The Customer is KING

It is a holiday week, and I should not be fussing, but I think I will. When my time is wasted due to lack of information, I am stressed. I am stressed anyway this week due to still grieving the loss of my dear Uncle Barry. That will be with me for a while, and I know the loss comes in waves. I should probably just go away for a few days and let the feelings wash over me. But I am home, trying to take care of things around here that have been neglected the past few months.

I got in the garage earlier today and tried to organize some things that had been sitting unattended too long. I took a couple of lamps to be repaired. I cleaned out some other things and made a trip to Goodwill. I filled up the trash cans. And the trash cans, or trash pickup, are one thing I will fuss about.

On holiday weeks, usually the trash pickup is delayed by one day. They used to call and let us know that. But not lately. Waste Industries, our trash pickup company, was bought by GFL, and I do not know if that is the reason we have not received a call about delayed trash pickup, or if they will pick up on schedule. So, trying to figure this out, I went to the internet to find a phone number to call. I never could find a phone number! So here I am not knowing what to do, other than take the trash cans to the road tonight as I normally would and let them sit an extra day if trash pickup is delayed this week. Who knows, they may not even come. They failed to pick up at all last week! I called, and that was not a pleasant phone conversation.

Our normal trash pickup day is Thursday. The person who I spoke with had the attitude of she could not have cared less about my problem. She told me they would pick my (delayed) cans up on Tuesday. No apology and no warm voice. So, what was I to do, leave the can at the street for those days, or take it back up and down again on Tuesday?! I did not like either option. When it was clear that I was not going to get anywhere with her, I asked to speak to the manager. Of course, he was unavailable, but he would call me back. I never received a call. But, amazingly so, my trash was picked up the next day.

Back to this week. I suppose my safest bet is to take the trash to the road tonight and hope pickup is tomorrow, and if not, leave the cans there one more day.

My concern about lack of information is not knowing if the trash pickup is delayed this week, or not. Also, when I spent my time on their website, and I couldn’t find a simple phone number, that was a waste of my time.

I am more patient since COVID, and give some service people a pass, knowing that most businesses do not have enough help. But when a customer next to me can’t get his martini in a martini glass because it isn’t washed, unacceptable! Go wash it. Putting a martini in a champagne glass isn’t a good solution. It was about half of the pour, and of course, no apology or discount was offered. Unacceptable.

I could give other examples, but I will only get more stressed if I continue along this vein. The point that I want to make is really aimed at the company and its culture. When the two service people I referenced treat customers the way I was treated by the sanitation office worker, and the customer next to me at the bar was treated by the bar staff, the fault lies first of all with the company and its culture. The people part of the business is lacking. Management is not doing its job.

When a phone number isn’t available online for those people who prefer to get their information by phone, the company systems are at fault. Management is not doing its job.

Both companies have not made it clear to the staff that the customer is KING. Or, the staff is not being held accountable for treating the customer as he should be treated. No, the customer isn’t always right. But the customer is always the customer. And no business can survive long much less thrive without loyal customers.

I feel better. Now, I will take the trash cans to the road. And consider a new trash pickup company that deserves our business.

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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