Customer service is a hot button issue. It always has been; but, with the advent of social media and location-based check-in services like FourSquare and consumer review sites like Yelp, companies are clamoring to ensure that every customer has a positive experience. Retail companies are changing their return policies to allow greater customer satisfaction, encouraging employees to give the customer whatever they want if they protest. The customer must always be happy and never be left feeling the need to give the store, restaurant, airline, etc…a negative review via a social media platform.
UPDATE: SERVICE WORKER AT MCDONALD’S GETS ATTACKED BY CUSTOMER
There are three problems with this:
People will take advantage of this
Employees will begin to leave these industries
Companies will lose revenue
Kevin Smith took a flight on Southwest Airlines. He was ejected from the plane because Southwest company policy dictates that a customer be comfortable and safe on the flight. Smith says he was able to put both armrests down and buckle the seatbelt but was still made to exit. The result was a PR nightmare after Smith told his over 1 million Twitter followers about the ordeal; and, they proceeded to tell each of their followers.
Steven Slater, a flight attendant for Jet Blue, was just trying to get a customer to follow the rules when he found himself being arrested and treated like a dangerous criminal.
A Negative Yelp Review from a supposed customer (might have been a competitor) caused the restaurant owner to call this guy an ugly loser and invite other patrons to try his food and find a negative thing to say. Well, they did just that.
In the case of Southwest Airlines, the company issued a public apology and a $100 voucher. They are the only airline company that absorbs the cost of a second seat in the event of a “customer of size”. It also seems that these policies were put into place due to complaints from customers who traveled without full access to their seats. So, the blame for these policies does not rest solely on Southwest’s shoulders. If Kevin Smith wanted someone to blame, he should have fired off tweets at the insensitive people who complained about fat people crowding them on flights.
The Jet Blue flight attendant had been in the business for almost 30 years. That is nearly three decades of handling pushy, elitist, entitled people who forget that an employee is a person just like them. Did he go overboard? He slid overboard, as a matter of fact, but, the better question is was he justified in defending himself? How much disrespect should an employee have to take before the company stands up for them and not the person with the credit card?
A commenter had this to say in response to Slater’s actions:
BigMookie: This guy is did what we all should be doing. The reign of the ***holes needs to come to an end. People need to start standing up and putting some smack down. TOTAL HERO.
People who work or have worked in the customer service industry are clearly frustrated, exhausted, tired, and fed up with being forced to take all the negativity from patrons while the company executives get the big salaries with benefits. To say a customer service representative lacks care is to say that they should care about everyone when no one seems to care about them. Most who take these jobs do so because they cannot seem to get any other job. They’re discouraged with their own lives, likely have financial struggles with family and bill collectors on a regular basis, and still have to walk around with a smile when someone is calling them a piece of $#!t? Who among us is always this strong? Who is not going to break? Some parents can’t handle their child talking back to them once without yelling at them. A company representative should take it for hours a day, multiple times a week…for years?
The restaurant owner went a little far by name-calling the reviewer. It is said that you should never argue with a fool because you can’t tell the real fool from a distance. Everyone viewing this review and the subsequent articles and posts are spectators viewing from a distance. What he should have done was write everything down that he wanted to say. Then, have a third party read it from a spectator standpoint. The same question remains: was he wrong for defending himself?
Businesses operate to make money. Customers bring in the money. If businesses continue to do everything to benefit the customer, will customers take advantage by demanding a product be given to them at the price they want? Will an employee, out of fear of losing their job, have to acquiesce? At what point will the company say we understand that you want things your way, but we have to operate in such a fashion as to remain in business to have products for you? The best defense for a company is a strong offense. The offense is their staff. If the staff feels that the company will trade them at any time, they won’t work hard to defend the company. Once the recession ends, Boomers will retire, Gen X will want promotions and Gen Y will want “real jobs”, leaving less and less interested in working minimum wage, stressful jobs, thus moving us towards automated retail.