Sorry Mr. Dewey, I Am For Real

Savage Non-Fiction section
Image by mlibrarianus via Flickr

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in the last 15 years or more – I shelved a cart of non-fiction books.  A call went out for help in getting the large amount of non-fiction carts out to the shelves.  Since I’m usually chained to my desk and computer screens I thought it might be nice to have a change of pace.  It’s good to step out of your normal routine and try on someone else’s shoes for a bit.  I started as a page shelving materials so it was fun to get back to my roots.  Also it turned out to be a Mother and Son two for one deal – my son who is also a shelver at my library was in the non-fiction section yesterday.

There is something soothing about shelving non-fiction and getting the shelf in perfect order.  But after about 1 section of the cart done I started looking at things from a different perspective.  It started after doing one section of the cart and not having one single shelf was in order.  Things really changed perspective for me when I was in the computer section.  I was puzzled to see that Linux, Mac and Windows books were interfiled.  Hmm, why wouldn’t all the books in this particular section on Linux be filed together, and then the Mac ones or the Windows books?

As I continued to shelve I got to thinking about the Dewey Decimal system and whether or not our customers really use it.  How many people outside of the library profession can tell you what the call number is for cookbooks, computer books, or even financial books?  Has Dewey seen his day?  What about Library of Congress classification?  Yes, I understand we need some sort of system to file things so everyone can find them but is 005.4469T really the way to go?  I mean does it really mean anything other than a cataloger?  Would perhaps 005 T do just as well?  I can tell you most customers when returning something to shelf don’t seem to see the cutter numbers.  Why do I spend all this time trying to get a shelf perfect if the customers aren’t doing the same?

Book stores don’t use Dewey or LOC and people seem to find the books they want just fine.  So why are we still in this day and age insisting that our customers follow our rules instead of finding out what works for them and providing an easier way to find our collections.  My apologies to all the catalogers.  I’m not trying to make you redundant but I do think it is time we rethink call numbers and how we shelve our materials.

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Library101

3883707406_7b0bd34066I was excited, honored, thrilled and other adjectives that end in “-ed” to be able to contribute to Michael Porter and David Lee King‘s Library101 project.  It first started out with a call (via Twitter) from Michael asking for pictures of library staff holding up a giant 1 or 0.  At the time I wasn’t sure what this was all about but I was game.  Anything to help me hone my photography skills I was able to get many of my fellow co-workers to pose for me.

I was then surprised, elated to help Michael beta test his Zazzle store for the Library 101 merchandise.  The final surprise came when Michael asked me if I’d like to contribute an essay to the web site he was creating to launch the Library 101 project. Here it is in the original unedited version:

New Library 101

So what exactly does the New Library 101 need to be part of the future? In my opinion there is one very important piece that needs to be there for the library of the future to stay afloat – customer service. Without our customers we won’t be here no matter what fancy words we use, what new fangled gadgets we have, what exciting programs we offer. Now customer service is nothing new to libraries, however, my version of customer service includes three aspects. If the library of the future will focus on these aspects they will grow and stay relevant.

Technology

Recently I got a Tweet from Jimmy Willis (@katannsky2) asking me if I had any career tips for a future librarian. My words of wisdom where “to learn technology. Embrace it. It will be a very big part of your job.” Be current. What are the latest trends? Adopt them, learn about them and use them. If you don’t you’ll be left behind because your customers are using this technology. And more than likely they are coming to you for help with it

Technology means not only the hardware/software we use in our branches but includes your presence on the web. Whether it is your web site, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or other social web sites – remember that not every customer walks through your physical doors. Make sure you have a presence out there in the digital world. But don’t limit it to just a Facebook page or a bunch of pictures on Flickr – engage your customers, start a conversation with them, bring them back to you (whether it is into your physical building or your catalog or one of your programs).

