Friday, May 25, 2012

That's How Customer Service is NOT Done!

Today was like a Polaroid picture of customer service gone wrong.  It started at McDonald’s, the one in Duncansville, PA, which has always been notorious for poor customer service.  I can’t count the number of times they’ve given me the wrong order, missed food, overcharged me, undercharged me, made me wait, etc.  I try not to go to this one, but sometimes a lack of time and/or a hungry tummy necessitates it.

This morning I arrived and saw a line of probably five or six other vehicles ahead of me.  When I pulled up to the ordering station, I gave my order and then sat for at least three or four minutes, waiting for the cars to move.  My order was $7 and some odd change for an egg McMuffin meal with a large sugar-free vanilla iced-coffee (570 calories for those wondering).  When I got to the payment window, the lady there didn’t even look at me, instead shouting “six oh four” at me.  I handed her the money, not quite sure how my meal had suddenly become cheaper, but she took it and handed it back and said NOTHING.

When I got to the food window, I looked at my receipt and saw one of the oddest orders I’ve ever seen.  Breakfast burrito - no sauce, cup of ice, large unsweetened tea w/ Splenda, and an apple pie.  Seriously, who gets that?  If your order is that complicated, you need to park and go inside.  It’s no wonder these people get your order wrong.  While in college, I worked in the computer room of a mail processing plant, and one of my coworkers would always go to McDonalds and do this crap.  He’d pull up to the window, start by saying he had two separate orders, give them mine (usually a number 1 or 3 or whatever with a Coke), then proceed to give his – a Big Mac with no pickles and extra sauce, a Coke with no ice, etc.  Every time he’d do this, I’d cringe and then inspect my food for human saliva before I ate it.  I stopped going with him after a while, deciding that it was in my best health interests to pack my own lunch!

Anyway, this morning the girl goes to hand me my food, and I tell her the order is wrong.  I tell her what I ordered, and surprisingly she has it right there and ready and hands it to me.  She utters a half-hearted “sorry,” and then I take it and go on my un-merry way.  I mean, it’s a good thing I caught the error; otherwise I would have been eating that other person’s strange meal.  As I mentioned before though, this isn’t the first time they’ve screwed things up.  The last time I was there, a week or two ago, I had to sit for over ten minutes while they made new hash browns.  They made me pull up to the little white line, and finally the scruffy-looking, tattooed, brute of a WOMAN comes out with two bags in her hand, then asks me what my order was, then tells me she’ll be right back as she delivers the bags to two other vehicles who were forced to wait behind me.  I sat there, wasting gas in my idling truck for another two or three minutes, and then finally she returned and gave me my food.  No “sorry” or “thanks” or “have a nice day” or anything.  When I finally got to my office, I opened my bag and noticed that they did give me an apple pie.  I’m not sure if this was done on purpose for making me wait or by accident, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were the latter.

So then I’m off to my doctor’s office for a routine lab appointment.  My appointment was scheduled for 8 AM, and I arrived at 7:52 AM.  I walked in, and the little kiosk to sign in was being used by this extremely loud and obnoxious older woman who obviously had never worked a touch-screen kiosk before.  I stood behind her, waiting patiently, only then to have the lab nurse come out and ask if everyone there had signed in.  Naturally a different woman who had arrived before me hadn’t, despite the HUGE SIGN ON THE WINDOW, so I was polite and allowed her to sign in ahead of me.

I don’t get my doctor’s office, who happens to be one of the bigger “Medical Associates” offices in the “Blair” county area.  They’ve installed these horrendous touch screens that they require everyone to use, and these touch screens are 1: unresponsive, 2: not programmed to clearly indicate what you should do, and 3: difficult for even me to read.  They require you to scan in your insurance card using an awful little card scanner attached to the side on a desk, and even after you scan them, the image takes 5-10 seconds to display on the screen.  Now I’m a pretty tech-savvy guy.  I’m the IT Manager of a small business, and I know more than the average Joe when it comes to these types of things.  But these kiosks even have confused me at times.

And so imagine being 50.  Or 60.  Or 70 or 80!  You get the picture.  Most people that go to the doctor on a regular basis are elderly.  These are the same people that take a half hour to vote.  How in the world are they expected to check in using these kiosks?  I mean, my mom uses a wheelchair when she’s out and about, and these things aren’t even low enough for her to use them.  Even if she were standing up, I don’t think she’d be able to figure them out.  You can pretty much assume that, if you get stuck behind anyone born before the time of microwaves (first sold in 1947), you’re going to be waiting about 15-20 minutes, especially if they are a first-time user.

So my appointment was at 8 AM.  I arrived at 7:52.  I finally got to sign in at 8:07.  I was called back by 8:10, and I was out the door by 8:15.  Fifteen minutes to sign in, 8 minutes until my blood was taken and I was on my un-merry way.  That, my readers, is BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE.  Where was the receptionist?  Oh, she starts at 8:30.  The lab opens at 8.  If you go to the lab, you MUST use the kiosk to sign in.

And then a little bit later today, I received an email from a technology company I’ve used in the past to outsource programming projects.  It’s a pretty big technology company for the area, probably the biggest, and it rhymes with “stink”.  Go figure.  In early April I requested a quote for some minor programming changes to a PHP system they developed for us several years ago.  I received a response that day from out account rep saying she’d get me something in the next week or so.  Nearly a MONTH later, in early May I still hadn’t heard anything, so I emailed our account rep again asking about it.  She finally responded TODAY.  Seriously?  I can’t even fathom taking nearly two months to get someone a quote for 16 hours worth of work.  I’d be fired in an instant.

I could go on and on and on and on and on about bad customer service, but I promise I’ll end here.  I just don’t get it.  Why don’t people take pride in their jobs or their companies?  Why don’t they pay attention to customers complaining and griping?  Maybe I should just stop drinking sugar-free vanilla iced coffees altogether.  But should I stop going to the doctor??

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