No Loyalty. No Respect.

This week, I came across two disappointing incidents with two different companies. One showed a lack of respect for their customers, the other showed loyalty means nothing to them.

I remember when I worked the grocery stores and department stores that the first thing they imparted onto me was to treat the customers with respect. If you treat the customers like crap, they likely won’t be coming back, and they may tell your manager about your lack of respect for them, which in turn, might get you in serious trouble, or even fired.

“The customer is always right.” That was the motto. A happy customer is one that comes back and tells their friends about the great service they received. But there’s also something more basic than wanting return business. It’s also about respecting another person. The basic, human dignity that we should have for all people we come across. Being polite to a stranger. Treating someone else like you would want to be treated.

I know it can be very difficult to do sometimes. Some people feel they are entitled to more, or allowed to be rude or needy because of their station in life or because of privilege.

They are, of course, wrong.

Regardless of where you were born, where you live, how much money you make, your title, your beliefs, your looks, whatever, you are no better than anyone else. I like to think of it like this: No matter what, we all sit down to shit. At that moment in life, no one is better than anyone else. I know, it might be crude or silly, but in that moment, we are all the same. Or put another way, we are all humans. We are all vulnerable. A bullet to my head will kill me, just as surely as it will kill a head of a global corporation.

But I digress…

As a worker with any company, you must treat your customers with respect. It’s as simple as that. To not do so, shows how little that person, and perhaps, that company, cares about their customers.

Example: This week, I received an invoice with the following remark written in pen:

“We did this inspection at your request. You could at least pay the bill.”

I will be the first to admit, the payment in question was late, very late. I won’t go into details as to why, because I’m sure there are others out there who share the same difficulties as I. Money is thin, bills lapse, living month-to-month is hard.

Paying the bill was always on my mind. It was a priority, as soon as I had sufficient funds. But to receive a notice with a snarky remark like that really pissed me off. It was unnecessary. It was unprofessional. It was rude. Imagine if I had been at a store and the cashier made a similar remark. I believe the manager would have been surprised and apologetic. Somehow, I doubt the brave person who wrote the comment anonymously on my invoice would have written it with the manager’s approval.

It just shows the utter lack of respect this person, and, until I have talked to the manager, the company, has for its customers.

I know a thing about loyalty. Brand loyalty. Loyalty to friends. Loyalty to companies that have treated me well in the past. I know of a man who has been loyal to a company for ten years. Putting in long days, filled with work that keep him constantly on the go. Even if he didn’t always agree with the company, or the owners, he remained loyal.

Last week, he discovered his loyalty was worth nothing. Correction, his loyalty had a price to the owners, and they took the money instead.

I know companies are in business to make money. But to make said money at the expense of a dedicated worker, a worker they called a friend? That is low.

It reminds me of all the companies in North America who have laid off so many people so they could move their organization elsewhere, just so they can make a little more money. To hell with loyalty, to the families that have lived their lives in the company’s shadow, extolling their virtues to those around them. Money trumped loyalty.

Even in Smiths Falls, the place I call home, Hershey left to move their factory to Mexico cause it was cheaper. I wonder how much more money they are making now compared to when they were here? I wonder how many people in this town, when talking to friends and stranger elsewhere, would praise Hershey for being such a strong presence in the community? I wonder how many do the same now?

Loyalty and respect are expendable these days. Which is unfortunate, because they should be part of the foundation of our society. Without these two traits within us, what are we teaching the next generation? If you’ve seen some of the kids out there these days, the ones that don’t care about other people’s stuff, who are rude and insolent, you can see how a lack of respect and loyalty is shaping the people they may become.

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