Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bottom of the food chain

I've been at Head Office full time for about 3 months now and have settled in somewhat. The office environment is definitely different to being in stores, and I can understand the pain and humour in The Office series. My role is liaising with staff and customers and Area Managers in a feedback role. Rather ironic really, seeing as I was Ranter, The Feedback Girl. I had a reputation before I even arrived on site.

So I take my role seriously too. Even though I am aware of my relatively lowly position in the office, I like to make sure no one pushes around and abuses the store staff. I've found that lately, most of the customer complaints about staff have been unfounded, widely exaggerated, and pretty much completely untrue. Abusing and yelling at our store staff is just not on. Getting your grown son and his wife in to have a go at our lone, 5 month pregnant staff member as well is just abhorrent. They made her so upset that she was about to burst into tears, she was so upset, she had to have a drink and go out the back to calm down. She'd been with The Company for 5 years. Obviously she loves her job and The Company, and was distraught that they'd written in about her. The daughter in law was going to have her on right there in the store!!

That, and then when I found out another one of my crazy emailing customers was abusing Geoff, one of the guys I worked with in Sunshine when he first started. Well, that was the last straw. Geoff is my age, finished uni, working full time at The Company as a store manager. He was managing Poshville spectacularly until he took up the offer to move to NSW to work in the Poshville there. He and his staff are abused by the customers daily up there. And then when his Area Manager told me how he was going, and how he snapped back at a customer (she was waving a pair of $5 thongs in his face) and was in tears over the incident... And how he'd had a fall out with Grant and then Grant had a go at him when he was over in NSW. Well. How dare they. Grant and I haven't really gotten along. Or rather, I've never thought much of him while I was in store, and less so while in HO. That was another one to add to the tally.

Well. That was it. I had had enough. I am overruled just as much as the store staff are. I have to BCC (blind carbon copy) all my responses to customers to everyone senior to me. They monitor everything I do and then overrule me when they see fit. So the customers always have their way. The store staff thought (and I thought it too when I was in store) HO had no idea and were always overruling them when they were doing their best and following policy. And it's true. They do. I do. Or I am made to. I am made to look as much a fool as the store staff.

Well, don't worry comrades, I am just as lowly as the rest of you. I had been overruled so many times, and then one staff member wrote feedback about it, so I made sure to assign that to the Boss, Lleyton (General Manager, basically The Owner's right hand man) that overruled me on that one. It has to have been two weeks now. Still no response. Will follow that up. I take my job VERY seriously.

Anyway, I am getting angrier thinking about it all. So I finally took it upon myself and sent out a mass email (big no-no) to all stores and all Area Managers telling em basically that they could give me a heads up when they had any psycho customers out there. I am all for them and I explained my responses and my role, and made sure that we are supportive of them out there on the front line.

Well, I sure got a big response from that! So many stores emailed straight back expressing their appreciation and surprise. Even an AM emailed back telling me what a relief it was for her staff to see that from someone up there in HO. But my boss, Debby somehow got wind of the email and boy did I get my butt kicked for that. She emailed our boss, and 2 other big bosses, including Lleyton (but not The Owner, thank goodness). It was completely inappropriate and just plain wrong. Our Admin boss also put in her condemnation of my lack of professionalism. I had already received something of a warning from Debby to watch myself. I have always been a trouble maker. I meant well, I just went about it the wrong way. I felt terrible and hopeless and pathetic. Not again.

But then I got an email from one of the NSW stores, and it made it worth it. They know I know what it's like, and I'm on their side. I called him back and talked to him (Debby was out) and let him know that I really appreciated their response. It was good to get in touch with the store staff again. I got my butt kicked but it was worth it. Staff morale. I'm all for it.

1 comment:

Clarissa said...

Good for people to know.