I am a pretty easygoing person. Both at work and in my personal life, I am an optimist, don’t rattle easily, and even when I am annoyed, most people won’t know it. Life is much better spent with a smile on your face and a compliment on your tongue.
Having said this, I’m going to celebrate my 50th blog entry with a list of things that drive me crazy, mostly business-related with a few personal pet peeves at the end. This small list won’t make the world a better place and won’t make a big splash in the business community. Venting my list of annoyances will, though, make me feel a little better. So please indulge me in the following “Things that make me go arggghhhh!”
Starbucks new rewards program: I am a loyal Starbucks customer. I go there almost daily to drink coffee and work, adding an occasional low fat coffee cake. So when Starbucks changed their rewards program to honor big spenders instead of frequent visitors, it put my next free cup of dark roast far into the future. So while the change was most likely good for Starbucks and I continue to frequent their doorstep, it was – and continues to be – a bad customer experience for me.
No problem: This phrase drives me crazy. When I’m at a restaurant and the server refills my drink, I always offer a heartfelt “Thank you.” More often than not, I hear “No problem” as a reply. Really, no problem? If I ordered a different drink, would that be a problem? That phrase is like nails on a chalkboard to me! The proper response is, of course, “You’re welcome.” I miss that simple retort.
No “I’m sorry”: I help many organizations improve their customer service so admittedly, I’m hypersensitive to a poor customer experience. As I’ve written in previous blogs, exceptional customer service really isn’t difficult, at least in concept. It simply takes energy and dedication to making the customer a priority. I don’t really get upset when my customer experience is less than desirable because mistakes will happen. What drives me crazy is not making the situation right, which always starts with a genuine “I’m sorry”.
Employee as assets: Employees are not assets! Buildings are. Patents are. Equipment and inventory are also assets. But employees? They aren’t something you own. Employees supply the energy a company needs in order to accomplish anything. I once read an article that called employees “investors” which is not bad. The business philosophy Conscious Capitalism describes employees as one of an organization’s key stakeholders. Any of these labels is better than “asset” which sounds like something a company can own and therefor discard, upgrade, replace, or remove as needed. Whatever label an organization chooses, the key is to do everything possible to help employees find success and satisfaction in their daily routines.
Reply all: I wish all companies, as part of their New Hire Orientation, would include an Email Etiquette course. Most organizations are highly dependent on email with many employees receiving dozens and even hundreds of daily emails. So when a “Say congratulations on their promotion” email goes out to the entire organization, please don’t hit “reply all”. While you should say congratulations to the person moving up in the organization, I don’t want or need to see that personal note. Better yet, turn that email into a congratulations phone call!
While the above grumbles are of a business nature, I also have a few personal grievances: how much my dogs bark when a stranger comes to the door, how quickly the price of gas goes up yet it goes down a penny or two at a time, and how some people stand in line talking or looking at their mobile device and once they get to the counter, they then spend five minutes reviewing their food options.
Do I lose sleep over any of these issues? No. But it does feel good to vent a bit.
It also feels good to hit blog number 50. Now on to my next 50. Hopefully, in some small way, my thoughts on corporate culture, leadership, Millennials, excellence, customer service, and employee engagement have made the world – or made someone’s world – a better place.
Thanks for reading and best wishes for a fantastic 2017!
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.