Mediocrity Runs Rampant – How I Made Employees Disappear

Snap-snap…snap-snap. Think of electrical lines that you’ve heard “snapping.” That was the sound of my computer’s power adapter recently. I looked at the adapter and could see the silver coils unraveling in the cord; then I looked at my computer, and it said it was “hibernating” due to a low battery.

After a few seconds of confusion, I realized that my adapter had died, and my computer was in for an extended nap.

Good on the Phone!

Being Saturday morning, and since I was heading out of town, I didn’t have time to call the manufacturer and have the adapter shipped. So I called a computer “superstore,” and the manager was exceptionally helpful. She had a universal adapter but it didn’t specify that my computer was part of the universe that it would help. So she went on the internet to see if her model would work for my computer. Since she couldn’t find a “yes” or “no” answer, she suggested that I come to the store and she’d do whatever she could to help, even opening up an adapter package and testing it on my computer.

Bad in the Store…

When I entered the store on my way out-of-town, I couldn’t find the section where they keep adapters. So I asked for help and was directed to the right location, but the associate (Marla) didn’t know which – if any – of their adapters would work. So she paged the manager that had helped me on the phone, and Marla went off to another part of the store. Five minutes later, I went in search of the manager and instead found Marla. She took me to the repair center and yelled for someone to help. Joe, the repair technician, came out. Just then, in walked the manager (she had been outside on a break). All three employees huddled around to help. I had brought in my adapter to check versus theirs. The adapters looked alike, but the manager asked if I had my computer and could bring it in to test it. So I said “Sure!”

I’m a Magician – I Made Employees Disappear

I went out to my car and brought in my computer, but all three employees had disappeared. I found Marla again, and she asked if it had worked. I told her that everyone had walked off during the 45 seconds that I was out of the store. Frustrated, Marla said “nobody respects me around here. Joe! He’s back!” And in the repair shop, I heard Joe say “OK.” After a few seconds, Joe slowly began to meander out front. After about a minute of verbal sparring with a co-worker, Joe arrived and opened the adapter case. We plugged it in, booted up my computer, and the computer said that the adapter was not compatible.

“It won’t work,” said Joe. And he turned around and left.

I eventually called the original manufacturer of my computer Sunday and spent 30 minutes on hold only to find out that the parts department didn’t open until Monday. On Monday, I ordered the part, and it arrived at noon Tuesday.

Did you see these universal examples of mediocrity? There is so much they could have done to go from delivering mid-level service to being top-notch.

Identify the differences between good and great, and opt for great.

Read our New Book – “Ask Yourself…Am I GREAT at Customer Service?”

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