Education

I understand that funding doesn’t always allow every library to have tons of the latest and greatest hardware or even software. However, you can still educate yourself about technology even if your library can’t afford a Kindle, a new fancy web site or you don’t have an iPhone. Use what technology you do have to your benefit. Get out on the web and socially network. So many of your fellow librarians are on the social web, network with them and find out what they already know. Ask questions or use your searching skills so when that customer invariably asks you how do they do ___ you can use your network as a resource.

Please, don’t ever tell a customer you don’t know and let that be the end of the conversation. That is not an acceptable customer service response. Sure, it’s okay to say you don’t know but continue. “You know I’m curious about this too. Let’s research this together so we can both learn.” Customers come to you for help and hey would much rather have a real human admit they don’t know but work together to find the answer than some cold response that boils down to “go away I can’t be bothered”.

Audience

Above all the library of the future must remember who it’s audience is and what they want or need. As Thomas Brevik (@Miromurr) tweeted from the Internet Librarian International 2009:

* #ili2009 Stop insulting the user by guessing what the user want!

* #ili2009 start with the question: is this what our users want?

Once you have figured out what your customer wants not only meet that need but exceed it. But how to find out what the customer wants. Don’t rely on surveys on your OPACs or your web site, you have an opportunity every single day in every single interaction with your customers (via email, chat, face to face, or phone). Just go that extra step and see what need isn’t being met. Keeping in mind that meeting someone’s need doesn’t always require a big budget – sometimes just listening to them makes all the difference in the world and you’ll have a lifelong return customer.

Is it a guarantee that if the library of the future follows these three aspects of customer service they will survive? Well nothing is a sure beat but I would put good money on the library of the future (if it focuses on customer service) will be around for all of us to enjoy.

So here is to the future of libraries.  Long may they reign.

#sillyhatday October 21

Winner of the Silly Hats Competition
Image by Arty Smokes via Flickr

@strnglibrarian mentioned on Twitter that she was cooking up some department fun at MarylandAskUsNow! She wants to have crazy hat day and karaoke night.  She invited the Twitterverse to call her the Queen of Positive Vibes and Silly Fun.  So I did.  And she is.  Her attitude is infectious and comes across not only on her blog, her Tweets but in the customer service and leadership she provides at Maryland AskUsNow!

So the gauntlet has been thrown down.  Let’s make October 21st officially Silly Hat Day.  Take a picture of yourself in a silly hat and post it to Twitter and tag it #sillyhatday.  Why?  Well, why not?  More importantly let this fun and a bit of play infect your work that day.  Let it spill over into your customer service with the public.  Sometimes being a little be unexpected is just what is needed.  It helps to shake up the status quo, helps put a smile on your face which in turn can be just what the customer needs (be it an internal or external customer) to have a bright spot in their day.

So show your creativity – make your own or buy a silly hat, wear it on 10/21, take a picture and post it on Twitter or Flickr or other social web sites.  Don’t forget to tag it #sillyhatday.  Have fun and hats off to you!

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Educate Don’t Alienate

photo by Julian Clark

photo by Julian Clark

Print management seems to be one of those perennial topics in the library world.   Not sure why it gets brought up every so often.  I’ve often heard tales of woe from other library staff in regards to the time, money and energy put into these “management” systems.  But why is this such a bug-a-boo topic for librarians?

I would love to say it is because they are all green and want to save the environment.  I would love to say it is because they are budget conscience and want to save money for things like books, computers, salaries, etc.  But honestly what I hear really boils down to “It’s Not Fair!” kind of attitude.  Does that really belong in customer service?

Does putting a hurdle between the customer and what they want equate to good customer service?  Putting said hurdle there just inconveinces the majority of good people and really doesn’t punish the few offenders (there is a way around every system and if they want to find it they will).   So why do we use these systems?

