But I’m The Customer!

 

telemarketer-878593__340

When did it become ok to treat your customers as an inconvenience?  Has technology put such a barrier between a businesses staff and the people that spend money with them?

What’s more, why are customers putting up with this?  I shouldn’t be impressed when someone does their JOB!  But more and more I am; this shouldn’t be happening.  I’m now conditioned to be let down by the organisations that I want to spend money with.  I’m actually surprised when something does go to plan. Technology is meant to free us up to focus more on what matters but it seems to be doing the opposite.

For the past few months I’ve been dealing with an International hotel brand that will remain nameless and more and more I feel like I’m an inconvenience with an open wallet to these people.  I know with only 100 people at the event that we are a small party in their world, but you know what, this is the first time I’ve been made to feel like that by a venue in a very long time.

I’m angry that I’m being made to feel apologetic for daring to want to hold a successful event that suits my customers at their venue.  I’m angry at myself that I’ve allowed a business to make me feel this way.

Is it that I’m being unreasonable?  I don’t think so.  I’m beginning to think that it’s because I’m an email to these people that I’m not “real”.  Even phone calls haven’t seemed to soften the hard line our way or the highway and you’ll pay for it as well attitude that I’m getting.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind paying (gouging on the other hand, don’t get me started on hiring AV equipment for a function!) businesses are not charities; they need to be suitably remunerated.  It’s when they know they have you and then the additional charges for every little thing come out of the woodwork.

So are we losing our ability to connect with people and is customer service dead?  With AI and automation set to become an even bigger part of the customer experience how do businesses make sure that their employees see customers as important and real?  I don’t know the answer but I do know that I’m not standing for it any more, you want my money, you treat me as valuable!

I’ve Quit Guilt & So Should You

guilt

I gave it up about 18 months ago. If you haven’t already done this, give it a try it is liberating.

I was a 3 pack a day guilter so it wasn’t easy.

I always had that feeling that whatever was wrong was my fault somehow. It comes high school where I was bullied everyday then moving straight into a job where the company culture was to sit the staff down and tell us that we should do anything they told us to because no one else would hire us. I already knew from school; comply and conform is the only option for acceptance. Doh, talk about negative reinforcement!

Closed doors, must be talking about me. Something goes wrong on a project that I’m only slightly connected with, must have been something I’ve done. CCB in bad mood, yup, must have been something I said or did. It got to the point where guilt was starting to control my life.

My light bulb moment came after a particularly trying day at work where it was announced that “not everyone will be going” to a long awaited event that I was a critical part of the planning for. I immediately thought; Well, I should take one for the team, I’ll talk to the boss tomorrow and tell him to leave me out. Then I went home and got ready for my walk and CCB got cranky because he wanted me to go and do something with him, he didn’t need me to do it, it was just that what I wanted to do wasn’t about him*

So I went for my walk feeling guilty and then it hit me… why am I feeling this way? I deserve to get fit; I have the right to want what I want.

Then I thought about the work situation. I didn’t notice any of the boys volunteering to step back, so why should I? I’m a key part of this team and I should be at this event. I’m proud of the work I’ve done to get this up and running. Bugger it, I’m not having that chat with the boss tomorrow and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

So that is the day I gave up guilt.

I feel lighter and strangely more confident when I reply “That’s a shame, what is being done to resolve the issue?” instead of immediately trying to find a way that I messed up and jumping in to help “fix” it.

Guilt is a highly addictive, nasty, destructive habit that is bad for your mental health. Giving up is hard, but not giving up is worse. Take a hint from Tay Tay** and Shake It Off, Shake It Off.

* He’s working on that

** I wonder how different my high school years might have been if Ms Swift rather than Mr Farnham was the soundtrack!

Resiting The Urge To Crack

frustrated

Today I’m frustrated beyond belief. I know it will pass but the overwhelming feeling at the moment is to crack it. I’ve even gone as far as typing the email with a sting and a swing, professional right? Yeah, I know, I won’t hit send; I’ve applied the cup of tea theory* but still haven’t calmed down.

In any other circumstance I’d get rid of this service provider. They rarely deliver on time or to brief and to top it off when they don’t like what I’m asking them to do, they go over my head to my boss who promptly rolls over. The problem is they are part of the “family”, a sister company and what is worse, based in the same offices as the rest of the team – I’m not.

It doesn’t help that the MD of this company and I are both control freaks who don’t like being told what to do. I don’t think it’s chauvinism at work, I don’t get that vibe, more a not invented here syndrome.

My concern is also that at some point I know the companies will merge and I could be seen as this person’s employee.   My boss rolling over reinforces this guys impression that my direction can be over turned and that I’m not a valued member of the team. I think that frustrates me more than anything else.

Over the years I’ve faced up to a lot of difficulties that working remotely throws at you. Building relationships over email is difficult, missing out on the tiny details about projects that office chatter gives you, those little nuances that lubricate navigating the business. For the most part these have been overcome with time and patience, but this, I’ve applied every strategy I have in my toolbox and nothing works.

Sigh, it is what it is I guess, so I’ll just put my big girl pants on and deal with it.

Rant over

*Always have a cup of tea before replying. Or if you prefer, “Scritzy’s Coke Rule” works just as well.