctors and a physician's assistant. Located in the main hub of our town, they see a lot of patients every day. For her to remember me, whether it's due to being smart and capturing personal notes about their patients in their system, or because she just cares, made a huge difference.
It brought a bit of hope to my outlook on the decline of customer service.

This office has seen me at my worst and at my best. Has seen my children behave like larks, AND, act like turds. It's refreshing to know that positive human interaction is still possible. It sure makes teaching my children the art of customer service entirely easier when they're able to witness the positive outcome that comes from someone that just stops and takes the time to care.

Welcome to crustybeef~
Who needs the golden arches of crap when I have a doctors office that actually cares about my family!!!

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