Here is a completely radical idea – don’t charge, don’t monitor, don’t manage but instead educate.  I know people will say but they’ll print reams and reams of paper and use all our toner.  Maybe they will, maybe they won’t.  Maybe we need to be looking at WHY people supposedly print so much.  We need to educate them about the alternatives.  Do customers realize how much paper they use or toner?  Probably not but putting a hurdle such as a print management system in the middle doesn’t really educate them but alienates them.  Why not start a campaign to educate your customers?  Let them know that one “page” on the web does NOT equate to one page of paper.  Do they know how much a carton of printer paper costs?  Do they realize how much toner a printer goes through in a day, a week, a month?  Encourage them to go green or recycle.  Why not encourage them to donate a carton or paper or money toward toner costs.   Don’t put just a sign next to the printer but include this in your fund raising events, put information on your web site and all your social web places as well.  If education is one of the many parts that make up the library whole then let us get to educating the customer not placing hurdles in their way.

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Why Libraries Rock

3835642932_1981254635In order to raise awareness not only of the plight of the Louisville Free Public Library but libraries everywhere I decided to participate in the Blogathon that Andy Woodworth got started.

So why are libraries awesome or rock or kick butt?   All libraries rock because they allow free access to all information (be it print, audio, visual or world wide webable).   We do a lot more than that but since each library focuses on different aspects of their community I thought I’d blog about why MY library rocks!

My library rocks starting at the top and it works it’s way down through every staff member.

  • Our Library Board is very supportive of what we do and sees that our mission & vision stays current and provides our customer base with what they expect.
  • Our Executive Director and CEO has seen that we are not only aligned with  but synonymous with education.  Education is the corner stone of what we do.  We educate all the time – whether it is a story time class, book promotion, or customer service staff helping a customer log into their account.  Each interaction is based in educating, in training.  This is just one of the many initiatives she has implemented since coming to Howard County.
  • Our Public Relations department that produces an outstanding newsletter every quarter that highlights our classes, events, and seminars.  They have created the Howard County Library brand and oversee everything from our flyers, to our signs, to our social web presence making sure  we are consistently presenting the correct image and wording.
  • Our Information Technology department which not only supports over 300 computers (and more coming)  for our public to use (using a Linux operating system which allows us to save our tax payers money while providing a stable, secure environment on which to work) but also the staff desktops (in Linux, Mac and Windows).  We also maintain the web site, catalogs, and databases so our customers may  self-direct their education.
  • Our Children’s & Teen Curriculum – what can I say about all the wonderful classes our children’s services provide?  I’ve been privy to many (taking photos or just walking by) – the amount of energy, time, thought and fun (while learning) that goes into these classes is second to none.  These instructors really have  a calling and put our youngest customers on the path to lifelong learning.  The teen events are no less spectacular.  Making purses from old jeans,  “Hogwarts Summer School” to celebrate the latest Harry Potter movie, Duct Tape flip-flops and gaming nights give our teens a safe environment to socialize, learn and interact.
  • Our Events and Seminars – the learning and fun isn’t just for our children and teens.  Author visits, book club discussions, classes on technology, health, finances or travel and recreation are just some of the great offerings our adult customers can enjoy.
  • Our Passport facility.  Our East Columbia Branch is now an official Passport Acceptance Facility.  Another great service for our customers.  They can use all the wonders of the library while applying for their passports.
  • Community Education and Partnerships.  No library is an island, we are very  much a part of the community.  Our partnerships – Howard County Public School system, Howard Community College, Lincoln Technical Institute, Leadership Howard County, Choose Civility, Horizon Foundation, Howard County Autism Society, Lazarus Foundation – (PCs4Kids), HC DrugFree, Inc., Girl Scouts, Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team – are just some of the ways we are out in the community interacting, engaging, and educating our customers.
  • Our Collection.   It’s not just the outstanding materials our selectors purchase but the hard working individuals that catalog, process and circulate these materials so that our customers can get what they want when they want it (whether it’s an in house visit or via our web site and catalogs).
  • Our Customer Service.  We pride ourselves on not only meeting but exceeding our customer’s ideas of what good customer service looks like.  This comes in all shapes and forms – from helping someone at our Information or Customer Services desks, to recommended a book/dvd/cd/or event via our blog Highly Recommended, to answering a customer’s concern via email, to talking to a teen who just needs someone to listen – we believe in going that extra step, that extra degree.

