Managing Expectations

Service is a huge part of my life. My professional experience in customer relationship management and my passion for community service has a significant impact on my expectations. I know service. Like most people, I know good service when I experience it. Exceptional service happens so infrequently that when it does we are stunned. We doubt our senses. We are in disbelief when an individual or company exceeds our expectations. This is because our collective expectation has become so low that we accept poor service as status quo without a second thought.

I don’t like it when people say, ‘I can’t make any promises.’ Can’t make any promises? Who’s asking for promises? I’m not looking for promises. I’m looking for a straight answer. Do not ask “how may I help you” if you have no intention of actually helping me.

A promise is something I take seriously. So, it is unlikely that I will ever expect promises from a lackey. Wish fulfillment isn’t even a required field on the application to be in my immediate circle. It isn’t. It’s a plus, but not a requirement.

If an employee of a bank, college, government agency, hospital (you get the idea) is not empowered to make a decision or is not inclined to follow through on their so-called help, then they are not the person I want to talk to. Can’t make anything but excuses? Save it. I’ll take my business somewhere else. Well, unless I’m in the ER. Then they’ve pretty much got me, at least until the bleeding stops. Maybe.


The service is what the service is.

If I am sitting at a table in your restaurant, you are not “helping me out” by taking my order. When I say, “thank you” DO NOT REPLY “no problem”.  I know it’s no problem, dammit! I will let you know when we have a problem!

At the end of last year when I promised myself 2013 would be The Year of Something Better™, I knew from experience that it was up to me to make that happen. Pursuing a public affairs and community service degree with a focus on alternative dispute resolution seemed the perfect way to augment my experience for what’s next in my life. Here’s the catch. (There’s always a catch.) It is necessary to rely on other people to do their jobs in order to make things happen in life. This is never accomplished in three easy steps.

No matter what the brochure says.

You know who knows this? The lackeys of the world. That’s right. They know it and they like it that way. To the lackeys, poor job performance = job security.

How is this acceptable?

I also don’t like it when people say, “Don’t let one issue ruin your whole day.” One issue? It is NEVER just one issue. Issues breed like rabbits. Rabbits on a Red Bull Viagra diet!

What prompted this outburst, you ask? Going to school. Going on vacation. Going to the doctor. Going to lunch. You name it. Some may say I am lucky to get to go to school, on vacation, to the doctor, to lunch.

To this I say, OMG! Luck has nothing to do with it. It has taken work, hard work, determination, Playtex, Kotex, and Spanx, chocolate, Motrin, caffeine, and a ginormous sense of humor to get me this far. My youth may be down for the count, but I’m still standing. Sort of.

27 thoughts on “Managing Expectations

  1. I loved your rant. Customer service is sorely lacking today. The “no problem” response really gets me every time. Of course it should be “no problem.” It’s your job! When my granddaughters took jobs in the food-servcie industry, one in fast-foods and one as a waitress, I told them to act the way they had wanted to be treated when they were customers and to SMILE. It’s gotten the waitress many tips, and made life easier for the one in fast-food. I have horror stories of poor customer relations from labs and doctor offices and stores. They are tiresome.

  2. In my experience when lackeys are rude, slovenly, lazy, etc. etc. etc. it is the fault of their bosses, and management of the companies, stores, restaurants, etc. they work for. They let them get away with it. They hire them. Like kids. Babies aren’t born obnoxious. If their parents let them get away with murder, if they do nothing when they misbehave, them blame the parents, not the kids.

  3. This could have been one of my Red Hats, I find the lack of customer service, the plethora of bad service, the growing trend of no service truly frightening. Why is it those we pay to provide us services believe they are doing a favor when they provide even a minimum of those services we pay for?

    This was a most excellent of rants Honie!

    1. Val, you are so right that it is a growing trend. People in the “service industry” don’t seem to get it that service is the only thing that sets them apart from the competition. Just think of all the unemployed people who could be easily trained to deliver exceptional service. Sounds simplistic, but it is just that simple. Imagine never being stuck in a call cue again. What a wonderful world it would be.

  4. Oh lordy, lordy, lordy. I hear you. Oh god do I hear you. Must be something about being in your 40s because I have had it up to there. People are downright rude and lazy too.

    I was making an appointment for my mammogram (I know, yay) and the rude woman on the phone insisted I had never had one before. Well, you’d think I’d remember having my boob smashed between two steel plates. But no, she “looked in her computer” and there was no record of me. “Look harder,” I said. She got real pissy and told me I NEVER had a mammogram at that hospital, I must have mistaken it for another hospital. I hung up, thinking I was finally senile. Then dialed them back up and got another woman who lo’ and behold, took the time to look me up on HER computer and whaddya know? I DID have a mammogram there two years ago! Gah!

    I swear we are becoming a country of half-assery.

