Posts tagged ‘recession’

June 12, 2012

Customer Service

by pastortimfowler

Central Market customer service.

I am not an economist so I can’t speak with great authority on the state of our economy, but I am pretty sure that it isn’t that good based on the anecdotal evidence that I see in my hometown. My wife and I went out to eat the other night and within a block saw no less than 7 businesses that were closed. When you ride down the main thoroughfare of our town there is business after business that is closed or going out of business. My friends who own their own business tell me that it is really tough to make ends meet. All of those millions of jobs that are being created don’t seem to be here, but like I said, this is purely anecdotal.
Anyway you slice it, business is not the best that it has ever been. And since the recession has started, and seems to never end, you would think that those who have a job would go out-of-the-way keep that job and earn your business. It is what use to be known as customer service. This is where the customer is served in such a way that they feel as if you appreciate them doing business with you and you try to ensure that they come back the next time that they need your service. I am finding it harder and harder to feel as if I ever want to go back to the places that I give my business to or in some cases trying to give it too.
I was in a store the other morning about 8:30am picking up a few items that I was going to need when I go to Cuba on my mission trip in a couple of weeks. At the check out when I swiped my card, the machine asked me if I would like cash back and I hit yes and asked for $20. The cashier looked at me and said, “You know ATMs are open 24 hours a day.” I was not sure what to say back to her. I told her “Yes, but the machine asked me if I wanted cash back and I said yes.” She again said, “You know ATMs are open 24/7”. So I asked if she worked for the bank or the store that I was standing in.
This store was not busy. It was not a small “mom and pop” store. They had cash in the drawer. I was only asking for $20 so I did not see the problem.
I have been trying to get the guy who installed our AC in our church to give me a quote on routine maintenance for our heat and air system. When we got our last unit installed I asked the owner 3 times for a quote and have called him twice since. I know that this time of year is busy for AC guys, but I want to give him money on a regular basis and hopefully for an extended amount of time.
A couple of Sundays ago, our fire alarm went off because something in our coffee shop started smoking. It was a piece of bread or something, so there was no threat. The alarm company called and I told them the situation and they said thanks. A few minutes later the fire trucks pull up and tells me that the alarm monitoring company said that no one from the church could be reached and so they were dispatched. I called to find out where the confusion was and in mid sentence was hung up on by the operator who monitors my church alarm system. When I called back to talk to the supervisor, she told me that no one hung up on me, that I was put on hold. I responded by saying, either way, I was in mid sentence when it happened, and that they need to have their phone system checked because their hold button hangs up on people.
The latest bout with non customer service is with the people who inspect our fire extinguishers. Every year they need to be inspected and a tag put on them saying that they are in good working order so when we are inspected by the fire marshal, he can see that we are meeting code. Every year we call to have them inspected and every year we tell them to put us down for annual service. So I am on my fifth day of leaving a message to one of the few people who do this and have still not gotten a return call. This inspection takes every bit of 15 minutes and they charge $75 to do it. That comes out to $300 dollars per hour and I can’t get them to even call me.
Customer service wins people’s loyalty. I know that some customers can be a real pain in the butt sometimes, but the majority of us just want some basic courtesy. We don’t want to inconvenience you by offering to give you money for a service that you provide. If it is that hard, we will find someone else who wants it. Thank you, is enough most of the time. Please come back, and is there anything else I can do for you today, would go a long way for most people deciding to come back. I have decided that as of today, I will not do business again with anyone who does not proved basic, courteous, customer service. Anyone want to join me?

September 12, 2011

I Rememeber 9/12

by pastortimfowler

Sunday was a tough day for Americans. We had to remember one of the worst days in our history. I am not one that thinks we should never see those images again, instead, I think we should see them at least once a week, every week as a reminder. For the most part I thought that yesterday’s ceremonies were tasteful and honoring, and I don’t want to get into the politics of it all, so I won’t.
For every bad thing that happens to us in life there are good that can come out of it. Sure, we can linger in the sadness and dwell in the past sorrows, but that is not what God would have us do. He gives us these things to strengthen us and allows us to help others when they face a tragedy in their lives. 9/11 was no different.
I remember 9/12 as the beginning of that strengthening of our country. The news channels began sounding the rally cry and Americans from every walk of life were united in the call to seek justice and to rebuild. There were no politics, no left or right, it was straight down the middle resolve to make it through this thing together. There was no blame or cynicism or conspiracy theories, just good ole American resolve to make things right.
I don’t remember how long it took before people started coming up with political agendas for their responses to 9/11, but the first one got the ball rolling for all the rest and a united America began to do what the terrorists had hoped to do with the attack; we began to divide. What the terrorists could not do, political motivations did. I am not sure who disgusts me more, the ones who attacked our country that day or the ones who attack it over and over when they point the finger of blame at anyone other than the terrorists who did this. This is not healthy for America and it only aids those who want to hurt us.
I know and most of us understand that there are people in this world who have a different belief system than we do. There are those who have no regard for freedom and the free market society that we enjoy here. I know that we have a great privilege to speak freely and voice our opinions against those that we disagree with. But there is a difference between disagreeing with those who oppose your ideas and hating them. I have heard people who live in this country and are citizens of this country say that they hate this country. Many are rich enough to do the following but they don’t…JUST MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY! If what we have here is so bad, get out. Even poor Americans who hate the USA can afford to move to Mexico. If America is so bad, so evil, and so disgusting to you, leave. But they don’t. You know why? Because despite all of our flaws, and all of our differences, we area still the greatest nation this earth. And, if these same people were in another country trying to speak the hateful things that they say here, they would probably be put in jail or killed.
Thinking back on the events that happened ten years ago yesterday, I long for that unity in our country that was so evident in the weeks that followed. We are a great nation that when united can send a man to the moon and revolutionize the way the world acts and thinks. United we can overcome any obstacle thrown our way. But divided we will end up in a deep recession that causes people to be unemployed in numbers not seen since the great depression. It will cause morale to sink to all time lows and motivate nothing but hateful rhetoric. Yep, just like you see today.
I don’t think this is our country’s destiny and this is not where we will stay. We will overcome this just like we did on 9/11, ten years ago. On 9/12, ten years ago, we united as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I remember 9/12.