Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bad Service and Frustration - it can be avoided.

Oh, I know frustration and it is your fault!
Nothing seems to kick off a spiral of rage faster than poor service.  I reason this happens for me so quickly because I spend a majority of my time acting as a therapist, software developer, consultant and bucket boy for people who have very little appreciation for what it takes to build a web site.

In the midst of getting my insurance company to process my prescriptions, work a 45 hour work week and do more development for E3 systems, I try to go out to lunch each day as a respite from work.  What I was confronted with was poor service. 

As someone struggling to lose weight, I have taken to salad bars.  On a rainy Monday, I was confronted by a messy and poorly stocked salad bar.  Dressings were mixed together resembling a Jackson Pollock canvas, several toppings were missing, and no one seemed to notice or care that I was just standing there shocked that I was paying $10 for a poorly stocked buffet.  A waitress came up to me and apologized and said she would get the manager to restock the salad bar. 

The manager never came, the salad bar was not restocked and I was doomed to listen to the waitress offer more futile apologies for bad service.  My blood pressure and cholesterol levels matched my frustration.  I left a meager tip and left before the negligent manager had a chance to wish me a nice day.  He will not get the chance because I will not be going back. 

This would not be so bad if it was not so common.  Countless times at restaurants, movie theaters, casins and night clubs I am confronted with poor service.  The reason is that managers there are worried about overtime and overhead instead of providing good customer service.  This focus trickles down to the staff who seem to make enough effort to avoid getting fired.  In the mean time, customers like me suffer in silence.

I keep thinking back to W. E. Deming and his 14 points of profound knowledge.  Managers should be more focused on providing quality experiences than the costs of those experiences.  It is a shame how many businesses ignore Deming and his lessons.  If customers are more happy they will leave bigger tips, come back more often and become the regular customers a business craves.  Focusing on costs and overhead leads to lower quality and less revenue in the long run.

Someday, I hope to practice what I preach.

Until next time.