Ok, I admit it; I often lack patience.  Anyone who knows me well would attest to this fact.   But I think the lack of service that I have experienced lately would test anyone’s patience.  Although my good friend MoMo says to just drop it, I can’t.  I can’t accept what is less than acceptable service.  And neither should you. I have three recent examples.  There are more, but these three will suffice to prove the point.

I called the office of an orthopedic surgeon, my husband’s doctor, to schedule an appointment.  Instead of a live voice, the message I received was, “Your expected wait time is 18 minutes.” An 18-minute wait to schedule an appointment!  To make matters worse, the marketing message that played while I was waiting was all about “how wonderful we are.”  Instead of being impressed, I was annoyed.  I was thinking, if you are so wonderful and successful, why can’t you afford a minimum wage salary to answer the phone instead of keeping your patients waiting for 18 minutes to schedule an appointment?!  How many people have that kind of time to schedule an appointment?

My second example.  I called a travel organization I am a member of to book a trip, and the person who answered the phone could not find my account number.  It was obvious that the systems of the organization were not working, although my address and phone number were in their system, but not my account number.  Instead of making it easy for me, the person told me, “You need to have your account number!” When I replied, “Why do your systems not have my account number linked to my record?” I was disconnected! The disconnection was that the person hung up on me!   Amazing.  Blame the customer, when the company lacks systems that are integrated.  Then, hang up on the customer!  I am still reeling from this one. 

My third example; Apple.  For some unknown reason, my IPhone would not charge. I was going to Verizon, my cell phone carrier, to resolve the problem.  A friend convinced me to just call Apple, saying that they are so good with service.  Not this time.  The message about the wait time did not even give an anticipated wait time, using the word, “extended” to describe the wait time.  What does “extended” even mean?   And when the phone was finally answered, the person could not solve the problem, and agreed that going to Verizon to fix the problem was a good idea! So much for Apple service.   

These are just a few examples. I do not need to mention fast food restaurants, and the lack of service found there.  Other than Chick Fil A, which is clearly a cut above other fast food establishments.  If Chick Fil A can provide great service, why can’t others? 

Are most people too accepting of poor service, having come to expect less than what should be acceptable?  I think so.   Now, of course there are some examples of excellent service.  But not enough.  And people have become jaded, having come to expect less than they should from service providers.     

But not me.  I continue to expect service staff to serve the customer, to do all they can to make it easy for the customer to do business with them.  But I fear that it is a losing battle.


About Patti Fralix

Patti Fralix inspires positive change in work, life, and family through Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching in three specialty areas: Leadership, Managing Differences, and Customer Service. Her leadership firm, The Fralix Group, Inc., has been helping clients achieve practical and tangible results for twenty-two years.
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