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Friday, January 09, 2009

My Hot Button....

What is the one topic in life that can get me going? Customer Service. I may or may not have mentioned this on the blog over the past 3 years (which is shocking). It is my passion - both good and bad.
If I experience bad customer service, I try and let someone know so it can be corrected.
If I experience really good customer service, I go out of my way to let the right people know so that person is praised.
I had maybe the best restaurant experience of my life two weeks ago. The waitress was attentive, friendly but not overly-cheeseball, thoughtful of the kids and their entertainment factor, etc. She was everything a good waitress at a family-friendly restaurant should be. After eating, even though Matt had pulled the car up, the kids had coats on and were ready to go, and I had to wait a minute or so for the manager to come out from the kitchen (very timid and nervous, might I add), I made it clear that this woman was the greatest server and did everything right. "She should win an award!" I exclaimed! I think the manager thought I was a whack-job but that is neither here nor there....
When I have a terrible experience with customer service, I also let those people know. Two summers ago, Lucy had a terrible diaper rash and I needed to get our "magic butt paste" prescription called into our pharmacy before our weekend camping trip that afternoon. The phone nursing staff at the pediatrician's office was terribly unfriendly, made no attempt at sounding kind or thoughtful and actually sounded VERY annoyed at my request. I was so unhappy, I made a call back and spoke with the manager, letting her know that it was unacceptable behavior to treat customers that way. Apologies were made and interestingly, our next two co-payments were credited when I had the kids back in for check-ups later that year.
I have dedicated much of my professional career to customer service and teaching others HOW to provide good customer service. I genuinely feel passionate about the topic, for whatever reason.
I have volunteered many hours of the past year to helping my kid's preschool provide great customer service and good communication. I really believe it is paying off. People seem very happy, there is a "buzz" about the school right now, less confusion about things, and we are doing well with registering families for the next year.
I registered Tommy for next year's preschool. I did not register Lucy, for the first time in 3 years. Lucy is headed to Kindergarten this fall. She has stars in her eyes about her "big kid school."
After a meeting this morning, Lucy's teacher suggested we call our elementary schools to let them know we have a first-born child attending Kindergarten this fall. So I called. And who answered the phone but...the principal herself! After my awkward explanation of why I was calling, she made a point of saying "first of all, welcome to our elementary school!" The rest of the call included other blurbs of kindness such as, "So happy I was able to speak with you personally....oh you are just right around the corner, how nice!....I love the name are all set, watch for our postcard in March!"
I hung up with a large sigh of relief and realized....she did it! Great customer service! I was the nervous parent seeking out some friendly words and she delivered. It felt great.
So I am still sad to see my girl head off every morning next year, but I was rest assured they are doing something right over there. And we're off to the next phase of life...


At 11:47 AM, Blogger petite gourmand said...

I'm with you about customer service.
Giving praise when its due and the opposite when necessary.
Unfortunately the worst part about free health care here in Canada, is that if you have a problem with it- too bad.
There's no one to complain to really.
You're lucky if you can actually get a doctor and not get put on a waiting list.
Which sucks.
I'd much rather pay and then have more say.

I just called Lulu's new school to enroll as well and though they were not rude, they certainly weren't warm & fuzzy like at Lucy's new school.
I asked about the class sizes- 20 kids 1 teacher- and mentioned that that seemed a bit high and if they had parent volunteers- the woman I spoke to was a bit abrupt and said its up to the individual teacher.
Um okay- sorry for asking.
Just wanted to offer up my precious time for Free!

Some friends of ours just started their daughter in a small private school -8 kids 2 teachers-and I must admit it's so tempting.
Then again, at $20 000. per year for jr. kindergarden- it's not likely for Lulu.

At least the public school in our neighborhood is ranked as one of the best in the city.

At 11:19 AM, Blogger amanda said...

I'm so with you on this one!!

Congrats on such a great experience with the school/principal. What a incredibly important place to receive excellent customer service.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I'm right there with you. I have tracked down managers to praise good servers, and I've written letters of praise and complaint. The two biggest black holes of sucky customer service for me are Verizon and Aetna and any time I have to call either of them I know I'll spend hours of my time wasted, frustrated and sucked into the madness. We even tend to eat at the same restaurants over and over than have proven multiple times to have good reliable service over trying someplace totally new. Its just too expensive to risk eating somewhere that we don't know what to expect.

So glad you had a good first impression of Lucy's school. Because you can't really pick where she goes and you'll have so much communication with them in the years ahead.

Great post!


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I'm a 39 year old stay-at-home mom. I have a 9 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. I have lived in the big city and in the mountains, but am happy to be back in the Midwest, raising the fam. I enjoy laughing, wine, bad karaoke, US Weekly, running, cemetaries, cheese sticks and short hair-dos. In my previous life, I was class-clown and a wanna-be comedian. In my professional life, I'm a journalism major with 10 years of marketing and PR experience. I dream of being a cast member on Saturday Night Live and working at Disney World as Snow White.

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