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Becki Mattin
Becki Mattin

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07 October 2019 Becki Mattin

Service providers should provide adequate training to seasonal staff, says Becki Mattin.

You know the feeling; it’s 5.15pm and you’re due to leave work in 15 minutes but you’ve yet to see that contractor – the one ‘Sally’ from customer services promised would be with you before the end of the day. 

On these summer days I’m pulling my hair out while attached to my phone explaining to poor ‘Sally’ why it’s unacceptable for a credit note to be raised because there’s been a week’s delay in emptying our sanitary facilities. “I pay good money for a service and I expect that service to be fulfilled” – we’ve all said it. 

Frustratingly, it is not just one service provider, it’s all of them: the underappreciated cleaners, the seen-some-things waste disposal teams and every other service provider in between. It seems providers are overcommitting themselves, both to their staff and customers. They grant a substantial amount of staff holiday but also expect to retain their service levels with untrained holiday cover.  

While I appreciate a company that allows its staff to take holiday as and when they request it, I respect a company that knows its customers well enough to understand the staff levels they require to maintain a high service level to customers. 

I have worked for companies that require you to take leave before certain months of the year and others that demand you book 50 per cent of your holiday before the end of January – and these companies never struggled to provide adequate service. They weren’t perfect in other areas, but who is?

If you are a service provider and finding yourself losing customers or experiencing high complaints during peak holiday times, take a look at your staffing numbers during these times and whether your customers are being left with poor service levels owing to skeleton staffing. You might find the answers you seek. Also, while you are evaluating staff, give ‘Sally’ from customer service a pat on the back; she deserves it.

Becki Mattin is facilities supervisor at the Fair Trade Practice