There are many more aspects and departments that I didn’t mention.  They too help to give our customers what they want or support our staff so they can give our customer what they need.  We need ALL the parts of this well oiled machine to make our library rock and to rank first in the nation among great public libraries according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings 2008.

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Have Passport, Will Travel

passportAnd now from the “If only this had happened just a bit sooner” file….

MPOW will officially become a Passport Office on Monday August 10th.  Ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate will take place at our East Columbia Branch at 11:00 am that Monday.

Oh, how I wish either my trip to Spain had been a bit later this year or that the Passport Office had been ready a bit earlier.  Having to take the MARC train and Metro to the Regional Passport Office in Washington D.C. was not fun.  I had to go there once myself and my husband went the next day for me to actually pickup the passport (name change and it had expired).

The residents of Columbia, Howard County and Central Maryland don’t know how lucky they are.  They won’t have to fight commuter traffic to go to D.C. or stand in line at the post office bored out of their mind.  Instead if they do have to wait they have the whole library at their disposal to keep them occupied – books galore, plenty of computers with access to the Internet, periodicals, newspapers, books on CD, Playaways and lots more.

This is just another in a great line of services that we offer our community.  Makes me proud.

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My 2 Cents To Businesses Everywhere

Customer service seems to be on the minds of everyone lately.  First I posted about my recent not so great experiences, then today Strange Librarian posted on her blog her dealings with Weiss and being rushed out of the store, and then Andrew Shuping posted at FriendFeed his less than stellar experience with Cracker Barrel.  Something must be in the water.

You might wonder what do I know about customer service.  Well I served at the public service desk for many years as part of the Circulation department, I have contact with customers on weekly basis via email when dealing with technology problems, I have to interact with internal customers (staff and they are just as important as our external customers) daily solving their problems, answering their questions and helping them succeed in their roles but most importantly I AM A CONSUMER!

So whether you are a library, a retail establishment, small business or major corporation here is my 2 cents to you:

  • Hire the appropriate staff.  Make sure your interview process asks probing, clarifying questions.  Don’t just give scenarios and ask how they’d handle them.
  • Once appropriate staff are hired, TRAIN THEM.  Don’t assume because they answered questions correctly in the interview they know everything.  Technology comes along that they need to be aware of to interact correctly with customers.  Also refreshers are never a bad thing we can all benefit from that.
  • Make sure your company policies are inline with good customer service.  Don’t tie your employees hands with silly policies or rules.
  • Trust your employees.  You interviewed them, you hired them, you trained them now trust them.  That isn’t to say not to be aware of what they are doing but don’t micro-manage.  If you hover over them that kind of pressure won’t bring out the best customer service in them.
  • Reward great customer service.  Let them know you value the kind of service they are providing.  Anything from an “attaboy” to comp time to monetary rewards – doesn’t have to be big but acknowledgment is always great to hear.
  • Nip bad customer service in the bud.  One bad experience by a customer can multiply times ten and now with the social web it can multiply times ten thousand or more.  Pull that person off the front line, get them back into training, listen to them and help them learn a better way to handle the situation and if worst comes to worst fire them.  Keeping bad customer service employees in this day and age is tantamount to suicide.

I am as loyal as they come when you treat me right.  But all it takes is one wrong customer service experience for me to write about it, tell all my friends and more than likely never darken the doorstep of your establishment again.  Just ask Sears.  Had a bad experience with them back in 1989 and other than walking through their store to get inside the Columbia Mall I have never bought anything from them again.  You might think how much damage can one little person not buying anything from a major company like Sears do.  Well, it isn’t just me that isn’t buying it is my family and friends who have heard the full story – now with the social web that story can be told to many, many more.

Addendum to VPI Experience

Addendum:

Interesting that only seconds after to Twittering my bad experience earlier I had some new followers and one was the co-founder of Embrace Pet Insurance.

