it was a good day to get my goat.
waited in all morning for a courier to deliver a bloody hat i'd bought, only to track it on the courier's website, and find out they had delivered to the wrong house, and had gone back to the depot.
much cursing and such followed, as my saturday mornings are a sacred time of not being at home, and sorting shit out elsewhere.
we vowed that when the company phoneline was back up on monday, all sorts of chaos would be rained down on their tiny little heads...
into town, and we go for lunch in our favourite chinese restuarant.
things are very slow to start though, and a few tables get served ahead of us... i'm already picking my bags up to leave when the waitress comes over(and apologises... although we did ask someone to prompt her).
lunch is served, and we wait for our ice-cream... which isn't forthcoming after 15 minutes... so i dig out my phone, look-up the restuarant's website, and by clicking on the telephone number on the page, my phone automatically dials the manager.

the conversation went something like this:
yes, hello, i would like our second course please.
i would like our second course please, we are waiting for our ice-cream, and it has been too long.
ah...(pause)... which table are you at? (the penny dropped with an audible clang)
we are sitting under the tv with the horse racing on.(this is a quality chinese restuarant, the other tv screen was showing a frank sinatra film, where he played a soldier in korea ISYN)
oh, i see... errrm, thank you.
thank you, goodbye.

there was some commotion and shouting from the back office - followed by pots and pans crashing no doubt around the kitchen area... and our ice arrived in about 30 seconds.
and that is the joy of connectivity... by-passing the front-of-house staff who are in some sort of dissaray for whatever reason, and going straight to the (surprised!) manager, who duly sorted things out.
you just can't get away with being slow any more(certainly not in a service industry), as you can't firewall the customer with waffle nowadays, hey customer is already bypassing you on the phone to your boss, or emailing customer services with a complaint, before you have time to figure out an excuse.
does this mean better service... hard to say - a few weeks ago, i was in a well known supermarket(let's call them sainsburys, just for the sake of arguement), and a shelf-stacker, who looked like the idiot love-child of postman pat and jeremy clarkson, decided it would amuse his idiot friend, if he were to walk past me mumbling some sort of elvis impression.
me, i turned on him, and gave him a flea in his large mis-shapen ear(to which he looked suitably terrified... despite the fact i was at least a foot shorter than him! i must look pretty mean pushing a trolley loaded with aubergines...), but of course, once home, i emailed customer service several times, berating them for employing such an obviously failed medical experiment in their shop.
any brief feeling of embarrassment i may have momentarily experienced, was more than balanced out, by the mayhem that can be unleashed on people whose job it is to apologise for the antics of staff-members who can't talk and fart at the same time.
last year was a good example, in harborne waitrose, when i enquired to the wine-snob who works on the alcohol section: did they have any rum?
he responded that they were having a delivery in the next day... i turned-up the next day, and it was obvious that he was a wined-up merchant.
several emails later, and a telephone call from a concerned PR bod, and i've got a gift voucher winging it's way towards me in the post.
mr. wanky wine-snob though, was nowhere to be seen for a few weeks, and now keeps his head down(and doesn't look quite so cocky these days).

anyway, we got home this afternoon, the company had come back and delivered the package to our good neighbours(who were in this time, and they took the package).

my point - with smartphones connected to the internet, if a staff member pisses you off, take their photo, email it to head office, look up their PR number, call them, email them, ride the information highway all the way to the (river)bank... if service is slow, you can call up the manager from the queue and tell them to get their finger out!
all good stuff, for the individual, but not so for large companies who insist on being connected, and then get hauled up because of it...

in regards to the restuarant incident - talking about what happened with people ITRW, their opinions fall between two schools of thought... people who have worked as waiting staff, were more sympathetic to the plight of the one girl that they had waitressing on a saturday afternoon(which i completely agree with, it was a bad situation), but i countered this with the fact that i wasn't unpleasant, merely wanting to wrong foot the management who were sitting it out in the back room, and after all - i only wanted to finish my meal, which is what most restuarants want you to do anyway.
and of course, most people felt that i had to make some sort of a stand, as a customer... so why not use the technology on hand, to make a statement of sorts, that will be remembered(purely because i acted out-of-the-box of normal experience).
i hope they get it sorted, it's my favourite place to eat in town, and their staff who wait on tables work damn hard...


Helen Highwater said...

And the day got even better after I was confronted by humungous queues in MAC and the Body Shop as well! MAC wasn't so bad (seeing as their assistants were held up doing make-up demos), but The Body Shop was just daft. One difficult customer (not me, in case you were wondering), one person on the till, and then the other having a chat with the security guard.... And then she looked pissed off with me when I said "EXCUSE ME!" very loudly and came over so that I could pay for the stuff that they sell in her shop, where she has a job, selling stuff. Not chatting to security guards....

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Joe's blog said...

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