Lately, I’ve noticed a steady decline in the customer service I’ve received.
Exhibit A – At Wal-Mart this past weekend, I had to listen to a food demonstrator yell at her adult child by cell phone about how he needs to properly care for plants at his house. She seemed to have no idea that a long line of people wanting pizza samples formed or care that everyone knew her 30+ year-old son’s name and shortcomings by the time they got a small sample.
Exhibit B – Yesterday, I caught a 6am flight to Virginia. I packed breakfast the night before so that I could eat it before I boarded. Unfortuantely, I forgot to pack a spoon, so I walked over to a small food store and asked for one. The first person I asked simply said, “Yeah, we have them,” before going back to looking at her shoes. The second person I asked just groaned and asked, “Well, are you buying anything?” I was honest and said, “No”, and he begrudgingly gave one to me. I would have rather paid for it and received decent service than be given a plastic spoon by two people that clearly were not in the mood to be helpful.
Those recent experiences really made me question the presence of customer service in today’s world. To me, it seems to have disappeared quite a bit. Which is ironic because I’m in Virginia for a conference that focuses on how to better serve customers through a variety of means (food and beverage options, meeting room facilities, technology, etc.).
Even so, up until yesterday, I was seriously questioning whether I could find good service anymore. Luckily, my thoughts were turned around and life proved me wrong by sending a driver named Jay my way.
Yesterday was very busy/stressful for me. I woke up at 4am, my flight was at 6am, I had an important meeting from 9 to 10:30am in downtown D.C. and then needed to get to the conference center I’m staying at by 12pm in order to make rehearsal for a presentation I have to give tonight. To make my life easier, I hired a sedan service to get me where I needed to be. Specifically Jay’s Sedan Service. I owe my sanity to Jay, as he provided the best customer service I’ve received in a very long time…
Right before my plane took off, I realized that I had left necessary papers at home for my 9am meeting. Luckily, I had Jay’s e-mail and sent him a frantic message from my phone along with the attached documents and asked him to print them for me.
When he met me at the baggage claim, he told me he had been unsuccessful in printing them but had another idea. He then went to the United Service Oragnizations (USO) office and begged them to let me print the documents. He may have fibbed and said that I was bawling my eyes out over not having this paperwork and that he couldn’t handle driving me into D.C. while I was a hot mess. I apologize to all service men and women for taking advantage of the “cry baby tactic,” but it worked and I was able to print my documents.
Jay then drove masterfully through hectic morning traffic and got me to my meeting on time. After I came out, he made a couple stops to help me relax and get my mind off of how stressful the morning had been. He took me down to the Potomac River and stopped so I could get pictures of the cherry blossoms. He then drove to Starbucks (it was 11am and I hadn’t had coffee yet…I don’t know how I survived) and treated me to the best cannoli I’ve ever had from a little Italian store.
Spending a couple hours with him in the car yesterday completely turned around my mindset about service and showed me that excellent service is out there if you look for it. You just have to filter through a few bad apples to find the gems.
Speaking of gems — it’s Virginia wine week!
I haven’t had time to sample one yet during this trip, but I have had Jefferson Vineyard’s Chardonnay in the past and it is delicious. Definitely recommend it.
Off to more meetings! Hopefully there will be lots of good food tonight!