I’m sorry to bore you with the details, but there are some very good lessons to be learned here, especially for young people who may believe that this only happens to them. To the 420 club who reads this, I’ll be back to the more abstract lessons soon.
This is why it is important to always do your best, and put a positive face to the public. Yesterday, while still on “in-house suspension”, I was doing my work in the same manner as I always have. I was friendly with the customers, cordial with the employees, and efficient. Because of this, I received several compliments that are worth more to me than anything my employer could say.
What many people don’t understand is that most customers won’t bother complimenting someone for doing their job. They might complain if something is wrong, but they rarely compliment. I’m not going to pretend to analyze why, but I accept that it is. So when a customer takes time out of their schedule to say something nice about me and the way I work, it means a lot. The reason it means less from my employer is that I have come to understand that employers are usually complimenting their employees as a way to coax more work out of them. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it isn’t true in every case, but again, there it is.
Meanwhile, over at my (hijacked) office, several customers have complained very loudly that they want me back there to serve them the way they have become accustomed to being served. They have high expectations when it comes to customer service (which I even have a hard time meeting, sometimes), and they will accept nothing less. Most of the complaints have one of a couple of root causes.
- The offending employee (the one who caused all the problem in the first place), is constantly on MySpace, and therefore not ready and willing to help the customer when they walk into the door.
- Our company hasn’t blocked MySpace like others. Personally, I have no problem with an occasional visit as long as it doesn’t affect WORK.
- Our computers have a glitch where they will freeze out, forcing a complete reboot, if they spend prolonged periods of time on the Internet.
- The offending employee spends an excessive amount of time on the phone, and customers have heard her talking about me, other customers, and the company in derogatory terms.
- Nobody likes to hear someone talking about them. It is even worse to talk about someone else that may be known to others. It is especially bad if this is the reason you complained about a well-liked employee.
- Again, I have no problem with talking on the phone, as long as it doesn’t (in this case it certainly did) impact work.
- These customers are a tightly knit group. They are around each other for as long as 12 hours at a time. They get kind of clannish with those that measure up to their expectations. We also live and work in a small community.
- One of the stipulations to my punishment was that it wasn’t to be spoken of again (their request because they feared it would make me a martyr and give me leverage with the customer base). To date, I have been asked, with surprising detail, no less than 6 times what my side of the story is. When I reply that I can’t talk about it, I am told that someone else is.
These complaints are piling up, and unfortunately for the offending person, they cannot be ignored for much longer. Even worse, when the table is set with all the players, this person is not looking very good right now to management. They are doing subpar work, they have a history of “issues” within the company, they have a history of doing the same thing that they did to me at other companies (with a lawsuit against another company thown in for fun), and they are getting complaints. Because they didn’t use the opportunity to change the perception about them, and because they didn’t put out their best work, this person will be sent back to the “minors” until such time as they prove themselves. Meanwhile, I will be back doing what I was hired to do, and will have vindicated myself against a predator.