Do businesses or organisations still care about good service or product quality? Do they understand that poor service and order issues add to existing stress or mental health issues, for those on the receiving end?
It seems that often we are being expected to accept and even be 'happy' with poor service and substandard 'goods'. Sometimes even to the point where we are made to feel that we should just be grateful to actually receive a service or item at all.
However, I think there must surely come a point when we can no longer blame external factors, like the pandemic, for simply not bothering or taking care over things! Our financial resources are often carefully budgeted for what we actually need and then the occasional treat; plus the things we have found helpful, for 'enduring' the ongoing changing world situation mentally; so it feels worse to not receive what we were expecting or hoping for.
I have lost count of the times recently that I've received something that has been damaged, sent out dirty (brand new) or must have been made defective to begin with. Each time this happens, my heart sinks a little bit as it then becomes another thing to deal with (rather than being able to get on and use or enjoy the item). One can then either accept it as it is, or take more time, effort and energy in returning it or obtaining a refund. But how many of us have not been really happy with something but simply had too much on our plate to even be bothered to return something or express our dissatisfaction, so we end up wasting our money?
Life is not perfect and mistakes do happen, but it would be great if we could get back to a time when more organisations and businesses really cared about making the customer happy and providing an 'experience'. This potentially secures repeat business by ensuring there is some quality control, even on cheaper items and good service overall. Customer relationship management; and the retention of customers can be more cost effective than constantly securing new customers; that's basic marketing!
I also believe that self-compassion and respect for ourselves, includes how we allow ourselves to be treated. Personally I'm not happy with an attitude of 'that will do' when I'm paying for something; I expect it to give me a good feeling overall and meet my needs.
When we get back out there for dining experiences and socialising; firstly Al fresco, it would be wonderful if we were able to really enjoy it, from the quality of the food, to the service and ambience. I am by no means a snob but it is very rare for me to have an experience where everything is in perfect balance and quality. Surely this shouldn't be the case? It can be very disappointing, especially if you don't dine out often.
We should be relaxed and happy, as providers or customers and not obsessive; but lets also start to consider standards, quality and making an effort alongside the impact of how not doing so, can really affect how someone is left feeling.
When we consider the bigger picture of mental health through the pandemic; some levels of quality and service provided, will have been affected, due to extra pressures and obstacles, that is understandable. However, the fact that stress levels are affected, when we are constantly on the receiving end of damaged or poor quality goods with inadequate service must be considered. We can equally be made to feel that we are just 'moaning' when something isn't actually up to standard and often even criticised for speaking up.
My personal experiences have been with both larger companies and local providers. If I experience good service or get exactly what I've paid for, I'm more likely to be a loyal customer and I'm sure this is the case for many. With this in mind, perhaps we should also be showing our support for those businesses that do really care about the customer and deliver what they say they will (or even going further than that!). Let's start talking more about our good experiences and sharing them.
In the meantime, there are a few larger companies I will try to use a bit less moving forward, and very likely experience a better feeling and energy, with less stress and a more positive experience. Supporting smaller or independent businesses is not always the easiest option or first thought, but it is often more ethical and in some cases can create an inner warmth with much happier transactions.
Enjoy dining outside in the coming weeks and make the most of being able to reconnect properly with friends and family.
Louise V. Fowler
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