A Tale of Two Experiences With Customer Service

I am big believer of treating others as you would like to be treated. So when I have to call or have some sort of customer service interaction I keep this rule in mind. Recently I have had two customer service experiences that were about as opposite as you can get.

The first experience was at our local veterinarian. Both the dog and cat were due for refills of their flea medications. When the husband called to request these he was told that the animals would need to be seen for an exam before they could refill the prescriptions. Because it was close to the holidays and knowing how much that was going to be, he requested that the appointment be after the first of the year. They agreed and said they would dispense a one month refill to get us by until then. It would take 24 hours before the refill was ready, but we could pick it up anytime after that. Fast forward two days – we stopped by the clinic to pick up the medicine at 2:00 in the afternoon. When I got out of the car I was met in the parking lot by one of the staff who asked me what I needed, note “what I needed” not “how can I help you?”. I told her I was there to pick up medicine for our animals. Without asking any questions or giving me a chance to explain any further, she informed me they were in the middle of a staff meeting and that I would have to come back after 3:00. She did not ask what sort of medicine it was, if it was any kind of emergency situation, just that they were unable to serve me during their regular business hours. The tone in her voice was one of inconvenience, as though I was interrupting a highly critical procedure or crisis. Never mind that I was the customer, there during their normal posted hours, attempting to give them my money. Based on her attitude and the utter lack of communication on their part, we will no longer be doing business with this clinic.

The second experience I had was with an insurance company. I went in expecting the worst, mainly because it’s health insurance and past experiences of dealing with them while working for a chiropractor some years ago. After getting through a ridiculous number of prompts and irrelevant information I reached an actual live person. Darren was very pleasant from the get go and easy to understand (always an added bonus these days when calling what I expected to be a call center). I explained my situation to him, confirmed the answers to his questions, and he was able to take care of my issue without any hair pulling, up selling or any other hoops that I would have to jump through. A few things that stood out from this experience were the fact that it was not a call center that I had reached, but the actual insurance company offices, that they have a significant number of long term employees and they promote from within, and lastly, that when you address a cs rep by name they are quite surprised and pleased that you took the time to notice and use their name. Darren even went so far as to thank me for using his name and said most people don’t do that and typically start off the conversation by yelling at him. I don’t understand this logic. If you are calling someone for help, why would you be so combative right off the bat? Would it hurt to take a minute, address them as a human being with a name, explain the situation, and let them try to help you to the best of their ability. While the call did take almost a half an hour, we had a pleasant chat during the wait time, he shared with me a bit about the company and their work environment, and proved to me that this was a company I would continue to do business with based on the way they treat their employees and customers. And it turns out the problem I had was a computer glitch and an easy solution was found.

So as we approach the end of this year and look forward to a new beginning in 2015 I challenge you to keep in mind this one simple rule – treat others with the same respect as you would have them treat you. You’ll be amazed how much more pleasant and enjoyable your life can be.

How Much Is Too Much?

I stumbled across this on Tumblr. Because I have a high school student (a freshman this year) who is going through exactly this, I felt it had to be shared.

teacher 1

parent 1

teacher 2

parent 2

parent 3

parent 4



So if a teenager is at school for roughly 8 hours, and they are doing homework for 6+ hours, and they need AT LEAST 9 HOURS OF SLEEP FOR THEIR DEVELOPING BRAINS, then they may have 0-1 hours for other activities like eating, bathing, exercise, socializing (which is actually incredibly important for emotional, mental, and physical health, as well as the development of skills vital to their future career and having healthy romantic relationships among other things), religious activities, hobbies, extra curriculars, medical care of any kind, chores (also a skill/habit development thing and required by many parents), relaxation, and family time?  Not to mention that your parents may or may not pressure you to get a job, or you might need to get one for economic reasons.

I will never not reblog this

So my question is this – how do we change this? Why do we expect this much from our kids, when we aren’t even doing this much as adults. What exactly is this teaching them, other than to be work-a-holics when they are finally done with school and in debt up to their eyeballs. It certainly does not instill a love of learning or reading, key ingredients to living a fulfilled, enriched life.  The stress and anxiety that my 14 year old is going through this year is ridiculous. Homework is assigned over the summer and holiday breaks. Have schools and teachers forgotten the meaning of the word “break”?

Your thoughts?

#WCW (woman crush Wednesday)

She’s playing sold out arena shows in the UK, yet here in the states she’s only playing at small clubs, not even a blip on the radar. This has to change. She is a phenomenal talent, and puts on an amazing live show. I had the chance to see her in Seattle this fall in a small club, and will go see her again and again if the opportunity arises.

I give you Paloma Faith


And one of my favorite songs of her’s (off the Do You Want The Truth or Something Beautiful album)

How Rude

I am always amazed at how rude some people can be.

First example happened at my local gym. There was a woman in the locker room who decided this was a good place to take a phone call. While she was on the phone, she walked back to the area where the toilet stalls are located. She continued her conversation back there, when someone, yes, flushed the toilet. When this person walked out, the first woman stopped her phone call and said to the person exiting said stall “can’t you see I’m on the phone?” Okay, there are so many things wrong with this, but I couldn’t believe she had the audacity to think this, much less say it out loud. First of all, the woman already in the stall had no idea that the other woman was on the phone (the doors are not see through for a reason). Second, why on earth would you take a call in a locker room and then walk around, especially back to the area where the toilets and showers are located.  And why would she think that a toilet is more mobile than a phone? Um, hello, but use your brain, say to the caller “excuse me for a moment, I’m in the locker room, let me go outside so we can talk unimpeded” if the call is that important that you must take it at that exact moment. The world does not revolve around you, nor should you expect it to.

The next example hits closer to home. As a parent of a girl adopted from China I have encountered many people who feel it’s okay to ask me the most personal of questions. Or make assumptions about my child bearing capabilities. The fact that I’m even writing that sentence is a sad commentary on peoples manners these days.

I would have people say, “oh, I’m so sorry you couldn’t have a child of your own.” Or “how much did she cost?” “You know, there are treatments that you or your husband could try.” And the kicker “how can you love her, she’s not really your own child.” And what made it that much worse was they would ask in front of my daughter, not taking in to account that she has ears, she can hear what they are saying. Now at the age of two maybe she couldn’t understand the question, but as she got older and we would still get asked these questions, she began to wonder and then ask me what these people meant.

Most of the time I would just look at them in bewilderment, astounded that they could even formulate these ideas, much less speak them into existence. On occasion I would think not nice words in my head and then politely responded with an “oh, okay” and walk away. Then there were a few times, when my daughter wasn’t around, my sarcastic side would take over and I would ask them about their financial situation or sex life or any other completely inappropriate question just to see how they would respond. That usually shut down the conversation pretty quickly.

I admit, there were those people that were asking because they genuinely wanted to know and understand the entire international adoption process. And you could tell that they weren’t meaning to be rude, they simply were trying to engage in a conversation. But that was a small percentage of the people. The rude ones, well it was like meeting a real life troll. Maybe it made them feel better about themselves to put others down. Maybe this is just what they were taught and they didn’t know any better. Maybe it was just their prejudice and ignorance showing. I don’t know. But it broke my heart, every time. The fact that someone could think that I didn’t love my daughter just as much as they loved their own child, just because I didn’t go through what they thought of as the normal the physical of having a baby, astounded me and still does to this day.

So on behalf of all adoptive families out there, please, if you want to ask us about it, think before you speak. Actually, that really should just be the rule that we all follow in any given situation. The world would be a much better place.