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Thread: Pathetic Moments in Customer Service

  1. #1

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    Pathetic Moments in Customer Service

    One of my co-workers was holding down the fort on Monday. He was actually getting quite a few calls, and he had some staff reports to finish. So, he didn't immediately return one counter call till early Afternoon.

    He received a voice mail message-from the guy's MOTHER complaining that her son was "not receiving propoer customer service. "

    MODERATORS NOTE: This struck me as sooooo sad I had to make a new thread of it.

    -bturk

  2. #2
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    I think I know who's message would go to the bottom of the return pile and when I returned the guys call if he did not have all of the information required to make a query (property location, tax number, some clue of what he was asking) I would be rather surly. Then again, at our office they avoid leaving me alone and our secretary screens some of my calls to protect the public.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    This brings back some baaaaaaad memories of the old job. I had so much public contact, my response times to phone calls suffered badly. I tried a policy where all messages were returned between 3:30 and 5:00, but that didn't work; inevitably, I'd have a bunch of people stopping by the office during those times, and there'd be little time to return and act on the voice mails that accumulated through the day.

    This begs the question ... if you're a planner that has nearly constant public contact, such as phone calls and/or visitors every 10 to 20 minutes, yet you still need large solid blocks of time for writing reports, reviewing plans, holding meetings and so on, and you could not go "closed door," how do you manage it? I couldn't write staff reports or work on long-range projects with scattered little five-to-ten minute snippets of time. I could only do it by working late, when I could work uninterrupted.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  4. #4
          Downtown's avatar
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    We're lucky - my boss is very supportive of me "closing my door" for when I really need to get something done. Only emergencies (defined by myself) are attended to, anything else and the secretary will tell whoever it is that "I'm sorry, Kelly's in the middle of something right now, but give me your name and number and I'll have her call you just as soon as she becomes available".

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    We are not trained monkeys.

    Then again... well anyway:


    Dan, what you had there was an unrealstic expectation from your employer. No one can do those things (at least not well).

    We're allowed to close our doors and not answer phones peiodically, provided that *someone* is around to cover the counter. I've even gone so far as to block out 3 hours per week on my calendar so no meetings get scheduled in that time slot.

    Our unwritten policy is 24 hour response to calls. Most folks that "drop in" with a quick questioncan be handled by our very most excellent secretary. I've learned if a counter contact requires more than 5 minutes or requires a referral with enginners, inspectors, etc, it's best to have a meeting scheudled and not try to "punt" from the counter.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    yes i was lucky at my old job-i set aside Tues and Thurs as no walk in days-i had meetings pretty much all day tuesday (so i could avoid them other days) and then did follow up paperwork and "stuff" I also used flex time to come in 30 min before other folks and got SOOOOO much done.

    A big help for me in saving time is having folks email me questions rather than phone calls-that way i have the info infront of me so i can be ready to some degree or alert the person who truly needs to answer the question. It works 2x as well if i can email them back and SAVE the email to show i said what i said.

    I am nuts about documenting and saving things-this was a HUGE help, though the IT guys hated the server space i took.

    PG
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Habanero's avatar
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    Re: Pathetic Moments in Customer Service

    Originally posted by BKM


    He received a voice mail message-from the guy's MOTHER complaining that her son was "not receiving propoer customer service. "
    I think I would've put that number on the very last pile of crap I got to-

    How old is this guy to have his mother call? Is he Robbie on Everybody Loves Raymond?
    When Jesus said "love your enemies", he probably didn't mean kill them.

  8. #8

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    He WAS an adult-at least chronologically

    From the voice, he was at least in his thirties!

    The guy on counter duty had even already answered the question once with the guy's realtor!

    And, he received the call around 10:00, returning it in early afternoon (we are not talking about a week later).

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Here's a customer service-related thought for you guys. Ever date anyone you've dealt with across the counter?

    First job, I had dates with two customers; both had simple questions about business registrations, signs, and so on.

    One other time, I had a date with one of the evil cell tower property acquisition agents. This, of course, was a few weeks after her site plan and special review request was heard by the P&Z and City Council ... I wanted to make sure that even the appearance of a conflict of interest was minimized. We really hit it off, but unfortunately she was one of the city's legion of hyper-upwardly mobile women, so she scheduled dates weeks in advance. Bah ..
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    My last job, we had 2 planners on "lunch duty" every day from 11:30 to 1 p.m., and one planner "on call" every a.m. and p.m. for the "customer resource center" (on another floor). An admirable idea, but it was scheduled out weeks in advance, so if you were in a real crunch on BCC day or for another issue, you were screwed, you had to be there.
    I found the biggest help was to work not in sight of the customer counter, and let the folks at the counter know which idiots I didn't want to deal with, who just wanted to bitch and waste my time, and they'd keep telling them I was unavailable.

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