I cancelled my normal trip home from work on Dial-A-Ride and decided to order a cab instead. I wanted to get a hair cut and some cash from the ATM before my trip to see Dr. Brick in Tucson tomorrow. It is practically impossible to complete multiple erands on Dial-A-Ride in anything approaching a timely manner.

I called one of our local cab companies at 2:00 in the afternoon to place a 6:00 time call. This has always resulted in a pick up right at or very shortly after the requested time. It should be safely assumed that four hours is a sufficient amount of time to make sure a cab is available and willing to take this call. Apparently, not so fast! 6:00 came and went. I was waiting for the cab after the end of my shift. Calling the cab company at 6:05, I am told that it’ll be another 5 to 30 minutes before I am picked up. An excuse is offered. Apparently, no cabs were in the area and thus there was no match for this call. I gave this company another ten minutes, then called back. There was absolutely no change; no cab was on the way. I spoke with a manager. She said she would do their best to get me picked up.

I ultimately resolved the issue. I contacted a competing cab company. They showed up within ten minutes at which time I promptly called the first company to cancel my order. I made it a point to explain how this order had not been fulfilled in a reasonable manner and how I was riding with their competitor.

So, what is this all about, you ask? It is about accountability, professionalism and avoiding silly excuses. If you represent or own a business and I am speaking with you as a customer regarding your poor service, ultimately, your problems are not mine. Your actions or lack of actions might inconvenience me or even cause me to suffer negative consequences as a result. I will never passively stand by and allow this to happen without challenge!

If you are an employee or otherwise represent any agency, company or organization, follow these rules when dealing with customers:

  • Always be courteous with the customer!
  • Empathize with the customer’s situation and make this apparent.
  • Acknowledge the inconvenience or consequences the customer is suffering and talk about the actions being taken to improve the situation.
  • Take positive action. Ask a manager or supervisor for help if necessary.
  • Don’t blame others! This is clearly unprofessional from any perspective.
  • Give explanations but never make excuses. There is a difference, even if that difference is only in how the situation is presented to the customer.

Accountability and professionalism is simply a matter of respect. We all must exercise it in every aspect of our lives. We must exemplify it when dealing with others and we have the right to expect it in return. It is a matter of one’s personal character. Accountability and overall professionalism ultimately comes down to this simple golden rule:

Show up on time and always do what you say you’re going to do.