If you know me well, you’ve heard me go off on a rant or two. I can get pretty worked up about things and boy, I’ll let you and anyone near you hear about it. My problem is that I work in the Customer Service industry. If you work in that field long enough (and if you care about what you do), you tend to expect the same level of service from everyone that you strive to give to your own customers. This is troublesome because a lot of waiters, waitresses, telephone operators, taxicab drivers, etc, are only concerned with their paycheck and couldn’t care less about your experience! They’re too ignorant to understand that their paycheck is directly related to the positive experience and attitude they’re supposed to serve you with.
Unfortunately, I’ve been in this industry for a long time and I’m starting to think that “Good Customer Service” is dead in this country. When I do have a positive experience, I tip very generously, but when it’s bad; I don’t. It’s that simple. I’m polite about it, but why on earth should I generously tip a cab driver who reeks of poop (for example)? When you’re at the table, in the cab, at the counter, or on the phone with someone who’s supposed to be providing you with a service, YOU are the one in charge.
I see providers literally take over a transaction and bulldog customers into accepting substandard service all the time. Don’t let it happen to you. Don’t be mean about it, but there are gentle and subtle ways to let people know that you’re not happy with the service they’re providing. Watch what happens the next time you smile at the Hertz counter and you calmly tell the young lady who botched your reservation, “I’d rather not drive something smaller than what I reserved. I made the reservation for a reason. May I speak to your manager about it, or should I ask that polite young man at the
One place I consistently see people being bullied by their service provider is in a taxicab. Wow. Here are some actual situations I have witnessed or have been a part of where the driver was (or should have been) reported to his hack supervisor:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>– <!–[endif]–>Driver smelled very strongly of feces. Riding from
<!–[if !supportLists]–>– <!–[endif]–>Driver drove two miles, saw that I had alcohol in my bag (a bottle of wine I’d purchased in
<!–[if !supportLists]–>– <!–[endif]–>Driver took me to the wrong address in
<!–[if !supportLists]–>– <!–[endif]–>I have a co-worker who is visually impaired and who used to have a guide dog. He told me that many cab drivers would pull up to his house and stop, only to peel away when they saw his dog. Dogs are considered “unclean” to many people of different religions, and they refused to pick him up.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>– <!–[endif]–>Finally, the only man I ever punched square in the face was a French cab driver in
I don’t want to give the impression that all cab drivers are insane, stinky, or overly passionate about their religion, the vast majority of drivers that I’ve had have been courteous and helpful. I only want to gently remind you that when/if you DO get a bad driver, remember who’s in charge!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.