Bad customer service bothers me. If I’m going to spend my money on your product or in your store or on your website, I want to be treated with respect. I’m not looking for a reason to be upset, so please don’t go out of your way to treat me like I’m second rate. I am your customer and I am always right! (Just ask my husband – he’ll tell you that at the very least I always *think* I’m right).
We were in a grocery store that we frequent recently. It was 2pm on Monday. Which meant that all of the older people were already home from their morning shopping. And all of the soccer moms had already left for home to put their groceries away so they could go pick their kids up from school. The store was DEAD! There was hardly anyone there at all. As we wandered up and down the aisles, we saw the same two men and that was it. One was an older gentleman who could barely walk and the other was obviously the guy who goes and takes this guy out from time to time. They were the ONLY people that we saw. Other than employees.
(I do want to say that not ALL of this trip had bad customer service. When I asked someone where something was, not only did he tell me where he thought it was, but he also went to check. When it wasn’t there, he went and asked someone who did. He was eager to help. He raced all over that store and didn’t rest until I had actually located on the shelf exactly what it was I was looking for. That kind of service – the kind that goes above and beyond – is my favorite kind).
Anyway, we had done all of our shopping and Chip had taken one of the kids to the bathroom. Which is why I’ll never shop without him. I had stopped by the checkouts – not actually entering a lane – to look behind me to make sure I had all my kids. When I hear someone say, “Ma’am?”
I’m not old enough to be a ma’am. But I heard it again, “Ma’am? This is an express lane. 10 items or less.”
First, I’m not in your lane. Second, I know how to read and can see the bright pink sign at the beginning of your lane. And third, you are standing there doing NOTHING and there are three other people in the only other open lane. And she’s standing there looking at me like I had better not even think about getting into the lane. Is she KIDDING me?
So, I go and stand behind the other people in the other lane and wait my turn. Because that’s always a lot of fun with three kids who want to grab every piece of candy on the shelf. Two people in front of me go – in which time I absolutely CERTAIN this cashier who is standing there doing NOTHING could have rung up my groceries and bagged them and loaded them in my car for me. The two other men in the store come up to the checkouts with maybe 15-20 items in their cart. She denies them too. They get in line behind me, the one guy looking like he’s spent after grocery shopping and the other clearly irritated that this woman is standing there doing NOTHING.
I’m half tempted to let them go in front of me, but I’ve already been standing there for 10 minutes waiting my turn. And the natives are getting restless. I’ve already started putting my groceries up – which I organize in my cart as I put them in because I used to bag groceries so I’m a bit picky about it all.
Mercifully, the front desk clerk calls someone else up to help with the checkouts. Even though there are probably three other people shopping in the ENTIRE STORE! And “Bob” (because the younger guy kept saying, “We’ll just have to wait a few more minutes, Bob. Are you ok, Bob? We did a lot of shopping, didn’t we, Bob?) gets to go first in the new line. Thank goodness.
I had a pleasant cashier and bagboy. They chatted with me WHILE THEY WORKED and smiled the whole time. They kept things moving and I felt like they valued my time.
But then, I kid you not, as I was paying for my groceries and they were finishing the bagging, a lady came and got in line behind me with a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Because even though the light was on, the express lane lady was NOWHERE TO BE FOUND!!! She worked so hard to make sure that her lane was available to such a specific group and when they were finally there, she was gone. I really, really hate when people use “rules and regulations” as a reason to not do their job.
I see a lot of parallels to the church in all of that. Or just to a Christian life for that fact. How’s your customer service? Are you willing to go out of your way and run all over to help out someone in need? Are you going to give service with a smile, with joy? Or are you going to use the “rules” to be an exclusive club that can only service a certain group? And will you be available to serve those you’re willing to reach?
So many Christians say they can’t do this and they can’t do that. They hide behind the rules. Only instead of 20 items or less, it’s 20 sins or less (because let’s face it, most Christians/churches who refuse to associate with sinners that struggle with things like porn or adultery or homosexuality or gambling or even *gasp* alcohol, are still more than willing to let the gossips, the slanders and the legalistic into their lives/churches). But when push comes to shove and those who are weary and worn and just run haggard show up at the door, they are of absolutely no help at all. Because when push comes to shove, they want little more than to warm a pew and be secure in their salvation but not a whole lot more. And they certainly don’t want to let anyone in who might do something or say something that would cause them to stumble (which is just such a huge cop out).
But then there are churches out there – of all sizes, not just mega-churches – who want nothing more than to serve Jesus. They want to introduce people to a very real Savior because they’ve had an encounter, because of someone with good “customer service”, and they think everyone should experience that kind of love and grace and mercy and freedom. And it is truly an amazing thing when the things of Jesus become viral. All because someone chose to love Jesus and love Him well.