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Poll results: Would you ring the LJS customer service bell?

Voters
38. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes! Hooray for good service

    1 2.63%
  • No, I find it demeaning to the employees

    4 10.53%
  • Yes, but only because I like to ring bells

    7 18.42%
  • Yes, but then I'd reenact the final death scene from the movie 'Scarface'

    3 7.89%
  • No, ringing would imply I actually cared

    5 13.16%
  • Yes, but I'd ring it in an appropriately demeaning way (Shave & a haircut...)

    1 2.63%
  • No, ringing is pointless why expend the calories

    6 15.79%
  • What is this bell you speak of?

    4 10.53%
  • Maister, you really need to work in a different field

    8 21.05%
  • Other (explain in excruciating detail below)

    4 10.53%
Multiple choice poll
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Thread: To Ring or Not to Ring: Part 1 of the Corporate Culture Thread Series

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    To Ring or Not to Ring: Part 1 of the Corporate Culture Thread Series

    Last week I did something I’ve not done in many years – ate lunch at the local Long John Silver’s restaurant. A number of cosmetic changes occurred on the interior since the last visit, but they generally retained the extant nautical theme. One thing that I’m pretty sure wasn’t there before was a bell near the exit with a sign below stating “Ring the bell if we provided great service”. My god, I went there for a little artery clogging paste and instead upon my departure end up being faced with an existential dilemma….

    To Ring or Not to Ring: that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous consumerism, or to take arms against a sea of corporate pablum and by opposing end it.

    Here are the arguments pro and con as I see it

    Not to ring We may be certain that this whole ‘have customers ring a bell’ idea was hatched by some enthusiastic junior executive at the LJS corporate HQ. No doubt the genius in question was tasked with devising some way to improve customer service and had the epiphany that employees hearing a bell ring equals positive feedback/reward. Sadly, this same individual also must have slept through his/her psych 101 class, as he/she was apparently oblivious to the not so subtle Pavlovian undertones behind the concept. By ringing, the customer reinforces this paradigm, treating the fast food employees no differently than Pavlov’s dogs. The other (and more compelling) argument is that it’s simply a waste of time because the employees don’t give a rip. Do 17 year old minimum wage-earning fast food employees have conversations like these – “Say Julie, I heard the bell ring five times during your lunch shift and only three times during my dinner shift. I bet that 20 cent/hour raise is going to have your name on it. How do you garner such high levels of customer satisfaction? I just gotta make that bell ring some more.” “Well Skip, I just wear a smile on my face all the time and try to put myself in the customers’ shoes. Remember the old saying in our new-hire training videos - happy employees make for happy customers…..”

    To ring Perhaps the above arguments seem overpowering only because we have become so jaded (hey, I worked a few years at Baskin-Robbins). Sure, we assume employees exhibiting turnover rates at the level found in the fast food industry don’t give a crap, but perhaps on some level they actually do care. Hearing a bell ring could in fact be a reminder that someone in the world is aware of their existence and thought enough about their performance to actually spend one second ringing a bell. And who knows, maybe there really are employees who actually feel good every time an angel earns its wings. A bell, after all, seems more friendly than those impersonal customer comments cards that no one ever fills out unless they have a gripe/bad experience.

    I’m picking on LJS because I happened to experience this recently, but there are many many more examples of these sort of useless/impotent ‘feelgood corporate policies' to be found. The most common are probably phone etiquette policies where employees are supposed to answer the phone with some sort of stock phone script that identifies the company and supposedly says something about it or mention some sale or other offer e.g. “Thank you for calling Happy Piggy Grocery stores, home of the famous biggy piggy discount card, how may we help you”

    Last edited by Maister; 04 Aug 2008 at 5:10 PM. Reason: added Metropolis image
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Ring the Damn Bell!

    Just make sure it's to high for the kiddies to reach....that get's annoying REALLY quick for the poor bastards who eat at the restaurant


    I doubt 1 in 100 food workers even recognize the name Pavlov and those that might are most likely management anyway or college students.

    Have the bell on the left side of the door and poor job button on the right, that when depressed, it sounds an alarm that sounds like a cross between a Rhinoceros bowel movement and the thud of a bird impacting on a window

    I don't care how great your service or product is....once the general public figures out they like the sound of the poor job button more.....that's it....game over
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    You know that bell is going to get abused by all those high-school kids that want to annoy their little buddies working behind the counter. Is it a hanging bell or does it have some sort of regulating mechanism whereby someone can't just whale away on it like Paul Revere?


    Maister: I really think you ought to post more on the theme of making the mundane profound.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    You know what scares me? That Maister says this is part one of a series. That implies that there are more observations like this to come!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Well, I suppose it's no odder than people standing by a major roadway waving signs that read "Honk if you love Jesus"........

    I do not like any corporate nudge to give instant feedback, like when the manager sidles up to the table to ask how my dining experience is going. After all, it could be hours yet before the food poisoning sets in, and I wouldn't want to be suffering thru that while remembering I'd been ringing their little bell. (Not that I'd be caught dead in a Long John Silvers, anyway...)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I won't even step onto the premises of a LJS. There's no level of service that they could provide that would tempt me to sample their fare let alone be subjected to inane ringing of an effing bell.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  7. #7
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I don't think I've ever been to an LJS. But a return to my restaurant manager days....

