August 25, 2009

Banish Nonsense

Posted in Business, Life tagged , , , , , , , , at 6:35 pm by lindaslongview

BanishNonsenseGraffitiI am grateful that there are not too many instances of nonsense in the day-to-day interactions that I have with merchants and providers.  However, when I run into bona fide examples of nonsense, I tend to be incredulous – just how does it happen?!

My favorite chain drugstore was purchased by another chain drugstore about a year ago.  Since then, my favorite store has been undergoing renovation.  Although I have been disappointed as they eliminated my favorite cleansing pads and adhesive bandages, and as they narrowed the aisles and increased the shelf height, I have been accepting of their progress, until recently.  Last week, I went to the drugstore at lunchtime to pick-up a prescription and found the pharmacy closed!

Another patron watched me discover that the pharmacy was closed and stopped me as a departed to ask me how I felt about the reduced hours.  Obviously, I was not pleased with the change.  She told me that she had just asked to speak to the manager because she wanted to complain about the reduction in service hours.  She was especially distraught because lunchtime was the only time she could get to the pharmacy.  I decided to wait with her and corroborate her concern.  When the manager finally arrived, we both expressed our displeasure at the reduction of hours under new ownership.  The manager explained that there had been no reduction in pharmacy hours – the same staff schedules were being maintained. Really?!

So I pushed her explanation, how is it that I could previously access the pharmacy during lunchtime, but not this week with the same hours? She explained that the corporate policy of the new drugstore differed from the old drugstore such that pharmacists must take a lunch break mandated by law.   When the other patron and I asserted that the old drugstore covered the lunch hour satisfactorily and that the laws had not changed, she replied that the old drugstore used a waiver to satisfy the requirement.  Okay, we said, get a waiver or add staff to cover the lunch hour differently OR accept and acknowledge that there is a real reduction in customer service hours.  The manager then began reiterating the party line, “there has been no reduction in pharmacy hours…”

Maybe from the employee staffing perspective there is no reduction in pharmacy hours, but that is irrelevant to the customer.  What matters from the customer perspective are the available pharmacy hours.   Although I would still be unhappy if she had acknowledged that they had reduced pharmacy hours, at least I wouldn’t be insulted.  It is difficult to believe that she thinks customers will accept the nonsense explanation that there was no reduction in customer service hours.  This is not a positive development in my long-term relationship with this drugstore.

ThinkCriticallyGraffitiIt is apparent that the drugstore manager does not subscribe to the long view advice from my prior blog posts: Keeping Coreunderstand your customer’s perspective or Rocking Customer Servicefix what isn’t right without excuse and be grateful for the opportunity.  However, in this situation, what really ruined the long term customer relationship (trust and loyalty) is the doublespeak defense against complaint.   As such, I offer additional long view advice:

  1. Think critically – Does what you say make sense from differing perspectives?  Are the arguments internally consistent?
  2. Banish nonsense – Do not claim something that is not.  Correct problems, apologize for interim inconvenience, and avoid clever debate.

Are you banishing nonsense and thinking critically?

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1 Comment »

  1. Gayle said,

    You’ll put a lot of spin doctors out of business if all the nonsense is banished. 🙂
    But I have to agree, sticking with the “party line” and trying to convince a customer that they were receiving the same service is ludicrous.


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