Is it just me or am I getting more miserable as I get older? I was wondering that the other day as we embarked on the journey of researching a replacement vehicle for the current one where the engine decided it was time to shuffle off this mortal coil. Having spent time in a previous life as a purchaser, I tend to over-research everything we buy until we are absolutely certain we have obtained the best value. Turns out the majority of people in our age demographic are quite similar — most of us had grown up in an era where you didn’t have everything you wanted, work hard for your present paycheque and want the best value you can find. Some of us even post-purchase shop to get that glow of gratification in knowing we got a really sweet deal on that thingamabob we bought.
So, engaging a young salesman (generation Y, maybe generation X, certainly not baby boomer material) with a list of questions, I found responses that were incomplete or ignored the question with the constant push to make a decision. While I realize that style probably works with his generation, it really highlighted the differences in dealing with age ranges and what I have come to interpret as good service. My terse replies and continued requests for more information obviously equally frustrated him as I was handed off to a gentleman close to my age and a more equality-based conversation ensued. While having experienced similar situations in stores and restaurants, I do want to qualify that not all younger generations can be tarred with the same brush, just as all baby boomers in service industries don’t radiate sunshine and fill you with cheer.
You don’t have to look farther than our front counter to see a sampling of all the generational species along with the quirks and foibles that accompany them in their travels to and from the complex. Equally so, our front end staff covers a wide age range, as well, and with it, the ability to identify and deal with our guests on an individual, age related basis. In providing Leisure services and recreational or educational opportunities, we have what I consider a distinct advantage over other service based providers in that 99 per cent of the people coming here want to be here and have a corresponding attitude as compared to, say, renewing insurance, getting a medical exam or reviewing your mutual fund performance. Unlike many of those industries, we also provide customer comment cards for you that we actually read and strive to respond to.
Being attuned to what represents good customer service is something I have always done, whether it is ordering a hamburger or buying a car. The successful service providers are the ones that leave you feeling you just received personalized attention and that they truly wanted you to be happy with your experience. That credo spans all age demographics.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.