Continuing government shutdown offers insights into customer service triumphs, Trump travesties

Community contributors ranging from individuals to organizations are providing food and other support to furloughed and unpaid government workers—its own form of “customer service.” In stark contrast is the “customer disservice” coming from Donald Trump, whose appalling lack of caring for his customers, the American people, is abominable.

As little as Trump cares for his constituents, the community—in this case organizations, companies, volunteers and other caring people—are demonstrating the opposite. This is an example of how “customer service” can be hidden in places that normally wouldn’t come to mind. Many have come forward to display excellent customer support to folks who in essence are not their customers. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Government should exist to serve the public; typically you don’t think about the public serving the government. But, in these extraordinary circumstances, the tables have turned. Providing free meals to TSA workers is one expression. A Thisisinsider.com article details other ways companies and communities are pitching in to help:

“Several organizations are teaming up to give unpaid US Coast Guard service members interest-free loans…Central Texas Food Bank in Austin is providing federal workers with food…A federal employee who took his dog to the vet during the shutdown received a bill for zero dollars…Michael Moore is offering free movies and refreshments at two Michigan theaters for government employees and their families…Poor Richard’s in Colorado Springs is giving federal employees and their families free meals until the shutdown ends…”

MSN.com notes:

“The state of Alabama has nearly 40,000 federal employees, all without paychecks and increasingly desperate during the partial government shutdown. It seemed that just about all of them were in a line that snaked around the parking lot of First Baptist Church of Huntsville on Thursday…The church had decided to dip into its disaster-relief fund — and passed the collection plate around an extra time or two — to buy $16,500 in grocery-store gift cards, earmarked for furloughed federal employees.”

 

Vox.com adds:

“Many companies are extending offers big and small to help furloughed workers while the government leaves them hanging. Some major corporations, for example, are offering extended time for federal workers to pay their bills. Cellphone companies like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile, for example, have all said they will waive late fees for workers impacted by the shutdown, and will work with them on payment plans. Banks like Chase, Citi, American Express, and Capital One are giving similar offers too.”

A recent Marketwatch.com report details other efforts providing “food for thought” across the country:

“…eateries have also gotten in on the giving. The fast-casual Italian chain Fazoli’s, which has 216 locations in about two dozen states, will offer its limited-time Pizza Baked Spaghetti dish to patrons who present government ID and purchase a drink…Guy Cummins, the owner of Smokin’ This and That BBQ in Florence, Ky., is giving away a barbecue sandwich with any two sides and a soft drink on the house.”

Amid so much customer service consternation, it’s uplifting to see so many doing so much for so many.

The New Year offers a logical time for companies to review and regear customer service policies. This is the third in a continuing series about “hidden” customer service-oriented practices that may be helping or hurting your business.

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Mark Lusky is a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience. Author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage,  Mark (aka The Happy Curmudgeon) is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm.

One thought

  1. Thanks for the positive spin. The vast majority of Americans are disgusted with the total lack of leadership from the current occupant of the White House. That organizations and individuals are stepping up to help is encouraging.

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