I haven’t yet seen any form of news today, but during one of the breaks that my Ma and I were having [we were putting a new bookcase in my bedroom] I caught a bit of This Morning and Loose Women. This is time I am never going to get back folks. Russel Howard describes Loose Women as “Daily Mail on a period”. He couldn’t be more spot on if he tried to be. These jumped up pretentious people who seem to think that what they have to say is actually interesting…. put it this way, I’d rather watch the familial breakdowns and make ups on the Jeremy Kyle Show instead.
Anyway, on both the morning ITV talk shows they were discussing the fact that a bus firm has instructed it’s drivers to not use language like “babe” when talking to the customer, because a customer complained that she was called “babe”. Whilst I find the very idea of this ridiculous, and I am sure that most people will scoff at the idea of “political correctness gone mad” and the such I’d like people to see this not from the customer point of view, or a personal point of view, but that of the company.
They received a customer complaint. They dealt with said complaint with this action*. It’s not that far-fetched. The bus company have their own policies to adhere to- in fact, I would imagine that this was something that existed pre-customer complaint in their employment terms – what this company have done is actually acted on a complaint. What more would people want if it was them complaining?
I do concede that someone complaining over the use of colloquial language in a situation such as this is equally far-fetched, however, being female and working in the customer service business I wouldn’t dare call someone other than “sir” or “madame” [and, occasionally, embarrassingly getting the gender of a person wrong…]. If a customer requests that I call them something other than “sir/madame” I will but I couldn’t call someone “mate” “babe” “darling” “love” when serving people. I should add that it is something that has never bothered me – people calling me by colloquial pet names – because it is a lot more polite than either ignoring the fact that you have a name, or simply being rude. I think what I’m trying to say is that there is a time and a place for this sort of language, and perhaps at work isn’t the best place for it, regardless of what you actually do.
On the other hand I am not one to really talk about giving good customer service: let’s just say sometimes we all have our off days and talk to people in just the wrong. Or by telling them that I just didn’t care about their problem**.
*This will probably come back to bite me in the ass. **I’m waiting for that particular customer complaint.