What ever happened to customer service?

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After reading about the levels of customer disservice recently received by two very visible—and very vocal—meeting professionals, MaryAnne and Joan, I have to wonder what is going on. I know the economic fallout on most of us, and particularly those in low-wage jobs, is an increasingly overworked and overstressed workforce, but there's just no excuse for all the rudeness and just-don't-care-itude (I know, not a word) I'm hearing about lately.

While training may be able to help some, it comes down to having an attitude of service, or the lack thereof. If you truly believe, as I do in my job, that you're there to help, then you try to help to the best of your ability. If you're just there to earn a paycheck, eh, why bother?

As I commented on Joan's post, there is something fundamentally wrong with an organization's culture when being unable and/or unwilling to try to retrieve a guest's package is seen as normal, rather than mortifying.

Service should be in the DNA of a hotel (um, this is still the hospitality business, no?), not peripheral, not optional depending on the mood or time of day or who's in house that day, not something that you need to be trained to do, because a truly service-oriented organization hires for that service attitude and trains on tasks, not the other way around.

I know we're all stressed, and overworked, or out of work and scared, or going through whatever it is we're going through. But that's no excuse to stop caring about the people around us and, for those of us whose jobs entail customer service, servicing the customers or, if we can't get them what they want, at least empathizing and doing our best to assuage the pain our ineptitude is causing them. This ain't rocket science, folks.

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