I drove into the Budget car rental lot at 8:35 a.m. last Sunday. A very pleasant young lady scanned the barcode on the rented car, entered the mileage and told me that I could get my receipt inside the office. I pulled my suitcase along with me into the office where there were five other people who were waiting with their suitcases for the van to take them over to the airport. I knew the van would be arriving at any moment, and I too, wanted to be on that van. I was running short on time and I didn’t want to miss my flight.
There was a long “L” shaped counter with several workstations in the rental car office. The only problem was that no one was working behind the counter. I assumed that someone had stepped into the back office or maybe they had gone to use the restroom.. I waited several minutes. I knew that if I didn’t get help soon, I would surely miss the next shuttle to the airport.
Finally I asked someone else who was waiting in the lobby for the shuttle if there was a bell or buzzer or if they had seen any workers. He pointed back at the counter and said, “They’re back there sleeping.”
“In the back office sleeping?” I thought. Then I looked over the counter and there were three women with their heads down on their desk fast asleep. Only when I said “Hello” did one of them raise their head. She looked like a mess, like I had woken her up from a deep sleep. And, I felt like my presence was an imposition.
Gee, I wonder if the manager ever came in on a Sunday morning to see how things were running? Oh, that’s right… The manager doesn’t have to work the bad hours or shifts. The manager is the manger and has risen above everyone else. The manager is King!
The fact that these three women were sound asleep behind the counter was ridiculous. But I blame management for the problem. Ultimately, it’s management’s responsibility to make sure things run properly. If they don’t come by from time to time to see what is actually going on, they will never be able to insure a high level of quality customer service.
Management is the front line and not the back office! They must be in the trenches. They must live through what level of service their customers are exposed to in order to determine if the way they treat people is really the best level of service that they can effectively deliver.
So often someone rises up through an organization and then feels they are now “above” having to do certain tasks. If you lose your contact with your clients and what they are experiencing, then you will ultimately be passed up by another person or organization that is hungrier than you are, and wants desperately to serve and deliver great customer service.
Stay connected to those people you serve both inside and outside your organization — you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.