Are you a good customer? (Part 1)

Author : teriann

Recently I was stuck in a long line to pay for gas at a local Rubis gas station.  I had a lot of things to do and as I waited I could feel that other motorists were also becoming increasingly irritated with the long wait.  The reason behind the delay in service turned out to be a problem with the POS machine that was being used to accept credit and debit card payments.

Technical Difficulties

As a result of the technical difficulty, motorists paying with their card faced lengthy delays.  The attendants attempted to find out if the customer was going to pay with cash or card before giving them the gas.  This was supposed to ensure that those with cards were informed of the situation.  However the communication process was hampered by motorists not listening and giving the incorrect response.

I listened as one motorist emphatically told her he was not using a card, only to inform her moments later that he was in fact using a credit card.  Apparently he thought it was only the debit cards that were being affected.

Intense Anger

Since the motorist had already been given the gas, the gas station attendant again tried to use the machine to swipe the card.  The motorists’ anger grew each time the machine failed to complete the transaction.

He began to shout and curse as he belittled the staff and railed against the incompetence  of everyone in the company.  He was asked to go in the office to try the machine there and when he got inside he banged his fist against the cashier’s desk and continued the ranting even as several other motorists waited for the issue to be resolved.

Staff Response

Throughout the entire process the staff conducted themselves with grace and decorum.  They apologized profusely and did not reprimand the motorist for incorrectly answering their query which would have saved him the inconvenience of a long wait.

They never responded with anger even as they took the brunt of his abuse.  Eventually the system worked and he paid and left the station.  I wondered how he could have handled the situation differently.  Of course it was an inconvenience to wait so long for service but since it was not human error but technology malfunction, could he have had a little more courteous?

Well it had me thinking about the ways in which we as consumers can make the best of situations that might be out of the control of members of staff. I will address this some more in my next post. In the meantime what’s your take? Let me hear from you.

Teri Ann Renee Paisley

Gleaner online writer

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