Four times in the past two weeks my wife has received the wrong coffee as per her order.  Since she’s been expecting our first child, the word “de-caf” now preludes her coffee order.  This one small change has created havoc with this daily affair.

I am setting the stage for the inspiration of this post.  Incorrect coffee orders are just one small example of a bigger problem the North faces - sub-par customer service.  I am not sure why this problem exists in the North.  We make decisions everyday, where to shop, buy gas, eat out and while some of these decisions are made out of necessity, a lot of them come from some sort or pre-determined brand loyalty.  More and more I find myself in the Yukon basing these decisions not on the brand that delivers and excels on their experience but more of which is the safest decision.  The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t know.

I find myself yearning for a brand to step up and deliver on the experience they are promising in the Yukon and I have yet to have that experience.  Some are starting to realize this and answer the call.  At a regular lunch spot I attend, I had to remind the staff that I was still waiting on my sandwich, its ok they are the “devil I know” so I wasn’t upset, I just accept this as part of my experience now.  What I didn’t expect was to receive a free complimentary coffee card for my patience.  One small act reassured my lunchtime decision while acknowledging sub par service also shone some glimmer of hope into a customer service barren territory.

As the Yukon grows in population, the hunger for reliable brands that not only deliver a great product but also deliver on the entire experience will successfully get our attention and our money.

 

5 comments




by Eleanor

I don’t know if there’s a lack of excellent service folk to choose from, or if service employees are comfortable in their jobs because they know their boss from some other connection, ie. long friendship, friends of so-and-so, also works for their partner, were hired as a favour, etc, etc, .
It’s certainly a unique experience going out in Whitehorse and I’ve had my fair share of laughable service experiences that waver on the verge of charming and irritating. Service and atmosphere are two things I look for, and often I’ll go for sub-par service when the atmosphere is right, but as the looser liquor laws expand the after 5pm options, excellent service and atmosphere may be achievable in tandem!
Here’s to hoping!

12.14.2010

by Amanda McDonald

It’s true.  I have had multiple issues with service up here.  I think that people in the service and food sector need to realize that they are selling a product and that their quality of service is included in the price of what they are selling. 

Several times I’ve gone to one location for coffee because they are faster and less expensive, little did I know they would get my order incorrect at least half the time. 

Now, I go where I’m comfortable and I don’t spend money where I’m not going to get what I asked for.  Plus, having been in the food and service industry, a lot of barristas/employees/servers need to be told when something’s been made incorrectly.  Depending on the store, some places are handed off to someone else and some things can be lost in translation.  When I’ve asked someone to remake something because it was incorrect I’ve only ever gotten apologies and smiles… So I guess it’s up to us to take some responsibility as consumers and demand what we’ve paid for. 

The more Yukoner’s push for better service, and make a noise when they don’t get it, the more the sector will turn around.

02.09.2011

by Corey

Thanks Amanda and Eleanor for the comments.  I do agree with your last statement Amanda on how the more we push for better service the more we will get it.  However I miss having the options that I could just reward good service with my wallet instead of having to try and encourage it with taking a stand.

02.09.2011

by Amanda McDonald

Yes, giving a tip is always easier than having to wait an extra 15 minutes for a drink that should have been done right the first time.  I stand by my comments though.

As an experienced person in this sector I know that I learned best by orders for people who requested me to do so.  Also, it’s not just about triaining the staff… it points out miscommunications in the team’s (store’s) framwork they might otherwise miss.  The faster we demand…. the faster we’ll be able to simply tip.

Let’s not forget too the high turnover rate here for this industry in Whitehorse.  One of the other issues too might be that you’re currently always ordering from new staff who are constantly learning.  So, step 2 after demanding great service would be to encourage and change our point of view of the service industry so that people don’t think it’s beneath themselves to work there and hope to be a manager there someday. 

Sorry for the rant.  It’s a sector that’s dear to my heart.

02.09.2011

by Corey

@ Amanda, no need to apologize here, your views and points are great.  Thanks for the ranting, thats what this is here for :)

02.09.2011

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