The most frequent customer service fail we have in our company is when an employee, thinking they are doing me some kind of favor, go nuts on a customer trying to enforce some trivial rule or trying to collect the last $5 our company might be owed.
It is astronomically hard to train people to use their judgement the same way I would in a customer situation. This is particularly true when ego gets involved, when the employee feels like they have somehow taken a ego hit, with the customer "winning" and them "losing." I once had an employee drive out of the park we were operating and chase a woman down the road over a misunderstanding about whether $5 had been paid correctly. Incredible. Unfortunately, I have found no amount of training can fix judgement this bad, and the only thing I know how to do is fire them as fast as possible so they can't do any more harm.
I have always supposed this over-zealousness was a general human train, but in certain am-I-crazy moments, I wonder if somehow I am preferentially selecting for this kind of nuttiness. Apparently not:
A Hawaii couple’s 3-year-old daughter was taken away from them for 18 hours after they were arrested for forgetting to a pay for two $5 sandwiches.
“This is unreal this could happen to a family like ours,” Nicole Leszczynski told Hawaii’s KHON.
The outing-turned-nightmare happened Wednesday while the family was shopping at a local Safeway.
“We walked a long way to the grocery store and I was feeling faint, dizzy, like I needed to eat something so we decided to pick up some sandwiches and eat them while we were shopping,” Leszczynski told the news station.
Leszczynski, who is 30-weeks pregnant, her husband, Marcin, and daughter Zophia bought $50 worth of groceries — but forgot about their two chicken salad sandwiches.
“It was a complete distraction, distracted parent moment,” Leszczynski told KHON.
As the family left, they were stopped by store security, who asked for their receipt.
“I offered to pay, we had the cash. We just bought the groceries,” Leszczynski told the station.
Instead, the expectant mother told KHON that the Safeway manager called police. They were taken to the main Honolulu police station where they were booked for fourth degree theft. Then Zophia was taken into custody by Child Protective Services.
I will say that I think the public agencies we replace in operating these parks are generally worse at this than we are, simply because so many of their employees have law enforcement certifications. Dealing with customer service issues using law enforcement officers is often a recipe for bad outcomes.