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I am in a company who sells 10 minutes race for 6 people on formula 1 simulator. Each 15 minutes I have to take 6 new customers who will enjoy their race.

So during these 15 minutes I have 5 minutes where I go to look for the next customers while the first ones are racing. And I am standing near a door with a big clock that says the time. It is very visible.

When a customer is late and it is the time, as my contract said I have the right to go without looking too much for the missing customers as it will make all my session late afterwards and will ruin the experience for other customers.

When a customer is late there are offers that can be made to him/her, give him back his money or wait for another session which is not full.

Also when a customer buys a ticket for a race, when the ticket is delivered they get a firm notice by the customer service at the reception to be at the door 5 minutes earlier prior to their session to avoid that kind of problem.

But one day, as people were late, I was looking for them calling 4pm session time! very clearly and loudly and several times. After not finding them I decided to go with the people who where there with their 4pm ticket and upon closing the door some people were calling me while walking slowly toward me, saying that it was their turn. They were 10 minutes late already and told me they were eating at the restaurant (the company has a restaurant too)

As being someone who cares about customer service I accepted them as I was going anyway to launch the session and it would have been unfriendly and rude to just refuse them. I checked their ticket with the "4pm" visible and asked if they they were aware of the notice. After not receiving an answer I told them that the time on their ticket is the time they should be waiting at the door, as looking for them in the mass of people is quite difficult. As I told them that in a professional manner, reminding them what the receptionist told them they agreed without complaining and without apologising of being late.

Several days after, my big boss called me while getting ready for duty. They placed me in a room without camera and a big table, my big boss sat in front of me, took a checkbook in front of him and proceeded to threaten to fire me if I didn't answer him correctly.

He asked me why I was disrespectful to some customers, telling them harsh words and being not customer friendly, that I was like holding a submachine gun to their heads. As I didn't understand at first what was going on and being surprised to these allegations I asked him to remind me when did that situation occured.

He proceeded to remind me of the day, and I told him that I never was disrespectful, that it didn't strike my mind as such since it wasn't a big deal, since events like these occur very often, clients are late several times in a day. And it was never reported that way.

He then told me that he has proof with video cameras and I told him that if he had the audio of the camera to really hear what I have said.

When I asked him about he audio he threatened me even more by saying I was insignificant and should hear him instead of talking, telling me that if "a poor guy or a minister walks in" he shall have the same quality of experience. I started to misunderstand completely his behavior and tried to explain myself, he kept saying that if I don't understand I can leave the uniform and leave the company and that if I want to go in court that there were 6 eye witnesses (the customers I took late) against me. He then reminded me that I was just a carpet employee, that I was nothing, that he could "fire my ass" any way he wants, when he wants.

Upon seeing that I was not able to explain myself and defend myself I felt a bit of an injustice. After 40 minutes of threats my other boss came (the one under the big boss) and tried to tell me that I should accept what I have done.

After seeing no issue I agreed that it was my fault and I dully accepted the discipline that was given to me. Here are the discipline measures I faced for taking customers that were late and didn't know that they were friends of big boss

  • I received a blame on paper for not doing my job properly that follows me through job application
  • I had an internal warning of any other misconduct that will get me fired
  • And I had to apologise publicly to the customers I was "rude" to. (However this kind of apology was made several days later when these customers got back at the company, I was interrupted during my work by the boss to come on the floor in front of the restaurant and say "I'm sorry of my misconduct" in front of people and being told that I was rude and that I should learn to behave like a good employee.)

And I went back to work with the misunderstanding and it was torturing me to an extent that I didn't understand at all what was happening and it got me sick at times.

Several weeks later, I understood from my boss, that these particular customers were actually close friends of the big boss. And that because I treated them like any other customers, I was blamed. But nobody told me that before, that they were friends of big boss.

What are the possibilities to get me better or help ?

Thank you for your help.

EDIT

Hope this helps others being bullied by their boss.

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You have been victim of professional bullying.

