This customer service experience story is from my friend Dana. She is a web savvy and customer service oriented woman I met eons ago in Chicago who runs "Words To Sweat By" out of San Jose California. Find her funny motivational workout gear here.
This is the story in Dana's words:
What should have been a quick trip to Sears turned into a two-hour long debacle. We went into the tool section to buy (you guessed it) a tool chest for my DH. He knew what he wanted but also needed to fiddle for a couple of minutes to confirm.
After 20 minutes someone finally came to help him, but then once he had decided (10 minutes after that) it took another hour and half to complete a transaction. Because we had started working with one sales person, it appeared we couldn't be helped by another and the one who had helped us kept helping others and telling us "one more minute".
When he was finally ready to help us, he took the numbers that we wrote down, but didn't double check them and it turns out I had gotten one of the items wrong. Regardless, the set we wanted was OUT OF STOCK, oh, and discontinued as well. They should have had a sign up saying no longer available or only the floor model available at this store.
The sales person checked only 1 store in the area (because he had to call them, it wasn't available online) and they too were out.
We started to leave and I began to rant to another sales person because I was extremely frustrated so he started talking to us.
So with this new guy, we offered to buy the floor model, but they couldn't find the keys and the manager wasn't willing to figure out a way to sell us that one by giving us new key mechanisms.
Since the floor model wasn't an option, the new sales person finally decided to check different store in the area and lo and behold, they had a new set in stock that we could pick up.
So, we spent 2 hours on something that should have taken (tops) 30 minutes - most of which should have been my DH fiddling with each of the chests picking out the one he wanted.
Needless to say, we will not be giving our money to that specific Sears store again.
I think this is a great example of powerlessness in a person, let alone an employee.
Dana is right, this is a classic example of the powerless and demotivated employee. Powerlessness in an employee comes from one of two places; the employee or the employer. The employee may play helpless to avoid putting out an effort or to communicate their disdain for the work, company or customer. Many times an employer fails to fully utilize the intelligence and ability of their employees by exerting too much control. This also occurs when employers fail to hire and train their teams to make the best choices available. I believe that even when the problem begins with the employer, the employee is responsible for how they react to and translate the results.
With the current economic situation and the dismal job market many people take a job in order to just get by. They are not invested in their work and do not care about anything past punching in and then punching out again. I see this at every level from fast food counter all the way up to professionals in salaried positions. This demotivation stems from the individual's belief that the job they are currently in is below them. The job may be beneath their skill or experience level, it may be boring or embarrassing or humbling. HOWEVER--I will always expect someone in this position to be AWESOME in this job. I expect to see them excel in every way and then to be noticed by employers and customers alike for their said awesomeness. Each of us is fully responsible for how we react to the cards we are dealt...the winner keeps playing fair and smiling no matter how the game is going. When we make the best of the situation we are in, it opens up better opportunities for our future.