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Baby's first auto-crosspost Apr. 22nd, 2009 @ 05:28 pm
Overheard: McDonald's manager talking to a counter staff woman, chiding her for her customer service attitude. In specific response to her calling the next customer with "Next!" instead of "How can I help you?" or "May I take your order?", he says:

"It's the kind of thing you hear at Chicken Treat or Red Rooster. We're better than that."

Now she's querying the method he's recommending to get their service times down. "Isn't that cheating?"

Heh. And yet, also, as we left I observed to Chas that she may not last long at her job, because there's fundamental elements of high-turnover customer service she's missing. That it doesn't matter if one customer gets delayed so long as throughput stays good. That the little differences matter, and where, for example, it costs you nothing to say, "May I take your order?" instead of, "Next!" it nonetheless makes a difference to how the customer feels.

As well as the special customer service doublethink, where what they say is the standard you're supposed to meet is not quite accurate, but it's set as the target because that way, when you fall short, you're still hitting "acceptable". The instructions are the ideal. Everyone expects corners to be cut; the corner-cutting is built into the rules, that's why the rules are a little unreasonable.

They don't expect you to be perfect, but they want to make sure your imperfection isn't too bad, and that your rebellion is still fine. I'm not defending McDonald's or anyone else as employers, exactly, so much as thinking that the unspoken rule - the one you're not allowed to speak, because no-one's allowed to admit this is true - is that so long as you pretend it's all Terribly Serious Business, you can get away with the fact that it's really not.

(This is why Working To Rule is an effective form of industrial protest. Because working exactly according to the rules is completely unworkable and everything falls apart, in most fields.)

The woman I was overhearing was also objecting, as far as I could tell, to the treatment of workers in being told this at all, which... is a problem, since the manager was actually trying to be nice and non-confrontational about it, and telling her her attitude is coming across as a little rude and her customer throughput is slow is kind of his job.

Upcoming: I'm attending a lecture on, as I recall, international relations in the Age of Obama (although I suspect that In The Age Of Not Bush is more relevant). Seriously, a lot of the yay Obama! stuff, especially in terms of relations with foreign leaders, is mostly about "well hey he's not Bush" combined with an appreciable delight in Obama's overt statements that America is not in fact a Christian theocracy. Will probably liveblog it, though I will be writing the post in Semagic for saving/formatting convenience. And if Semagic works with DreamyBlog yet, it's news to me.

Current Location: Reid Library
Current Music: aircon, paper shuffling, birdsong


Baby's first auto-crosspost Apr. 22nd, 2009 @ 05:28 pm
Overheard: McDonald's manager talking to a counter staff woman, chiding her for her customer service attitude. In specific response to her calling the next customer with "Next!" instead of "How can I help you?" or "May I take your order?", he says:

"It's the kind of thing you hear at Chicken Treat or Red Rooster. We're better than that."

Now she's querying the method he's recommending to get their service times down. "Isn't that cheating?"

Heh. And yet, also, as we left I observed to Chas that she may not last long at her job, because there's fundamental elements of high-turnover customer service she's missing. That it doesn't matter if one customer gets delayed so long as throughput stays good. That the little differences matter, and where, for example, it costs you nothing to say, "May I take your order?" instead of, "Next!" it nonetheless makes a difference to how the customer feels.

As well as the special customer service doublethink, where what they say is the standard you're supposed to meet is not quite accurate, but it's set as the target because that way, when you fall short, you're still hitting "acceptable". The instructions are the ideal. Everyone expects corners to be cut; the corner-cutting is built into the rules, that's why the rules are a little unreasonable.

They don't expect you to be perfect, but they want to make sure your imperfection isn't too bad, and that your rebellion is still fine. I'm not defending McDonald's or anyone else as employers, exactly, so much as thinking that the unspoken rule - the one you're not allowed to speak, because no-one's allowed to admit this is true - is that so long as you pretend it's all Terribly Serious Business, you can get away with the fact that it's really not.

(This is why Working To Rule is an effective form of industrial protest. Because working exactly according to the rules is completely unworkable and everything falls apart, in most fields.)

The woman I was overhearing was also objecting, as far as I could tell, to the treatment of workers in being told this at all, which... is a problem, since the manager was actually trying to be nice and non-confrontational about it, and telling her her attitude is coming across as a little rude and her customer throughput is slow is kind of his job.

Upcoming: I'm attending a lecture on, as I recall, international relations in the Age of Obama (although I suspect that In The Age Of Not Bush is more relevant). Seriously, a lot of the yay Obama! stuff, especially in terms of relations with foreign leaders, is mostly about "well hey he's not Bush" combined with an appreciable delight in Obama's overt statements that America is not in fact a Christian theocracy. Will probably liveblog it, though I will be writing the post in Semagic for saving/formatting convenience. And if Semagic works with DreamyBlog yet, it's news to me.

Current Music: aircon, paper shuffling, birdsong
Current Location: Reid Library

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