    We didn't have a bell but we had comment cards, received comments via website, and of course the 800#. We also had a Mystery Shopper come through twice a month.

    Anytime an employee got a compliment through any of the aforementioned methods I would always let them know, post it up on our daily bulletin board, and also let the manager on shift know as well. I definitely counted such things in a performance review. If you experience good service let the manager know!

    I don't think I would have liked a bell, the smart a$$es would have rung it all the time just to be cute.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    What happened to well proven standard, and to those 17 year old minimum wage earners, much appreciated, TIP? Has tipping become mandatory and therefore meaningless (in some countries restaurants automatically add a "service charge" that is actually an enforced tip)?

    I think a bell ringing all the time would drive me nuts. But as a minimum wage earner I made most of my meager income from, yeah you guessed it, tips.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Maister - Is the photo from Metropolis?

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Richi View post
    Maister - Is the photo from Metropolis?
    Either you're an ardent Fritz Lang fan or you read my comments in the 'reason for editing' box, but yes, that pic is from the classic 1927 sci-fi film "Metropolis".
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  11. #11
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Monamogolo View post
    What happened to well proven standard, and to those 17 year old minimum wage earners, much appreciated, TIP? Has tipping become mandatory and therefore meaningless (in some countries restaurants automatically add a "service charge" that is actually an enforced tip)?

    I think a bell ringing all the time would drive me nuts. But as a minimum wage earner I made most of my meager income from, yeah you guessed it, tips.
    Long John Silver's is considered fast food and as such one would not tip in such a place. When I worked in a grocery store we were forbidden to accept tips when we carried gorceries out to someones car. I know I and others still did though.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Don'tcha just LOOOOOVE things that were dreamed up by newly minted MBAs?

    This sounds almost like a USNavy SEAL instructor yelling "JUST GO AND RING THAT D*** BELL!!!" at one of his students....



    There were some LJSs here in NE Wisconsin about 10 years or so ago, none since.

    Mike

  13. #13
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    My Answer: Other

    Excruciating Detail: NUTS! to Corporate America!
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    I've never been to a Long John Silvers. In seriously thinking about what I would do, I would probably not ring the bell because I would bristle at the idea of "The Man" telling me what to do in a cute sort of way.

    I would then go home and start a thread on Cyburbia about it but Maister beat me to it.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    I have never been in a Long John Silver,

  16. #16
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    I picked NO, because in the grander scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. Sure...a few employees may get a "Good job!" or "Way to Go!", but it won't really change anything about the corporate culture.

    People vote with their dollar, not a stupid bell.

  17. #17
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    What's Long John Silvers? A pron movie? Or am I thinking of John's Long Silver?
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  18. #18
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    What's Long John Silvers? A pron movie? Or am I thinking of John's Long Silver?
    Actually....it's "Long Dong Silver", made famous by the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings and Saturday Night Live.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    Actually....it's "Long Dong Silver", made famous by the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings and Saturday Night Live.
    Dong, dong, dong!!!! Arrrrrrrr, now we be talkin' service?
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  20. #20
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Dong, dong, dong!!!! Arrrrrrrr, now we be talkin' service?
    Off-topic:
    Q: How did Captain Hook die?
    A: He came down with a bad case of jock itch.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Off-topic:
    Q: How did Captain Hook die?
    A: He came down with a bad case of jock itch.
    Arrrrrrr, and that be why me vote be fer Maister, you really need to work in a different field , ANY OTHER FIELD.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  22. #22
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I have been to a Long John Silvers. I like the clam strips.

    I would not ring the bell. Why disturb other people's dinner? Why bring attention to myself?

    OT: the corporate food practice I really hate is the overly-friendly waitstaff that feels compelled to treat me like their new best friend and sits at my table to tell me the daily special.

    "Uh, step back, Skippy. Don't sit at my table unless you plan to chip in for dinner. Stand up, tell me the specials, then get my damn drinks. The percentage of your tip is getting lower every moment you are warming a seat at my table."
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  23. #23
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    I also can't stand long-winded phone scripts (another POX! on having newly-minted MBAs in the front office! ).

    What's wrong with "Thank you for calling (insert company name here), this is (insert your name here), how may we help you?" anyways?

    Mike

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post
    "Uh, step back, Skippy. Don't sit at my table unless you plan to chip in for dinner. Stand up, tell me the specials, then get my damn drinks. The percentage of your tip is getting lower every moment you are warming a seat at my table."
    I thought this was standard issue at all Hooters...
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  25. #25
    My younger brother worked at LJS for the summer and he told me the following stroy. The food at LJS comes in plastic bags that are then opened and the contents put into deep friers. Everything is deep fried at LJS. At lunch or dinner when things get really busy many of the workers will just put the bag in the deep frier without opening it. The plastic just melts and it saves them a lot of time. You get wonderful service, " a quick well cooked meal". You probably should not ring any bells, and should check the plastic content of any meal prior to eating. He also said that cleaning out the deep friers was not a great job, so sometimes it would go for a few days before someone was forced to clean them out......

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