Customer Service

Tonight we ran out to get groceries before the next big storm hit, and during the process we got a little hungry.  We headed out to one of our local fast food joints, and ordered our meals at the drive thru.

After placing our order, we drive up to the window, only to be told "The chicken will be about 8 minutes.  Do you want to wait?"  My wife hummed and hawed for about 2 seconds and said... "No."  So we changed her order to a burger combo and a hot dog.

Now the girl at the window was young, maybe 18, and we won't discuss her hair colour.  She had to read the order back to us 3 times before she could finally understand that we still wanted the rest of the stuff we ordered, one hotdog, (no not two, one!) and the fries.  Yes we actually wanted the fries that are supposed to come in the combo that we ordered.  We then proceded to wait for 8 minutes with cars lining up behind us, no doubt questioning what the heck was going on.

And do you know what happened after 8 minutes?  She asked us to park because the hotdog was going to be a couple of minutes.

I don't get it.  Why would you do this?  "Sorry, but it will be 8 minutes for the chicken.  Would you rather wait 10 minutes to get your second choice?"  What a great idea!

I know for a fact that the food & beverage industry in BC, (and Alberta too for that matter,) are chronically understaffed.  Loyalty is not an issue anymore as there are so many jobs out there for the taking.  Young kids and adults are able to have their pick of what they want, as there are just so many openings.  Staff will move to a new company for 10 cents and hour more.  They won't phone in sick if they have a hangover, as it's easier to just find a new job than suffer the displeasure of your boss.

Trying to fix the issue of staff loyalty by offering higher pay only forces inflation to escalate as the employers start bidding to steal employees.  The problem is not rates, it's a lack of physical bodies to fill the positions.  Why is loyalty what I'm focussing on?  Employers do not like spending money on training when the employee won't stick around.
Given the above, how as a manager can you convince your staff to actually offer good customer service?  Obviousley the company that we visited tonight hasn't figure it out, as there were several customer service failures in our experience, from the order process, to the re-order process to making the other customers wait while they dealt with us.

One thought on “Customer Service

  1. Now you know why people hold these places up.

    They don't want the cash, they want the burgers! And fast! (I wonder if they get the free smile too)

    Seriously though, I wonder if it will ever come to have vending machines with fast food at scattered locations. They have ones in Japan that sell cup noodles amongst other stuff. The fast food industry still seems to be doing okay though.

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