About an hour later I received a phone call from the supervisor who I had originally dealt with.  She and I were more civil this time.  Turns out she did some digging (sorry to say should have been done the first time but glad it was at least done this time) into my account.  She found something pending (didn’t say what exactly) that was from the time I had originally signed up with VPI.  I found this odd because whatever this was it did not keep me from making claims or receiving my payments.  She also let me know that because my email had contained attachments (2 screen shots so they could see exactly what I was seeing) it had been deleted (even though I got a confirmation email that they had recieved it).  So she asked me to try the web site again and if that didn’t work that I was to submit the email again but without the attachments.

I gave ol’ Firefox a try again and it still doesn’t work in Firefox.  Gave into using Internet Explorer and was able to FINALLY cancel the policies.

A few moments later I got a call from Patty at VPI to let me know that my policy cancellations had indeed gone through.  I thanked her for following up.  I asked her if I could speak to someone in the web dept.  I explained to her my main frustration had started with the inoperability of their web portal.  I enlightened her on not limiting your customers to only one browser (IE is FAR from the only thing out there).  She assured me that the web dept. was working to have their web portal work with Firefox and Safari (odd earlier they only knew that Safari didn’t work with it).

I truly hope that VPI learned a lesson from this today.  Follow up customer service is great but it shouldn’t be in place of good customer service to begin with.  Also that you don’t limit your customers or frustrate them by designing a site that isn’t web standards compliant.  Don’t launch a site until it works in all the major browsers (and OSes too – Linux, Windows, Mac).

I did Tweet that I appreciated them calling me back.  Am I completely happy?  No.  But I certainly feel a lot better than I did a few hours ago.  Thank you for getting back to me but let’s work on getting it right the first time.  🙂

My Tweets:

VPI Pet Insurance just earned a few points – supervisor called back and gave me her ext. plus update on my problems – good customer service

few more pts 4 VPI – told me they are working on getting site to work w/Firefox & Safari never launch a site until it works in ALL browsers

Seriously? In This Economy You Can Afford To Offer Bad Customer Service?

I think  most people who know me would say I’m pretty fair.  I don’t immediately fly off the handle at a drop of a hat.  I am someone who will give you 3 strikes before calling you out.  So it is fair to say I gave VPI Pet Insurance more than their fair share of strikes.  I’m just utterly blown away by the experience I had today with VPI.  All because I wanted to cancel my policy.  I will say that at the beginning I wanted only to cancel my policies for now and had all hopes of reinstating them at a later point.  That point is now NEVER going to come.  VPI blew it big time.

Below is the email I sent to their customercare@petinsurance.com.  First part about canceling the policies and the numbers have been left off.  I’m still realing after this interaction.  I would never in good consceience recommend this place to ANYONE because of the bad customer experience I had today.  Sad to say one really bad experience can negate previous good ones.  Worst part is if the supervisor had taken a different route with me a lot of my frustration could have dissapated – she just added to it.

I’ve attached 2 screen shots to explain the problems I was having with your web site.  The first one shows you that I have all the information filled in and all the boxes dealt with correctly.  The 2nd screen shot is the message I got after clicking on submit.  I called to make sure there was no changes pending (as I have not submitted any claims or made any changes for 6 months) – there were no changes to my account that anyone could find.

As someone who has not only worked in customer service but also in Information Technology for over 25 years this was the worst experience I’ve had dealing with both a web site and people via the phone.  If you want your customers to be able to manage their accounts (make claims, cancel, etc.) you need to make your web site is web standards complaint (any browser, any operating system and interoperability/accessibility for all no matter what their situation might be).  At first I tried your web site in latest version of Firefox on Ubuntu (Linux) and was unable to do so.  At first I thought perhaps you were down or having problems with the site so I decided to try later.  2 weeks later (today) I try again – after filling out all the info and checking boxes (see 1st screenshot) I see a small box flash quickly (something about searching a database) and then I get the same page I was on.  I felt as if things didn’t go through correctly.  So I called the first time to verify.  I explain to that person (sorry he didn’t give me his name) and I explained in a calm voice that I was frustrated but trying to cancel my policies.  I told him about my experience.  He was (out of the 3 people I talked to) the best.  He explained that I should see another screen, he was patient with me and I with him.  I asked him if the site didn’t work with Firefox and he put me on hold to check.  Someone (don’t know who) told him the only problem they were aware of was Safari (which means you are limiting your whole MacIntosh user base).  I told him I’d try again on my WindowsXP machine.

