Yesterday, on a business trip, I had a 30 minute wait for a train connection. I decided to have some breakfast in a world famous fast food eatery. When I entered the eatery, there were a few customers eating their breakfast and there were a few queuing up to order. After a few minutes, I was ready to order and the member of staff welcomed me with a smile, ‘good morning’ and asked me what I wanted. Now picture the following:
and as she turned around to collect my order, she said ‘why am I not
getting a pay rise, anyway?’. A person replied who I assumed to be her
manager, ‘because you’re useless’. She then turned back to me and said
with a smile, ‘That’s 95p please’. I paid. ‘Enjoy your breakfast’ she
added looking me in the eye. There was no one behind me next in the
queue. She turned to her manager, ‘what makes you say I’m useless? No
one has ever said that before’.
Manager: ‘you never do anything’
Girl: ‘what do you mean?’
Manager: ‘You only do things when you‘re told to do them’
Girl: ‘Do I?’
Manager: ‘Yeah and that’s why you’re useless’
now, I had found my seat and was still listening to the Manager/girl
conversation. I looked around the restaurant – a few other customers
were now looking as well.
How did the girl feel? How did the manager feel? How did the customers feel?
I would imagine the girl felt ‘unhappy, concerned and de-motivated’.
would imagine the manager felt ‘good, confident and pleased with
himself’ (that’s the impression I got by looking at his ‘that told her’
As a customer, I felt embarrassed, angry and helpless. I
wanted the company to know how this manager had treated a member of his
staff. I wanted to help the manager and tell him where he had gone
wrong. I wanted to offer advice to the girl on how to accept the
The member of staff wasn’t useless. I felt welcomed,
she smiled, and she looked me in the eye. It was good friendly service.
Her personal customer service was very good – far better than
‘useless’. According to her manager, she was not very proactive. Maybe
customer service was her natural strength and being proactive wasn’t.
That doesn’t make her useless.
So where did the manager go wrong? How would have you, as the manager, provided feedback?