Posted by Frank Chin on August 05, 2005 at 07:52:42:
When I took over the business 3 years ago, I decided to keep things the same during the transition. She’s one of the holdovers.
The employee in question is an older Italian women, lived in the neighborhood years and years, and worked at several nearby businesses before. She seem to know most of the customers on a first name bases, and usually asks “how’s your mom, your dad”, did you son finish college yet, etc. It’s invaluable in a retail business environment.
Not to mention older folks have more common sense. We had to let a young fella go yesterday because of this. For a job as simple as answering the phone, we get complaints about “who’s that stupid guy answering the phone”. Or, “he’s pretty stupid for a Russian kid”.
Just as an example, part of his job in answering the phone is to find out what the customer’s problem is, take care of it, and get someone else if he can’t. But for weeks and weeks, he’ll answer the phone, ask the customer to hold, and page for the manager immediately. So I asked him, “when a customer calls, get name, number, find out what they want, and get the manager after if you don’t know the answer.” He said “OK”.
I further added "the manager has to drop everything when someone calls because you can’t handle things as simple as “what time do you close today”.
I since asked the manager if there’s any immprovement. My manager replied, “you’re running up a huge phone bill now, because instead of paging me immediatley when someone is on the phone already, he takes messages from everyone now, and tell them someone will call them back later. I have to call every customer, and play phone tag. He’s just too lazy”.
So we put a notice up in the local Church bulletin board again hoping to find someone older, and local.
Often, with employess, you have to take the good with the bad.