Tried Firefox again but on WindowsXP and experienced the same problem.  I then decided to try Internet Explorer – I was able to get further than I had but was presented with a box saying that changes were still pending on one of my accounts and you couldn’t cancel my policies.  (see screen shot 2)  At this point I again called your company.  Amy helped me this time.  Although she was nice I don’t think she understood the problems I was having and after more than 30 mins of trying to cancel my policies I needed this escalated to someone who understood web browsers as well as your policies.  I asked to speak to a supervisor or possibly someone on the web team.  After several mins have gone by I finally get to speak to Jeanette.  No offense but if you have a customer who up until that point had been kind, calm and understanding but extremely frustrated and asking for a supervisor – that is not the time to try and sell me on your policies or lowering my coverage.  At that point you need to see to my frustration and needs by doing that you may have retained me as a customer.  She asked to hear my story (and I wanted to give her the details of what happened) before I had finished she cut me off and didn’t want to hear anymore.  That was just plain rude.  I lost it.  I could understand if I was being rude or if I had been yelling at her but I was not.  There was no excuse for cutting me off.  She didn’t even hear all of the problem before she just jumped in.  She was curt and rude with me for the rest of the call.  At one point I wanted to let her know that I was not happy with my customer experience and I was letting others know this.  I told her I was Twittering this.  She assumed I was trying to cancel via Twitter (NO I’m not stupid but I do have a fair following on my social networks and many of them are pet lovers like me).  She curtly asked me if I had sent the email only moments after I wrote down the information.  HUH?  Come now you need information from me, I need to log into my account – how on earth did she expect me to send an email within seconds.  She informed me that the calls are monitored.  If that is so I certainly hope as a supervisor she is given better training on dealing with customers.  Interrupting, being insulting and rude are not values we instill in my work place with our customer service staff.

I expect my policies to be canceled effective today. I don’t expect anything more than to make sure your web portal is web standards compliant and will actually ALLOW your customers to use it and to educate your customer service staff in how to best give GOOD customer service.

This is really a shame because up until today I had been a loyal customer.  In the past my phone calls have only resulted in the best customer service interaction (especially one kind lady who even called me back and walked me through a procedure to ensure I got all that was due).  But after frustration with the web site, dealing with a supervisor who doesn’t know how to deal with customer service I don’t have the same high opinion of your company as I once did.

My Tweets:

  1. @AAHAHelpingPets I’d have to say #unfollowfriday to VPI after the experience I had today. Bad customer service and poor web portal.

  2. I sense another blog post coming on – must be record bad customer service week.

  3. @rachelrapp Funny thing is one woman I spoke to (3 people total) was named Amy – my Amy knows customer service

  4. Even told the woman Jeanette I believe she said that I was Twittering about this. So VPI Pet Insurance I recommend you clean up your act.

  5. Condescending supervisor asked for my story then doesn’t want to hear it all. BAD customer service rep. VPI Pet Insur. major fail.

  6. FAIL – your site doesn’t work in Firefox or Safari and only on Windows?!! VPI pet insurance no wonder I’m canceling my policies.

Tale of Two Customers Experiences

It was the best of customer experiences, it was the worst of customer experiences.  Odd that they both took place during the same conference.

