“When you blame, you open up a world of excuses, because as long as you’re looking outside, you miss the opportunity to look inside, and you continue to suffer.” ― Donna Quesada, Buddha in the Classroom: Zen Wisdom to Inspire Teachers
Well folks, a lot has happened since last month. It seems that the cost of a safety program is just too much for American businesses to bare as they believe it cuts into their ability to compete in the market place as well as profits and bonuses. Then those damn EPA laws also have kept many a CEO, COO and other top executives from maxing profit goals and has forced them to live in a lesser luxury life style. I am very glad to see that the sight of worker’s amputated limbs and other extremities, their blood, guts and corpses has not interfered with these execs ability to operate at all. What is even more exciting and hypocritical, is that the U.S. Government is actively protecting me from those illegal bad hombres and other assorted terrorist groups but seem to have no problem if the company I work for tries to kill me. I have always believed in American manufacturing and ingenuity and to buy American first, the quality and workmanship meant something. But there is NO reason what so ever that makes it O.K. to sacrifice American workers by exposing them to hazards that have been proven to be needlessly dangerous and can be mitigated except under the delusional belief the money saved not protecting human life, our air, land and water will go to hire and expand the business when we all know it’s not going into the pockets of the hard working employees who do the day to day tasks but into the pockets of executives who sit behind a desk all day and only think, how can I make more money?
Which leads me to this observation made over the last few years. The more computerized, internet savvy, social media conscience or cloudy we get, companies are losing the human touch and forgetting what customer service is really all about. It’s not just about resolving problems that arise during or after the sale but ensuring that the entire customer experience is a seamless, smooth event. This is not the fault of those on the front lines like customer service people, manufacturing workers, distribution drivers or pilots or clerks or other workers but is a result of the lack of planning and foresight by their leadership. It should be no surprise about the incident that occurred on a United Airlines flight in Chicago when a passenger was pulverized and dragged off a plane for the simple crime of just wanting to get home. It was just a matter of time. Even though no crime was committed and the flight wasn’t over booked, the Airline decided it was perfectly fine to displace people by offering an arbitrary set fee for their inconvenience and disruption to their lives due to the airlines incompetence in planning. What do you mean you won’t take the fee? Everybody takes the fee! Your life is inconsequential to us, you’re just a commodity we move.
Thats where leadership has failed the most and not just in the airline industry. Instead of putting efforts into reviewing procedures and policies to improving the customer experience they’ve been looking through green tinted $$ signs and focused on finding ways to make even more money, with less staff and equipment while keeping the status quo in tact, because we don’t need to improve, we’re perfect. So, again, how can we make more money? What is the next thing we can attach a fee too where the trade off will be worth it? Will the number of customers we lose be offset by the money we make for charging for luggage? We know how that worked out. To avoid the fee people carry on as much as possible to the point that overhead space is a luxury. The irony here is when the airline knows a flight is overbooked and overhead will fill up, they wind up checking in your carry on for free.
Then our friends at Well Fargo decided to enhance the customer experience by opening accounts for customers even though those customers never wanted, asked for or in some cases didn’t even know they had these accounts. Did the workers begin this practice? NO! Again it was the corrupt, greedy leadership that had run out of ethical ideas to bring in more money, so they found other ways to justify the means. Over 5000 workers were fired for this, even though they were told by their bosses, wink wink, nudge nudge, it was fine. By firing a handful of execs does not change the culture either. Just as Fox News. It however sends the message, if you do something to bring in more money, just please don’t get caught.
The eroding of the customer experience can also be found in many retail establishments as well as they try to do more with less staffing to save money. Now in my local supermarket you can find workers with large carts going around the aisles. I’m not totally sure what they’re doing but it could be price and code checking on food items which is a good thing but they are so intent on getting their work done they are always in the way. Mindlessly blocking aisles or a product you need to get too. On top of this, add the vendors coming in to set up displays or restock soda, potato chips, bread and other assorted items who are not being supervised by Supermarket staff and who knows what the supermarket’s policy is or if it’s been explained to the vendors but the other day a potato chip guy was setting up and stocking a display at one end of an aisle, blocking access and then a soda guy on the other end restocking. A person trying to make a purchase could not get through without having to ask one of them to move which gets you a dirty look for being so bold to interrupt them from their busy schedule as they forget YOU’RE THE CUSTOMER!!
Let’s face it, leadership is not always right and especially when it comes to safety or ethical behavior you have every right to question it. If the company ignores your concerns then it is time to either quit and find another job with a company that appreciates you or stand up and fight. The choice is yours but when authority is not questioned that’s when the true atrocities come about. Never keep quiet about safety for the life you save may be your own.
STAND DOWN FOR SAFETY