Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Customer Service: The Need for Apology, Empathy, and Explanation (A Personal Story)

10:02 p.m.

I huff and I puff and I snuff and I rush
From concourse B
to concourse D

This was after the shuttle bus drove past
the assigned pick up location on my receipt
at

3:10 p.m.
The shuttle drove past
I called the company on the phone
Who said, “Well, we can’t get another driver there for an hour”
in a WAY less than empathetic tone
So I hail a cabbie who was as nice as could be
He had another passenger already – which was lucky for me
Since the cash I was carrying wouldn’t suffice
And the Bloomsbury vendor was generous and nice
She loaned me some cash and told a great story
About her harrowing trip in
Which made this (so far) mishap boring
(She almost missed her flight after locking her keys in her car
and sat next to a long-toed passenger who was truly bizarre.)

At 5:40 p.m.
I’m at Gate D4, but nobody’s boarding
And I wasn’t sure
So I approach Delta staff to make sure that I’m right
With less than three words, she confirms it’s my flight
But neglects to inform
that the plane is delayed because of a storm
Concerned about my connecting flight
I stand in line again to make sure I’ll be alright
Another staff member (tone equally cool)
States “You’ll be fine” in a way that makes me feel like fool

At 10:00 p.m.
As I exit this first flight and see my gate
It’s “BOARDING” – If I don’t run, I’m going to be late!
I huff and I puff and I snuff and I rush
From concourse B to concourse D
“Excuse me! Excuse me!”
Of course, you know, I didn’t “make it in time”
And when I get there, I’m second in line
The unfriendly staff doesn’t bat a lash
As she ignores my sweat and my un-Olympic dash
Instead of a smile and “Sorry” and soothing explanation
She ignores my communication
What is she doing ?!
Staring at her computer screen -- apparently, she’s made me another reservation


There’s much more to tell both in detail and plot
But for a rhyming poem… I’d rather not

Let’s stop the story here and just jump to the moral:

Customer Service is communication in words and in tone –
After an inconvenience,
Apology, Empathy, and Explanation is the touchstone.

Indeed, my customer service awareness and skills during yesterday and today
Have improved 100% -- a GREAT conference take away.

ALA Annual Conference Schedule (Actual)

FRIDAY
8 - 6 Tour of de Grummond Collection
6 - 7: 30 Exhibit Hall

SATURDAY
8 - 10 Making Multi-Age (newborn to five-year-old) Storytimes
the Best They Can Be
10:30 - 11:10 Doing Away with Dewey: Library Innovations for Service Excellence
11:10 - 12:00 How Audiobooks Have Been Successfully Used to Engage Readers
1:30 - 3:30 Sensory Storytime: Preschool Programming that Makes Sense for Kids with Autism
4 - 5:30 Power of Play

SUNDAY
8 - 8:30 Picture Books Go Digital
9 - 11:00 Liaisons with National Organizations Serving Children and Youth Committee Meeting
1 - 2:45 Volunteer at ALSC booth