March 31, 2019, Israel
My desk name plate from the days I worked at the bank. We are here to provide a service.
My dear father taught me about service. If you receive a letter - you answer it, and this was before the days of emails, you actually had to take pen and paper, envelope and stamp, and then go to the post office. When my father would drop off letters at the mail box outside the post office he made sure to drop each one individually. Then he would ask us, Boys, how many letters did you hear drop?
He wanted to make sure that every bill was sent out, every letter.
My father always responded on time and this lesson became ingrained in me.
I worked at a bank. The staff was called in for a meeting. The goal was to get foreign tourists, on vacation in Israel, to leave their money with us. When they came in to withdraw cash we were to try and persuade them to open an account in Israel. This meeting was called to discuss ideas.
One of the reasons tourists came to our bank was to cash Israel Bonds. These were bonds that their congregational leaders encouraged them to purchase as a way of supporting Israel. Their rabbis and leaders told them that when they visited Israel they could easily cash in these bonds and use the funds to enjoy their vacation, thus they were helping Israel twice.
Only this was not the case.
In fact the procedure to cash these bonds was so complicated and convoluted that my bank collogues did everything possible to avoid dealing with it. The excuses ranged from the creative to the absurd; we only can cash bonds on Tuesdays, the only guy who could handle this transaction has been called on a secret mission to Syria, etc.
So the meeting was called and the suggestions from the employees were heard:
Lets' give the customers free T shirts with the bank's name and logo.
Let's leave postcards from the bank at their hotels.
Let's give them free pens with the bank's logo.
And then came my suggestion: These are wealthy businessmen, they do not need your free T shirts, pens or postcards. They need outstanding service, they need you to respect their time. And this we have failed to do.
I was given a warning that I might be fired if I don't change my attitude. Now I run my own business.
When you call me, write me, message me, Facebook me etc...you will get an answer very soon. If I am out of the country my one part time assistant will gladly handle whatever needs to be handled. You will never hear...Moshe is out of the office, please wait until he returns. Never.
But today I called my airline, I have a connecting flight to Australia with another airline. My airline cannot help me since they have no control over the airline of the connecting flight. The other airline refuses to help me because I am "not their client". And so it goes, the classic game of ping pong, back and forth and the customer is always the loser.
This is not my first negative experience of the day with the corporate world but it is enough to give an example of what we, the little guys, experience, on a daily basis; callous uncaring employees working for callous big corporations who really do not care about us.
So what can I do?
All I can do is make a promise, to you, my clients, my students, my members, that I will never treat you as I have been treated. With me every one of you is a VIP.
You have my word.
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