of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Customer Service: Little Caesars

We were in a rush today so decided to get a pizza for our neighbor’s dinner instead of cooking dinner for them.  Unfortunately, this proved to be a bit of a problem.  Although we pre-ordered the Pizza, it wasn’t ready when we arrived.  After further delay, I said that I could not wait any longer and requested that my money be refunded and that I be allowed to get one of the hot-and-ready pizzas.  This turned into a bit of an ordeal because someone with less than satisfactory customer service pushed himself in the middle of the situation.  He was clearly irritated that I wanted a refund and made his irritation known.  It was also clear that I could only expect a refund and would not have the option of getting a pizza that was ready.

By the time he handed me my money, my pizza was finally ready—25 minutes after it had been ordered and 15 minutes after we had been told it was ready.  A very nice employee asked the guy if he should just give me the pizza and his response was “NO.  Just throw it out.”  Generally, we get very good service at this particular franchise and he with little customer service is clearly not representative of the overall quality of service.

I was struck by his attitude; that it was somehow my fault that the store had not performed well.  Even when I presented a viable option to make things right, his attitude prevented him from accepting my proposal.  Rather than admit the difficulty he was having, he preferred to fail.

Unfortunately, this sometimes happens to students.  They are not doing well in my class for some reason and instead of taking responsibility for their behavior, they spend time casting blame.  As with the pizza order, they are generally irritated with me.

I generally try to work with students who are having difficulty even if their difficulty is a result of their own irresponsibility.  I would rather spend the time to help students correct a problem during the semester we are working together than to have them continue to fail.  Often, I will come up with a strategy that will allow such students to successfully complete the course.  Too often when this happens, there are students who reject the strategy and continue to fail.  They would rather fail than accept responsibility.  It is sad to watch students self destruct in this way.  But we can’t force people to make good decisions.

If he had a different attitude, the pizza employee would have had a happy customer who would have willingly paid for a ready-to-go pizza.  After all, mistakes happen all of the time.  Instead, he ended up with an irritated customer who will be contacting his manager tomorrow.


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