I received a little Christmas cheer aggravation cheer yesterday from the car service people. You know, just like how we used to be told to deliver feedback – the positive negative positive sandwich. Not so tasty…
The cheer: I thought I’d be extra clever – book the express 1-hour car service and go for a walk instead of hanging around in the ‘customer lounge’ with the bad coffee machine.
The aggravation: The first whiff was 10 minutes before I was due to arrive. I got the call: “Are you coming to your appointment?” “Yes, I’m on my way. It’s at 8:30am isn’t it?” “Yes, that’s right.” Weird. I wasn’t late and had confirmed the day before.
The cheer: I handed over my keys and set off on my walk. It was great. I smelt the salty sea air, sat on a rock with the sunshine on my shoulders and listened to the waves gently lap on the shore. And on the way back I stumbled upon a café that made excellent coffee.
The aggravation: At 2 hours into the 1-hour express and now in the ‘customer lounge’, I approach the desk. “Any idea how much longer?” She disappears and returns saying “They’re just washing it now, have to take it for a test drive. It’ll be about 15 minutes.”
I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say it was another 45 minutes, being mistaken for another customer and two sets of keys later.
The cheer: I ended up in the manager’s office with my composure intact. He was even less impressed than I was with what had occurred and said I’d be getting a complete refund. What? Wowsers! Thank you Mr Series of Unfortunate Events Car Service People.
The ambivalence: I’m left with mixed feelings. Delighted with the ‘free’ service, and aggravated at the same time. I have no confidence it’ll be any better next time.
I would have felt better if I’d heard the words: “We’ll be looking into this so it doesn’t happen again”. Even, “I am so sorry for the inconvenience” wouldn’t have gone astray. I was asked to confirm my address and advised: “You shouldn’t have to wait so long. We’ll send you a cheque for the full amount”. No eye contact. No warmth. He was clearly well intentioned but I’m not a robot and neither is he. It was like he was checking a box. Perhaps he was containing his rage at his staff for all the errors?
This is an excellent policy poorly executed. Leaders, take note. Is your excellent policy being well executed?
Perhaps that’s something for 2017. Now is the season of the office Christmas party. I hope you have some fun. You can read what I have to say about them in Executive Style here.
And what about the feedback sandwich? If it’s never the season for it anymore, what’s the low down on how to give feedback then? I promise to address this when I’m back in your inbox on 17 January, 2017.
Until then, thank you for reading and have a wonderful holiday season.