I hope everyone had a great holiday and are excited about the brand new year and all the possibilities that can bring.
I wanted to relay a small little incident that happened to me this week as were getting back to work. That may give you some pause about how you talk about your company in front of customers.
On Saturday, a delivery driver had attempted to deliver a package but no one was at the office, so they left a notice to call them to reschedule the delivery. So, on Monday morning I called them and they said that the delivery would happen on Tuesday. "Great", I thought. On Monday afternoon, the deliveryman arrived with the package in hand and I relayed my surprise at seeing him 24 hours ahead of schedule.
He asked why I was surprised and told him that I had just spoken to someone in dispatch a few hours earlier and they told me it would be tomorrow. "Hrrmph", he muttered, "It figures." with a look of disdain towards his fellow employees back in the office. I thanked him for making it early, but he couldn't stop bad-mouthing his colleagues. "Let me tell about what they did to another one of my customers." he eagerly continued. Now I was getting uncomfortable.
Clearly here was an employee that loved his job, loved making the customer happy, but he did it at the expense of making his company and his colleagues look bad. I think he wanted to make the point that it was he that was dedicated to making me happy, in spite his situation.
Maybe I've been in management too long, but the whole incident left me unsettled. I was VERY happy the package came early. I was VERY happy that the driver really seemed to care about getting me the package as soon as possible. And I was VERY disturbed that the company had an employee that was so customer-oriented but felt he had to carry the weight of the company on his back to make up for miscues in the front office. He had created villains where there were none (at least to my experience in this matter.)
On reflection, I think this incident is really just an example that every employee needs to be a "worthy ambassador" to customers. This delivery person is sorely in need of coaching of how to deal with customers and convey a positive image of the company no matter what. In this case, how different would my view of the company and this deliveryman if he had only said something like "I'm glad to know were early, we really try to get it here as fast as possible. The folks back in the office try not to set expectations that we can't meet. I'm glad were able to come through for you, I'll let them know you were happy."
Sometimes we all feel the need to burden others with our private frustrations even when we know that its really not the best thing for us, our company, or the customer. A little coaching would have made this deliveryman feel like a hero in this situation, and a hero for the company at the same time.