During the past week I have seen some of the most glaring examples of lack of engagement, capability, and desire than I have seen in sometime. In each situation, the issues were the direct result of an individual, or series of individuals, not having the willingness or desire to actively pursue answers to what are seemingly very simple questions.
I contacted a local telephone carrier to inquire about making some account clarifications. Having dealt with this company in the past, I knew I would need to reach the “loyalty” or “solutions” department to reach any level of resolve. After spending nearly 10 minutes on hold and 5 minutes explaining my needs, I was forwarded to someone who appeared to be helpful. Partway through our conversation, I was advised that I would need to be placed on hold for a brief moment, at which point the individual hung up. A mistake? Most likely. But it added another 25 minutes to my efforts to resolve a very simple issue.
I purchased a new cellular phone in a store (interestingly from the same company as in the first situation), and after reaching an agreement with the sales representative, waited while the sales rep was placed on hold by the corporate office prior to making the necessary changes to my plan. Following two phone calls and being placed on hold a total of four times for a total duration of nearly one hour, the changes, which took all of three minutes, were completed. Interestingly, I was not upset with the store personnel, as it was clear their patience in dealing with the corporate office call center likely ceased about two hours into their first day on the job. I was satisfied to know that my situation was a onetime event, not a daily venture.
In preparation for a doctor check-up, I was contacted about some standard tests that were required. I had been reassured previously by my specialist that these tests had been completed; however my doctor’s office was unable to obtain them. Upon calling the specialist’s office, I was advised that the results had been lost… seven months ago. After several calls between both offices, I was escalated to a nurse at the specialist’s office, who found the results in two minutes, filed incorrectly.
It appears that most of the people involved were unwilling to take the steps necessary to resolve seemingly simple issues, bound by existing procedures, processes, and a general sense of “it’s not my job.”
We are all engaged in customer service, internally or externally, on the job, at home, or with our friends. There are two choices: to build relations through exceptional service, or to live, perform, and dissolve in mediocrity. If you are unwilling to change, to move, to pursue new interests, obtain additional training, or change career paths, then you are on the path to mediocrity.
Maybe it’s time to wake up to the new norm and engage in reality.
© Shawn Casemore 2011. All rights reserved.
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