Arrogant Customer Service

For anyone that has been on a cruise vacation, there is little doubt in my mind that you have experienced the highest level of customer service from the time of booking until getting off the ship.  That is if you book your cruise directly with the cruise line because they will be responsible for every point of contact with you from start to finish.  But what happens if you happen to start things off with a travel agency that is not focused on customer service?

A year ago I learned that a group of singers that I really like were trying to broaden out from concerts, CDs and DVDs to promote their music and were thinking about a cruise where they would be the main entertainment.  I was interested so I put my name on the follow-up list.

This past week I was alerted to the date, cruise line and ship name they would be sailing on, and to be ready in another week to book our cabins at a “special rate”.  Having sailed on this particular cruise line many times I called my personal cruise consultant and she said there was nothing in the record of this travel company having chartered the ship, so maybe they were just hosting the event and selling cabins too.  So I decided to book the cruise.  Since this is for November of 2013 I was able to purchase two balcony rooms for four people at a great price.  When I booked the cruise with the cruise line, they took great pains to verify if the ship had been chartered and nothing was on their records.  They noted that a charter is never announced to potential clients before a ship is chartered and that this particular cruise had been selling for months now even though it was a year away.

Today I received another email from the travel agency noting that they were now accepting reservations and included a price list that was 3.7 times higher than I paid.  On just the two rooms I booked, the cost was $4600 more!  I was informed that my reservation with the cruise line would be null and void and that I would have to pay the new rates to take this special cruise.

The travel agent then told me that “they will have no trouble selling out this 3000 passenger ship and that if I didn’t pay the higher rate it was not going to bother them in the least.”  She then added, “We know our rates are high, but we are not ashamed of making a little money.”

This is what a lack of empathy looks like.  This is what I now have coined “Arrogant Customer Service.”  Not only do they represent themselves, they represent the cruise line and the performers that have attached their names to this event.

I don’t have a bad taste in my mouth for cruising or this cruise line.  I do feel like these performers are screwing their fans for the privilege to meet them, and I know for a certainty that I will never recommend this arrogant travel agency to anyone.  In fact, someday I might even tell you who you too should avoid.

Rewarding Honesty

As I write this, the news media is having a field day “catching” a Presidential candidate telling the truth about our situation, while at the same time they are supporting the other candidate’s twisted and mischaracterized stories of realty.  The lesson learned is that honesty is not rewarded and that mis-directing people is rewarded.  To say the least this is twisted.

Yet while the mainstream media long ago threw out the truth with the bath water to become the lackeys of anything democrats support, they also threw out their ability to be honest and trusted.  And while the media is generally in our face daily, I would like to redirect your attention to the people in and around you at work.

It goes without question that we should be honest and ethical in our everyday work life.  As soon as we become the opposite our ability to be trusted again is about zero.  Yet how we respond to honesty is the other side of the coin.  If you are honest and trustworthy, you should also endorse and support those around you that are also acting this way.  You should look for ways to reward honesty while denouncing behaviors that are self-serving or slanted away from the truth.

If I heard it once I’ve heard it a thousand times, “let it go Jim.”  In other words, just ignore it Jim, it has always been that way Jim, they have always stretched the truth Jim, move on Jim you are disrupting the flow.  All because it bothers me to no end when someone is allowed to lie, cheat and steal and I am supposed to look the other way.  One manager I had used to call me a Boy Scout (which I was, Eagle Scout in fact) or my favorite Joan of Arc.  I used to comment on the last one that it was okay if he called me that as long as I didn’t leave this earth the way she did.

My point is that not only to we need to personally set an example and model honesty, we need to clap loudly in support of others that do the same thing.

Loyalty is Still a Good Trait

In reading a devotional this past week in which Joel Osteen describes loyalty, it had me reflecting on loyalty in the workplace.

Here is what Joel said –

“Loyal people are respectful of their country and leaders. Loyal people honor their parents and defend their family. When you’re loyal, you are a person of integrity. You build trust with others.”

Do you remember the days when employees at all levels of the organization had a similar marching order for success that went something like this?  Do your job so well that you make your boss and company look good!

There was a time where being loyal to your company and your boss was a good thing.  Somewhere along the line the companies started to be less loyal to employees and treated them more like equipment than people.  I had a boss one time that referred to the trainers as resources.  We were included with other resources like training equipment, facilities and materials.  Being referred to on the same level as a 3-ring binder does little to build loyalty.

Companies still want loyalty from employees and I believe that most employees want to be loyal to their companies.  Yet this mutual loyalty goes both ways and I am afraid we have employees working for us that need very little motivation from the employer to jettison loyalty when they feel mistreated.

Now while this may sound like the problem of the employee being too sensitive, it is more the responsibility of the employer to grow loyalty between themselves and their employees.  So when we look again at Joel’s original thoughts I zero in on the words “trust” and “integrity.”

Of course employees should be trusted and come with integrity.  And here is the simple truth – when employees are trustworthy to each other and are people of integrity, the company is also trustworthy, ethical and a company of integrity.  Interesting how all this could work!

Lie to Me – I’m an Idiot!

In full disclosure here I am a conservative registered republican, so when I watched last week’s GOP convention I was thrilled with the positive vision and hopeful feeling that we as a country can do better.  And then I get all tied in knots listening to the other side lie to me about what I actually heard with my own ears.

When people lie, they are hoping to convince you that their version of the truth is real and that up to now you have been misguided.  Having raised children, which I think prepares you to spot a liar when they stand in front of you, I can see and hear falsehoods quickly.

Yet the other side of the coin is that the liar is also inadvertently telling you that they think you are an idiot and therefore unable to reason things for yourself.  You should believe what they are telling you even if it is a lie.  Let’s face it, some honestly believe that if they say something one way long enough that somehow it becomes real.

Politics are tough enough to un-scramble, but nothing pushes my buttons like a liar.  They call it spin, I call it a lie.  When I run across politicians like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, I trust them more because I don’t find them lying to me.  When the media and the democrats twist or directly misquote, I reason that everything they tell me is a lie from then on.

So how different is this reasoning if you are one of my employees, or peers, or even my manager?  Nothing very different to my way of thinking.  If you lie to me, then you too think that I’m an idiot.  Good luck with that tactic as I can tell you now that you have already lost my support!