Stinking thinking is defined as a negative thought pattern.
It’s creating a problem at every turn.
Or thinking the world is out to get you.
Meeting every problem with a problem, rather than a solution.
This way of thinking in employees can lose your organisation loyal customers.
Eradicating it must be a priority.
“I’m not paid enough to have common sense!”
The statement from the young woman working at Cineworld in Glasgow.
She was standing between me and my pre-booked, pre-paid seats.
My wife and I were there to see our kids’ former babysitter – Polly McKie.
The star in a new Hollywood film – “Unsane”.
We planned to grab a quick bite in our favourite restaurant across the road, whilst looking forward to watching our friend.
Trouble is, I had left my wallet, cinema card and phone – therefore e-ticket – at home.
So, I approached the desk with a cheery disposition to seek help.
Within seconds, I was told I was unable to take my seat without a ticket.
Me: “I realise the mistake is mine,”
“But I’m sure there’s a common sense answer”.
“For instance – someone escorting us to our seats – as I know the numbers.”
Then she said it.
Cineworld employee: “I’m not paid enough to have common sense!
I’m on the minimum wage….£7.50 an hour.
“I’m only paid to tell you the policies.”
I was then told by a Manager I’d have to phone the contact centre to source a booking reference number.
Which I did.
I then carefully spelled out the numbers and letters in my confirmation.
It sounded like a long-distance call.
So I paid close attention as I wanted to make sure I noted the right reference.
I went back to my new friend behind the counter.
Her manager was busy elsewhere.
Me: “I have the code!”, I declare triumphantly.
Cineworld: “You’ll have to join the queue”,
Me: “I had already queued to speak to you and was at the top of the queue when we spoke.”
Cineworld: “Well you’re now at the back of it – and all these people are in front of you,”
Me: “This is what you call ‘stinking thinking’”.
Cineworld: “What did you say?”
Me: “Stinking thinking”.
“It’s when you’re determined to create a problem at every turn, rather than find a solution for a loyal customer,”
At which point she dashed from behind the desk to run after her manager.
Presumably to report me before I reported her.
The two of them disappeared from sight.
Her manager returned to help an elderly man wanting to book a room at Cineworld.
Ten minutes later, she was still deep in conversation with him.
By this point, a new dozen more people were waiting – as the others had all been served.
But my friend has disappeared from the scene completely.
Eventually, I nodded to the man at the head of the queue, like a dog begging for a bone.
He indicated I could go ahead – so I approached the young guy behind the counter.
Me: “I have a code for a booking made an hour ago.”
“Can you print me the tickets please?”
Ten seconds later he handed me my tickets.
I was delighted to be met with the fresh, can-do attitude.
Rather than stinking thinking.
I bolted across to the Thai restaurant across the street.
My wife and I downed a shared soup and a main course in 20 minutes.
All to get back to the cinema for the start of the film.
Several points here:
But it brings up key questions about customer service:
How do you build good customer relations?
Surely solving their problems – rather than adding to them.
How should you treat your customers?
With politeness and respect.
How do you make your customers more loyal?
By going the extra mile.
We tell five people about a good experience.
And nine about a bad one.
Who can afford such a wild swing in reputation management?
Today, with social media, we multiply the effect with blogs such as this.
My advice to Cineworld?
Invest in proper training for staff.
So when they’re asked a question they’re unable to answer, they say:
“I don’t know what we can do here but I’ll ask my manager.”
I’d be more than happy to run the session myself at our studios in Glasgow.
Or indeed around the locations of the Cineworld empire.
It would give employees clear answers.
Further instilling more confidence and greater job satisfaction.
Bill McFarlan is Executive Chairman of Pink Elephant Communications in Glasgow.
You can view his full profile here.
Photo credit //pixabay.com
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