Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Give 'em the pickle!!

When I was starting orientation for my current employer, back in May, we had to watch a video entitled, "Give 'em the pickle." The title catches your attention, but so does the content. The short explanation was a customer always asked for an extra pickle and had always received one without any charge, but one day a new employee refused & wanted to charge the customer for the extra pickle. The customer was infuriated and wrote a letter to the owner, Bob Farrell, who wrote back & started the catch phrase "Give 'em the pickle."

The principle is simple, if going the extra mile causes a small loss in profit BUT satisfies the customer, DO IT! Keeping customers happy is what keeps them coming back.

Today, more than any other day, I wish this video was part of the AAFES employment orientation. Commissary shopping with the boys is one of my very LEAST favorite things to do. That being said, I've found that if I go to Charlies (in the PX food court) and get them fries (which come in a paper cup), they stay almost completely preoccupied during my grocery shopping and it is a better experience for everyone. I always order a regular fry, costing $1.99, and ask for an extra cup so I can split it between both boys & the can hold them on their own. I've done this at numerous fast food places, and have never had a problem. Well today, there was an employee in line behind me and as I asked for an extra cup, she says to the employee behind the counter, "she can have a paper tray." I turned around and looked at her and said, "I just want a cup so my kids can hold the fries without spilling them," to which she replied (with a head whip) talking too fast to comprehend fully, but that those cups cost more money than the trays, so if I wanted another cup, I would have to order more fries. The confused girl behind the counter gave me a tray and I walked to the other end of the counter to some other employees and said, "All I want is a stupid cup, how much do I have to pay for an empty cup?" They were also confused and a girl went over and grabbed a plastic water cup and gave it to me. I said thanks & turned to the employee in line and said, "was that really so hard?"

I normally have an exuberant amount of patience for poor customer service, but COME ON! To those few military wives that read my blog, I'm sure you can attest to the continued poor customer service at EVERY commissary, PX, BX, or NEX. I rarely find an employee that doesn't act like I'm disturbing them if I ask a question. My favorite is when I have to stand there waiting, while they finish up their personal conversation with another employee or on the phone. The only exception to this is the baggers at the commissary. They almost always are polite and go the extra mile because they know their positive attitude reflects directly on the tip they receive from the customer (since they work ONLY for tips).

I really try to keep this concept in mind at work, especially when dealing with people on the worst day of their life. I always bring an extra popsicle/juice/crackers for the patients siblings or parents. It's the little things that can make a bad situation more tolerable.

So, was I overreacting or making a point? I'm still debating that one.

Medicare reimbursement is becoming contingent on patient customer satisfaction surveys, and many hospitals (especially Emergency Departments) are getting poor ratings.

So here's some facts to consider before you head to the ED. The National average waiting time (just in the waiting room) is 4 hrs. You aren't seen in the order in which you arrive, you're seen by the severity of your issue. If your child has a fever, give them medicine BEFORE you get to the hospital (and know what medicine you gave) since you may be waiting awhile to see a Dr. And, seeing as it is an EMERGENCY department, be kind to your never know WHY they haven't been in your room in almost an hour. When you have a patient that isn't breathing, it kind of trumps an ear ache.


Kristina P. said...

That's super annoying. I would have been irritated too.


it is not just military families, PX, BX, has gotten to where it is everywhere. I hate shopping because of it. There is one exception....the McDonalds in Roanoke, where we live. The service is exceptional and the help is great! This is the only one I have ever been to that shines like it does. I agree....Give them the pickle.

blueviolet said...

It must cost them a few cents, for heaven's sake! If it keeps you happy and coming back, that's a small price to pay. I love the Give 'em the Pickle slogan. It works!

Queenie Jeannie said...

I'm so glad you are on the "other side" to remind of the why's and wherefores of the ER!!!! The long waiting always sucks, which is why we only go when it truly is an emergency and can't wait for a regular appointment!

As for AAFES employees - ugh! It's worse over here!!! Really! Now when I get a good one, it's such a surprising shock! Sad really.

As for the cup - come on! I think you handled it better than I would have. Army wife and mom of twins? And all you want is a stinkin' cup?? They're lucky it wasn't me....that's all I'm sayin'!

Love your face!

Jessica G. said...

You were justified in your reaction.
And I always try to cut the medical staff some slack…they're just doing their jobs and it's not exactly their fault that your day sucks, either.