Is Civility and Good Customer Service Dead?
I just finished reading a New York Times article (may be behind a paywall) entitled “A Nation on Hold Wants to Speak with a Manager." I found myself agreeing with every point. Our nation has devolved into those who can cope and those who cannot. The “customer is always right” is no longer the case as customer become enraged over the smallest inconvenience or over something they themselves should have done first but didn’t which then triggered a “no you can’t have that” because of their error.
I’ve seen it. I’ve watched in horror as a customer loses their religion over something and begins to yell at everyone within shouting distance. It doesn’t help that our leaders embodied these behaviors which then gave many the justification for their bad behaviors.
This isn’t limited to customers though, staff and management everywhere have quickly put up their defenses too. Many are breaking under the assault and leaving customer facing positions quicker than they can be refilled. This of course creates more problems as a lack of staffing impacts service greatly. This also has created a wave of change that finds customers increasingly alone, less contact with actual humans. I noticed Chat Features on many websites (including the Disneyland App and website btw) actually connect you to a bot first🤨. Now it tries to help you by giving you links to other pages on the website covering the topic you requested help for. This is beyond frustrating for a person like myself who has already spent time digging through the website AND Google for the answers I seek…🤦🏻♀️
We’ve all seen it too. Less staffing, less quality in service. Obviously there are still those working that are exceptional in their abilities to assist customers and take pride in it but they are not immune to the apathy that is spreading like wildfire through all customer facing industries.
It breaks my heart to see a Cast Member with a disaffected look and flat responses (not a HM CM btw that’s THEIR schtick). I hear the sad stories from my followers of how they increasingly come in contact with CMs like this and how they do their best to be kind to them in hopes they will somehow snap out of it. Like I said, there are amazing Cast Members ALL OVER THE RESORT AND WORKING THE CALL CENTERS AND CHAT SYSTEM. I appreciate them greatly and always ALWAYS say thank you and mean it.
There’s no denying it though, customers (guests) have lost their ability to control the angry three year old inside them when something doesn’t go their way, however insignificant.
We are all tired. Tired of the pandemic. Tired of wearing masks and getting shots and taking tests. Tired of the supply chain issues, the low staffing due to illness and loss of staff. Unfortunately this is our new reality and we need to buck up and deal with it with rational civility. Let folks do their jobs. Behave. Wear the masks. This isn’t about you the one who doesn’t believe because the science backs up those that do. So grow up and stop acting like a temper tantrum will get you what you want. Because it won’t. You’ll only prove to those around you watching your childish behavior that you are someone to avoid at all costs.
So let’s try to change the dynamics. Be kind to those helping you in any capacity. Be patient and understanding. Supply chain issues are affecting EVERYTHING from food service to merchandise. That is out of the control of the person standing in front of you telling you that item is sold out or they can’t make that special dish. So yelling at them or demanding to speak to a manager because of it won’t change that they still can’t get that item.
I know many of you are civil and kind to those who help you but many of us still need to shut off that three year old inside of us and understand that things may not go as we planned. It doesn’t mean that we become pushovers though. There are still things out there that do require a certain level of professionalism and attention to detail. Unfortunately I’m still seeing upsetting experiences with DAS guests at attractions and service dog teams going through security😞. I don’t know how to get this fully addressed but I will begin posting more about it.
Link to NYT article if the one above doesn't work, which is unfortunately may be behind a paywall: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/01/business/customer-service-pandemic-rage.html