Recently my car was stolen, as were another 43 Hyundai vehicles the same night in the “Sharon Area” just north east of Tel Aviv.
The cars were stolen at 22.00 (10 PM) and appeared on a security camera at 22.14 in the Palestinian town of Qalqilya, where the cars disappeared and were dismantled, with the spare parts sold back to Israeli garages the very next day in a rare form of Palestinian/Israeli cooperation.
Getting reimbursed and re-equipped with a new car turned out to be a major challenge. The bureaucracies of the (almost brain dead) Israeli police, the insurance company, the Ministry of Transportation and the various authorities was a nightmare.
One of the more interesting things I noticed was that how few people really cared about the issue at hand. Rather, they cared about filling out the various screens and not getting in trouble. Nearly no one gave a flying fuck about me.
For example: to get reimbursed, I need to provide a copy of my stolen car license. But the license was in the car’s glove compartment. And the Ministry of Transportation would not issue me a copy because “the car appears to have been stolen. Please contact out help desk”, where no help was available “for this specific issue”.
Another example: I needed to provide a copy of a receipt for the last time my car was in a tune up, detailing what work had been done in order to access the state of the automobile. When I called the garage I was told that “due to the long line of people waiting now, please drop by the ( לקפוץ) garage in person and we will try to assist you”. The aforementioned garage has a severe parking problem; extracting the receipt and job order took me 4 hours.
Each step of the way, it was clear to me that no one cared. No one wanted to advocate for me. Why? Because a system has been put in place to prevent proper customer care. The customer is no longer a customer, but a pain in the ass. The maintenance of the system, however stupid, is the customer. A new form of Leninism. The centrality of the Party, or in this case, the system.
It seems to me that people who care for the customer are people must be willing to take on their own organization, fight their own employer tooth and nail, in order to give service. They need to care about the customer, not the system, to get things done.
Like the lady from the parking meter company. I called her to cancel my parking meter subscription for my old car and transfer it to my new car. Her system was down, but she promised to call me back-and she did. “In the meantime, if someone uses your parking meter, I’ll strIke off the bill. Don’t worry. Here is my email if something slips through the net. I’m not supposed to do it, but I see you waited 25 minutes waiting for me and I’m sorry for that”.
Or the insurance agent who told me that “I’ll make sure that you are reimbursed without that God dammed car license. The insurance company is trying to get you to do their work”.
What actually is caring? In this case it is
- Over-extending your role as needed to get the job done
- Putting the client’s legitimate needs first
- Following up on your own initiative
- Using common sense when the system does not work
- Challenging the system when needed
And I wonder just how many companies recruit for a caring attitude? I am sure that very few. Customer care is really not in anyone’s interest. You only get cared for by caring people.