As the other answers already mentioned it, there was nothing you could do to avoid this. You cannot possibly know if a particular customer is friend with you big boss, and you can't ask customers if you're supposed to give them preferential treatment. Basically, if one of those "special" customers shows up late again, you have no correct course of action, since giving them favorable treatment will most likely have negative consequences on regular customers (and they might complain), and treating them normally again will get you fired.

Should I accept that friends of bosses should have a special treatment when the big boss tells you that if a "poor guy or a minister" walks in with a ticket he shall have the same experience?

You now know this is bogus. Your big boss doesn't actually care.

It doesn't seem like this guy actually wants you to "improve" on anything. He just scolded you because his friends probably complained to him directly, which would explain why he went above your boss for this. He just got angry that his friends complained and lashed out on you because you're the lowest link in the chain. You didn't do anything wrong, but that doesn't prevent the big boss from sanctioning you, because, well, he can.

Is there anything you can do about those situations? No. It will probably happen again sooner than later. And you will probably suffer from it all the same. Do you have to accept this? No. You can leave. That's probably the only thing you can do, and the only correct decision you can make.

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Was it right to be disciplined for treating a customer equal to any other customer?

No, because you had no way of knowing these people weren't just any other customer. Your boss should have told you beforehand that they knew these people and wanted them to be treated differently.

Should I accept that friends of bosses should have a special treatment?

Yeah, if the boss tells you to treat certain customers differently, you do that. It is not your fault if nobody told you to treat them differently and so you don't. You had no way to know; you're not a mind reader.

Should I get to know my customers before accepting them in my session?

Ask your manager, but I doubt you have the time to do that given that the sessions are only 15 minutes and if you ask "Are you friends with the boss?" a lot of people will say "yes", hoping for special treatment. It's your boss' responsibility to tell you which customers to treat differently before you encounter them.

Should I accept this discipline as I was a bad employee and my boss is right?

You'll probably have to accept the discipline, given that you already signed it. But nothing you mention sounds like you being a bad employee, it mostly points towards your boss being an ass.

  • Thank you for your time and your answer. I was scared I did something wrong as some people told me that I should accept to bo disciplined and that I was a bad employee. Although i did accept the disciplined wraning as mentioned in my question – chicken burger Sep 29 '17 at 8:10
  • @chickenburger - You're an excellent employee, working for a bad company. What this incident shoudl tell you (if you've not already worked it out) is that you can do better than them. – Richard Sep 29 '17 at 13:54
  • @Richard thank you very much for your answer. Some people actually told me that Your story demonstrates terrible customer service attitude and you were rightly disciplined for it. i can't find a reason to be so agressive when they don't know the situation – chicken burger Sep 29 '17 at 13:59
  • @chickenburger - Nah. What happened is that you did your job and got yelled at because you didn't magically know that the customers you were hurrying along were friends of your boss. When you work for a company like that, you need to have a good hard look at yourself. If you follow policy, you could get fired. That's just dumb – Richard Sep 29 '17 at 14:01
  • @Richard that's what i thought. But when you need money and you are socially not climbing any ladder within the company I guess you tend to be more naive. – chicken burger Sep 29 '17 at 14:02
4

Yes, your boss is treating you like trash, because he believes you have a trash job that he can get anyone else to do. It's a power trip for him.

You're doing what you can to keep to the schedules and ensure that you get the requisite amount of people in each session and the requisite amount of sessions per working day. The more people you have in those seats, the more the company earns.

Slowing things down affects this revenue.

However, it's a service industry and the customer is always right. Even if they (the customer) screw things up, they take the reputation of your company away with them. So if you treat them well, they tell other people.

But, you need to do your job.

Try to move forwards by learning up front who the preferred customers are (like a special symbol on the ticket for example) and be prepared to hold up the session a little longer to get these people in, even if they're late.

You also need to find out how long you can hold a session up for these special guests. Agree this delay time with your manager, he then can't hold you to account for bumping people who are late.

  • 7
    Note that 'the customer is always right' is not a universally held view. In my culture for instance, if there are rules or regulations, you can either follow them or take your business elsewhere. – Cronax Sep 29 '17 at 8:19

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