The Wrong Person Was Quiet

Posted: February 21, 2011 in General Business Fodder, Poor Customer Service

I was reading Peter Shankman’s amusing story about having to shut up a fellow commuter in the Quiet Car on the New York to Philly Amtrak.  The customer service angle of this story should not be lost on anyone.  That’s why I am here, to shine a light on it.

In this story, this ignoramus prattled on loudly on his cell phone, while the rest of the Quiet Car’s occupants squirmed nervously.  Finally, Shankman, a fellow commuter and customer, could stand no more, and asked the man to honor the rules of the Quiet Car.  I.e., STFU.

But while I am sure that many other fellow commuters were grateful to Shankman for having the guts to step up, it begs the question as to why he had to.  Where was the conductor?  Regardless of his pay grade, it seems as though this is one of the things under his purview.  And if not him, then his manager, certainly.  It should not be up to other customers to bring a disruptive customer under control.  

First of all, there is the possibility of danger.  I mean, this butt head could have been loud AND vicious, you don’t know.  But if Amtrak is going to offer a Quiet Car, then it is up to them to ensure the quiet.  Simple as that.  Anything less than that is not only crappy customer service, but also stupid business.

Look, business is tough enough for everyone these days.  There is competition for limited funds, everywhere.  The Amtrak train that this babbling idiot was on, is competing with a) airplanes, b) buses, c) driving, or d) staying home.  So, they are going to let some loudmouth mook negatively impact their service, and therefore, their business?  Really?

Businesses!  Take control of things!  One disruptive customer can leave a bad feeling with a whole lotta folks, so step up.  You don’t have to be a badass with the yakker, but simply enforce the rules that you have laid out for the rest of your customers’ convenience.  Don’t sit there silently while a rowdy customer disturbs the experience of others.  You will earn their respect by taking charge of the matter in a gentle but firm manner.

  1. Hi Chuck! I like your post. I totally agree. Customers shouldn’t have to enforce a companies rules, the company should. It’s like having a complete stranger tell your kid to shut up with his mother standing there.

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