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And Now for a Story of Very Poor Customer Service

My previous post discussed an outstanding customer service, first impression experience I had recently. Today I write about the opposite.

I was facilitating a training program for a client, a regional non-profit, that was using the conference room at a regional business services organization. After our session we needed to schedule a couple of follow up dates so I went to the front counter to inquire as to availability.

poor_customer_serviceThe middle-aged woman at the front counter who knows me from my regular networking events in the area greeted my request with what I would call “less than welcoming enthusiasm.”

Immediately upon pulling out the facility’s conference room scheduling book, a disco music tone begins to emanate from a purse under the desk. With a grumble the woman moves quickly for her cell phone, looks diligently at the caller ID and decides to answer the phone with absolutely no acknowledgement that she is inconveniencing the person she is serving standing in front of her.

It was difficult for me to discern if the call was personal or business, but my sense was that it was personal. The call and the distraction took only about 30- seconds and wasn’t a major inconvenience, but I felt ignored and unimportant through the entire transaction, even after she came to focus on my request. There was no apology upon returning from the phone call, through which I had just stood witnessing wondering how long it would be ’til I confirmed my conference room dates.

I’m not sure what she would have done in that instance if the main phone to the office rang while I was there and she was juggling her cell phone. It would have been interesting to witness, though I’m sure.

I’m wondering if my familiarity with the woman impacted her actions and poor choice of behavior, or if this is the norm and would have been the same if it were a new prospective customer was standing in front of her.

This is the type of poor customer service I may have expected from a teenager behind the counter of a movie theater or a retail store, but not a middle-aged woman behind the desk of a large regional business service organization.

Hmm, what to do, what to do? Any suggestions?

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