BAD:

I attended the 2009 Maryland Library Association conference held at the Clarion hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.  I left my home in Northwest Baltimore County to travel to Maryland’s Eastern Shore around 6:30 pm.  Believe it or not I’m not familiar with Ocean City despite being a Maryland native.  I’m more of a Rehoboth Beach, DE kinda of girl.  So I took my trusty GPS with me so I wouldn’t get lost.  Of course that is exactly what happened or at least it took me on a very round about way to the Clarion in OC.

For some reason the day before a large convention which had most of the hotel booked they decided to paint half of their parking lot.  So when I get there there was no parking on the same side of the street as the hotel.  I parked in front of the office area and walked in to see where I could park.  “Hi, I’m here to attend a convention and I’m staying the night.  Can you tell me where I can park, your lot is full.” “There is overflow parking across the street.” is what I heard back.  No, “Oh let me check you in first since you’ll need to place a tag on your car” or “Would you like to check in now and then park your car?”  Instead I get back in my car, drive down a couple lights to find a spot where I can do a U-turn and park my car.  Since I’ve heard horror stories of people being hit while crossing Coastal Highway, I decided to be a good pedisterian and crossed at the crosswalk, drag my bag on the sidewalk until I get back to the hotel.

When I get there I see four people working the desk, three of them talking to each other and one actually helping someone.  Finally one of the talkers looks up and asks me if I’d like to check in.  After I check in and get my key she then tells that I need to hang this tag on my car which is now unconviently parked across an eight lane highway.  It wasn’t that big a deal to walk over there it was just the topping on poor customer service.  Good customer service would have dictated that when I came in to find out where to park they should have offered to check me in and give me the tag then.

In this day and age with the economy depressed as it is and businesses failing left and right customer service, good customer service is MORE essential than ever.  Just because I am attending a conference in your hotel does not mean I have to book a room in your hotel.  I can assure you that next year if I attend MLA 2010 I won’t be staying at the Clarion.  I’ll find a place that actually understands what proper customer service looks like.

103_1120GOOD:

Thank goodness I was able to experience the opposite of the above customer service issue while I was still in Ocean City.  Thursday night I went to dinner with a good friend.  Since he is more familiar with Ocean City and what they have to offer I asked him to pick the place.  We drove up to Galaxy66 Bar and Grille.   As I walked through the door I realized that this was going to be a different dinning experience.  The decor, colors used, even the plates on the table set a tone.  Then from the moment we walked in the customer service and attention to detail was excellent.

I asked our waiters if they served Coke products.  Sounds a bit odd but I’ve made the mistake over the years of asking for a Diet Coke but they fail to tell me that it’s really Diet Pepsi.   I explained to the guys that I had gone all day without a Diet Coke and I was jonesing big time.  That was just the start.  They brought me a Diet Coke and before the last drop was finished there was another glass was brought to me.  Their attention was the right blend of anticipating what we needed, asking us and staying away so we could chat and dine.  The menu was unique.  The flavor combinations were different but they worked.  I was pleasantly surprised with my bokchoy salad – red curry aioli, scallion crepe, radiccio, yellow and orange peppers, crispy lo mein noodles and shoestring carrots.  I then followed that very generous portion of salad with the gnocchi – seasonal mushrooms, rocket, garlic truffle oil, aged Parmesan.  Dinner was accompanied by toasted bread with my favorite herb, rosemary.

103_1117It was a wonderful time to spend with an old friend and the restuarant only made it better.  I judge a restaurant not only by it’s customer service, food but also by it’s ladies room.  It doesn’t have to be fancy but just clean.  Well, Galaxy66 had both.  The funky decor continued into the ladies room and it was clean.  To me that means you care – if you care about that then I have faith that the kitchen has as much if not more care given to it.  The icing on the cake for me was the card that came with the bill.  Being the social web guru that I am I absolutely loved seeing that they were on Facebook.  When I visited their web site they are also listed as being on Twitter.  You know I just had to follow and friend them.  Thank you to our waiters, the chef and the manager of Galaxy66 for great customer service, a wonderful unique meal and making my short stay in Ocean City a lot better (especially after the Clarion’s boo-boo).