I find that many of us are getting so tired of being treated badly, especially by those organizations we give our money to. I was reminded again this week how frustrating it can be when I wanted to do a simple thing – buy tickets for my kids to go to Water Country in Portsmouth, NH. Water Country advertises that you can obtain a $5.00 per person discount by simply buying online. But here is what really happens – you cannot do it, because they have a security system in place that makes it virtually impossible to get approved.
I had four people (including moi) try to execute the transaction using a total of nine different cards to no avail. But the fun started when I tried to get someone to help me. Water Country sent me to the online security vendor. The online security vendor explained it was Water Country’s “policy” that was the problem. They sent me back to Water Country. I called back again and was sent to a voice mail system. I am still waiting for a return call. All I wanted was my $35.00 savings on seven people!
All told, we spent over 7 hours trying to get tickets and get someone to help us. Finally one of my friends explained it to me, “They can advertise discounts and not give them. They are popular enough to treat people badly and they don’t have to care about it! If you get fed up and don’t want to bring your kids (who will be admittedly disappointed), there are thousands of other families who will.”
But why do we agree to such negative treatment by the people who take our money? Why don’t we all insist that we are at least treated with respect, kindness and courtesy? Why don’t we demand that organizations who are in the customer service business actually give us service?
I fear we are getting conditioned to the kind of bad treatment afforded me by Water Country. We are desensitized to it because it is so common. I actually feel grateful – deeply grateful – when I deal with a vendor, store or organization that happily treats me with respect and courtesy. I extend a “thank you” to Marriott, for example, to whom I am exceptionally loyal after many years of outstanding responsiveness. Everyone probably has their own personal list, but the ones who treat us well stand out – and we are loyal and tell others.
So, why don’t we demand more often that we are treated well? I think one reason is that the groups that simply don’t care – like Water Country in my case – won’t even respond so we can stand up! I spoke to two layers of management at their security vendor, and called the park five times – after holding for a total of 98 minutes all combined – and I still could not get a response. It’s hard to get attention when the other party really, truly could not care less about you!
And this is the way it is in many cases with many different organizations. They seem to feel they don’t need to be nice. They don’t need to be courteous. So, let’s decide to take a stand and work with those companies and organizations who DO care, who DO respond and who want to show us common courtesy. There are fewer of them, but shouldn’t our dollars go where they are appreciated? It’s hard to make the money we earn, so let’s spend it where it counts. Where service rules. Where kindness is the norm and where people care. I am going to commit to that. Will you?