    1. Half-assery! Yes. The morning we were leaving for our trip to Catalina I went to have lab work done in preparation for a doctor’s appointment the following week. The lab’s automated reminder called me the day before, reminding me of the appointment and to fast. That morning I showed up at the lab (fasting, mind you, so, not even coffee) got all the way to the chair and the lab order wasn’t in the computer. Now this had been scheduled for over a month AND the automated reminder wouldn’t have lied to me (because bots love me) So, I knew I was supposed to have labs that day.

      The lab tech told me I’d have to drive to my doctor’s office and ask them in person to send over the lab order. To which I said, “Can’t you call, I don’t have time for this, I’m leaving to go to California in a few hours.” No kidding the lab tech said, “Oh, we have labs in California too, you can get your blood work done there.”

      This is only one example of many “where’s the fondue” moments of my life. I won’t even get started on the whole 2011 mammogram debacle. Suffice to say, I had to get smashed twice that year because of some half-assery. Really, women’s health experts? Smashing my healthy breast tissue is good for me? Too bad they can’t partner with TSA and get it all done at once.

      Anyway, I drove to the doctor’s office and when I returned to the lab, the tech was holding the order saying I just tried to reach you at home to tell you that they sent over the order. Question. “Why would I have gone back home?” No kidding, a woman next to me said, “Don’t let this one issue ruin your day.” Well, I wanted to Hulk out right then and there, but I didn’t.

      1. Oh my god! See, there was much more to my mammogram story but the rage was boiling to the surface and I couldn’t go there.

        I felt like saying to the woman: how hard is it really to sit there on your ass and TYPE stuff into a computer?? How much of a hassle is it to look into files for me?? And isn’t that YOUR JOB?

        1. You know if you had said what you thought, it would have had no effect on the lackey anyway. They thrive on the frustration they cause. Passive aggressive half-assery assassin lackeys!!

  5. You know I loved this one! That’s one of Mr. Weebles’s biggest pet peeves too. It’s not a favor, you’re not being nice by taking my order, you’re doing your job. It BETTER not be a problem.

    1. EXACTLY! It isn’t like we’re demanding to be treated like royalty. (although that would be nice on my birthday, dammit) Snap to young man and bring me a sammich! Step lively, and see here, make sure the crusts are cut off!! HA!

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more. Is it really that hard to do what you say? How about exceeding expectations in real life instead of in the fantasy documents framed on the wall?

    1. When you’re young, an education opens doors. When you’re my age it helps you stop circling the block. I’ve been around the block a time or two, ya know. 🙂

    1. My birthday present to myself. The forties are glorious, but now that I’m halfway through them, I think this ride might get little more bumpy. Hanging on for dear life!

      1. Well if it makes you feel any better, I’m suffering right along with you… Age and school blahhhh and waaaaa

        1. What a couple of sad sacks! I’ve written before that I’m not one to take comfort in the knowledge that others in the same boat as me. How tragic for them! but…strangely, I must admit it is reassuring to find someone who shares a common thread. So, thanks for that. We have to try not to let it become unraveled.
          What are you studying?

          1. Masters Library Science. My summer class is going to be the death of me. Some days I feel like having a full blown temper tantrum. I know… Stop being a baby. Like my daughter says. How hard can it be? It’s just library stuff. Ker pow right in the kisser ( ha)

            1. Sounds like my twenty something son. He’s practically a genius! Library Science, that’s interesting, I have a friend who just finished law school and he’s now working on a masters in library science to perhaps manage a law library. So, I guess it requires more than being able to re-shelve alpha by author and straighten the card catalog, huh?

              1. I’m taking legal issues in libraries right now. I’m pulling my hair out. I do suppose it’s easier than my daughter and her studies –but come on… Can’t our children cut us some old lady slack 🙂
                Gack —a law degree and now an MLIS ??

              2. Old lady slack. HA!
                Yeah, the guy is a glutton for punishment. Actually, he’s very smart. Who knows, maybe someday he’ll be a world leader. I hear knowing the alphabet in every dead language is pretty important for a world leader.

  7. The other day a friend posted that a store at the mall 60 miles away had been exceptional – she had left her purchase on the counter and when she called from home they could not find it, after 2 more calls they did find it and promised to hold it for her until her next trip to town – She was impressed, I was stunned. If that had been my customer I would have at least made a trip to the post office – good grief! You are right about low expectations.

    1. good grief is right. I am always stunned at what passes for praise worthy. Frankly, I don’t want to lower my expectations and being told to gives me a bad attitude. I’m aware that there are different levels of disappointment in this world. The struggles, the poverty, the ignorance, the cruelty, etc. I don’t operate on the level of, it could be worse, that crap beats the alternative which is worse crap. What kind of expectation is that? crazy 🙂

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