Racism and poor customer service

The not so loveable bit about living in Hobart documented Skye’s encounter with an Australia Post employee who had a peculiar approach to cross-cultural customer service.
Seven weeks after the incident it was becoming clear that I wasn’t going to get the promised feedback so Mohammed went to the mountain.
They deployed the big guns to deal with me.
The Area Manager called back.
So the big boss said that the stories of the two Customer Service Officers that day were quite a bit different to mine.

It’s okay, I get natural justice.

Everyone has the right to a reply.
The big boss tells me in the year or thereabouts that he has been Area Manager, there has only been three complaints about the Moonah Post Office out of around 600 daily transactions.
He spends a long time convincing me that the Australia Post has a strong commitment to customer service.
He asks me what I think should happen.
I think about what I expected and realise I hadn’t worked it through this far.
But I have a few things to say. I am nothing if not opinionated.
I make my point about the racist reference. I let him know that he doesn’t need a discrimination complaint.
I suggest that newly arrived migrants and refugees will continue to come and live in the northern suburbs. He might think about how much he invests in cultural diversity training for staff.

I tell him I understand that nothing can be proven here (and I’m acutely aware it’s my word against two others). But I do make the point that this matter can be dealt with without admitting liability or directing blame.
A complaint was received.
Why not ask that customer service officer ‘How could you deal with this sort of situation differently next time?’

I suggest he could think about how he can use professional development planning to support improvements to customer interactions generally.
He agrees he will return and talk with the staff further.
I think that’s as good as I’m going to get and I should thank him for his responsiveness. It was a clearly difficult call for him to make.
I think maybe I should have waited for the couple and checked in with them.
Maybe I should have got their names and contact details. I went through it in my head at the time. But I worried about upsetting them more, embarrassing them, intruding etc.
I know for sure though, we need to pick up the phone and make the call. Stuff like this needs to go on the record because it’s the right thing to do and because it can build a case when a case is needed.
I also know for sure that we need to speak up at the time and tell the person their behaviour isn’t okay,
…that there are better ways to act
…and suggest they think about what it’s like being in the other person’s shoes.

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