Thursday, February 20, 2020

CS - Customer Service, Vs. UX - User Experience - and Life

Not to long ago I passed a sign on a McDonald's Restaurant that said they were hiring "Smiling Faces" and I had to drive around the block to take a picture of the sign. I visit McDonald's very often and lately there are not many "Smiling Faces".

Actually there are not many "Smiling Faces" anywhere I go where there is a employee - customer connection. 

This morning at McDonald's I was attended to by a robot impersonator. The individual did not smile, actually no expression. I was asked what I wanted, my response "Senior Coffee" (because I can) with a smile. Then with the same non-expression the attendant said "Cream or sugar", I said "No" and then I added "I would like a Hash Brown". As the conversation went on the same non-expression until I paid. She turned around, got my coffee, and said "This-is-your-coffee" - almost like a computer - and like I would not have known what it was.

Theory: McDonald's employees are being trained so that when they are replaced with robots we will not notice the difference. Warning: The Kiosks are only the beginning.

This is not happening at just McDonald's; but at Burger King, Starbucks, Panera Bread, department stores, and on, and on, and on.

At a Burger King we had an experience which was unbeatable. The manager was LOUD, loud enough to be offensive. She appeared to yell at everyone in the kitchen. My wife said "She is nasty" and my wife is not usually one to respond. The individual employees were pleasant but real quiet, almost a whisper. We did go to another Burger King and it was not the same.

I stopped going to Starbucks some time ago, and not because of the price. For years I held their Gold Card. The Barista training has changed, they do not have time to be pleasant, just get the order out the door. My first thought was time for pleasantness must reduce the ROI. 

PF Chang's, one of the places we used to love. We went in one day last summer and it was so hot, very hot inside. An employee said they had been there for a number of years and this was the way it is every summer - management won't, or can't fix the AC. I suspect "won't". This is also the same management that cut out all the little niceties that we liked at PF Chang's. They also cut the staff and I am sure it is in their quest to increase the ROI.

Perhaps is it ROI, however, attitude appears to becoming part of a national problem. I am finding very few pleasant people in most of any retail business - restaurants, stores - including the big ones. I get better treatment online. Yes I may have to deal with a chat environment but at least they say "Hello" and "How can I help your today?" It may be a script but it plays better on a screen than a script  used by an employee at a fast food chain, restaurant, or large department store. 

Kindness in our dealing with people is disappearing. Actually Kindness is only celebrated by Ellen DeGeneres. I do hear "Be Kind" in places but practice? Hmm…..

One could reflect on our current political stage as an example. We witness political actions in which demeaning people is the way to go. This occurs in BOTH political parties. Civility is a thing of the past. I suspect  showing courtesy, or respect for someone must be looked upon as making one weak. Sadly some take this as a mandate on how they should act to everyone.  You have to put down your rival - even in your own political party - and in your business Life. 

Sadly, some only Live by putting down someone else. I suspect it is their way of feeling better about themselves. 

The world may be watching, but sadly the kids are learning. I grew up on the Golden Rule, perhaps the perception is changing. 

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