Business infants…

I’ve been severely lacking in my blog posting lately. Either that my life is so damn interesting right now, or I really got nothin’ to show for my self-imposed stress. Late shifts followed by early shifts and obnoxious neighbors that knock on the wrong door at 3 am… ugh…

(edit… I re-read this after writing it and the structure was hard for me to read… sorry…)

So, I’ve written a bit of blogs about business ‘things’ here and there. I can’t be so bold as to say that every idea I have is perfect because well, if every idea I had was perfect I wouldn’t be working for someone else right now. But, I’m actively learning nuances of how to conduct business in many realms. Today, I had an experience with a very immature business mindset. It kinda bothered me really.

I work for a well known coffee house. I don’t want to be naming it here for legal reasons (if any just in case), and though I may be bashing certain experiences, I actually really enjoy working for the company and think they have an excellent vision.

We have these random surveys that we are supposed to give out to customers. It’s a trend for businesses to take part in these customer surveys obviously. You can’t get a cheeseburger from a quickie burger joint without seeing an invitation to voice your opinion and win a thousand bucks. Well, of course the better the feedback the more we get praised as employees. With the system we have it affords us the opportunity to pick and choose who we give the surveys to. If we have a really friendly customer we may be biased to give it to them instead of that Lamborghini driving asshole that thinks his drink shouldn’t take more time than it takes for him to get from the register to the drink station. Not that he’d take the time to do a survey like ours but there’s a flaw in this thinking. I won’t ‘say’ that we are influenced to be choosy about who we give surveys to but…

We tell people in a suggestive manner that good scores help us out. How dumb is that statement? I asked my ‘supervisor’ why we don’t give the surveys out specifically to people that seem to be pissy towards us. And I asked the aggravated question, “Why don’t we just provide better service and not worry about who we give the surveys out to?” The answer was “Well, you gotta understand where we are at and what kind of people come in here. They think they’re entitled more than anyone else and their opinion isn’t a true reflection of the service we provide.” (Or phrased along that manner).

I had a major turning point in my level of respect for people that work in these places. Some get it, some don’t. Even as a minimum pay worker, you are still a part of the business. With this kind of thinking, it’s no wonder the capitalistic model doesn’t support people who want a handout without working for it. Good scores don’t help one bit on a survey.

The excuses came flying at me as to why my idea was flawed. “We’re too busy, we’re too understaffed, people are just assholes, there’s nothing we can do…” Those excuses started falling on deaf ears. I don’t really have to ask the question anymore of “Are these retail and service industry schmucks really that ignorant?” Whether people expect royal service or a friendly face or even think we should operate differently, we should in fact listen to them. Our paychecks (in private industry at least) don’t come from a endless source of money. Our paychecks come from the people paying for our products AND service. Idiot.

Lastly, I’ve made a few comments about our tips. Tips get collected, pooled together and paid out depending on how many hours one works. It’s a little socialistic for my taste but it’s a nominal amount and the work we do is supposed to be a collective effort. Thing is, our tips suck. I was at a store with far less sales and the customers were just as discriminating and I got about double (per hour) in tips. Here, I’m halfway embarrassed to collect my tips. And I’m told ‘these are pretty good considering where we are.’ Oh, and I’m told that the more the tip jars are emptied, the more we make on tips because no one wants to tip when the jar is full…. You’ve got to be kidding me. So I suggest as above, “Why don’t we just provide better service?” Oh my! The reaction was just like when I tell people that Jesus is a bastard child.

These concepts seem pretty obvious as to how to make customer service better. Thing is, there is no excuse for shitty service. There is also no excuse for certain customers to be shitty to workers. (That population is a whole other world) Truth is, not every customer that is shitty wants to be that way. As a service worker, you may not like how you have to serve these people but don’t forget for one moment who is in fact funding your irresponsible night out of drinking this Saturday… Yea, that guy…

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