Friday, October 21, 2011

Holidays and Customer Service

I do have pictures - just haven't downloaded them out of the camera yet - ummm, Maybe this weekend. 
The Holiday season is fast approaching and if you're anything like me, you'll be doing this, doing that and trying to keep track of everything that you want, need, should get done.  If I could be cloned for just 4 weeks a year, I might actually get everything accomplished that I want, need and should!
So what about customer service???? I've been reading on some blogs lately about poor customer service.  It's out there, we've all experienced it at one time or another.  What do you do about it?  I've done a few different things - You may want to get a cup of your favorite beverage - this could take awhile! 
I want to start by saying that I was a C-store manager for 15 years and that in that time, I found that the customer wasn't always right - but there are usually ways to handle that.  Anyway.....
One year (during the Holidays) I was in a national chain grocery store and had a basket full of groceries.  I was pushing my cart down the aisle after finishing my shopping and lo and behold there was a cashier with only one couple ahead of me.  I looked down the row of cashiers to see if someone with less than me was looking to get in line. Nope, clear sailing.... the cashiers weren't busy at all.  So I unloaded my groceries onto the belt as the cashier finished with the couple ahead of me.  She watched as I unloaded my cart and then said, " this is the express lane - 15 items or less" ... Excuse me!  why did she wait until I unloaded my cart?????  I looked up saw the sign began to apologize and take my items off the belt and return them to my cart when it hit me.... there was no one behind me in line, the store was not busy, the only person I may have been inconveniencing was the cashier herself.  Instant anger.  I walked out of that store leaving everything behind.  After I got home (which was a 30 minute drive), I called the store and asked to speak to their manager.  I told him I'd left and that I wanted to apologize for whoever had to restock those groceries, at which time he told me it was him.  I explained what happened and told him that if I'd been thinking more clearly I would have had the cashier ring out only 15 items at a time and paid for them that way - then she'd have understood inconvenience!  He thanked me for the apology and in turn apologized for the behavior of the cashier as it was not something that should have happened - he also asked that if I ever had an issue in the store again, to please contact managment before leaving the store - well it was probably 5 years or more before I ever shopped that store again.  Moral of story - talk to management when you're unhappy with the service provided.
Another time - and this was before above said incident.... I was in one of the 'big box' home improvement stores.  It was early.  DH and I were working on a project that we wanted to finish that day, so we hit the store as it opened.  Another case of coming down the aisle and having a cashier open!  I pushed the cart to the open cashier who was on the phone.  Didn't think anything of it until she continued her conversation which was obviously a personal call about a party she had attended the night before - before I left I knew who drank what and who did who!  But..... she scanned all my items, pointed at the display to the total, I wrote my check and handed it to her and stood there.  She dropped the phone back a bit and said, "Oh, that's all"  I walked away, stopped and told my DH to please take the stuff to the truck.  He looked at me and said, "oh, you're not, are you?"  and I said, "oh yes, I am!"  He thought I was going to rip her a new one - and if she'd been my employee, I would have!  Instead I went to the customer service desk and asked for a manger.  They asked if they could help me, I told them "yes, you can get me your store manager"  I guess they decided I meant business and called him to the front.   I explained to him what happened and proceeded to tell him that I'm sure she was probably a very good cashier but her treatment was inexcusable and because I managed 9 cashiers that if something like that had happened in my store, I'd want to know about it.  He thanked me and I noticed when DH & I were  driving out of the parking lot, the manager had the cashier outside talking to her. 
Okay, so again the moral is - talk to management.  I would never want someone to lose their job, but if they aren't protecting their jobs, well maybe they don't need them!  But seriously, if you have an issue as to how you've been treated, the only people who know are you and the person who treated you that way.  Management can not correct an issue they do not know about - and yes, I agree, sometimes management IS the issue.  If that's the case, and this is a chain type store - contact their corporate office.  Maybe if people started sharing their experiences with those who can correct the issues, things would improve.
And one last story (sorry),  I was in a hobby/craft store - it was really busy, the holidays again and the store was packed, every register was open and the lines were long.  I was thanking God that it wasnt' me working!  The customer ahead of me was giving this young cashier hell about them not having something in the store.  This cashier was offering to call a manager, she was apologizing, she was doing everything RIGHT to try and please this customer.  Nothing would have made that customer happy - NOTHING!  The customer snapped up her package and said "well, I won't be back here again"  My darling son (10 years old at the time) very loudly said, "well she was rude!"  This poor cashier was close to tears.  I looked at her, told her to take a deep breath and to thank God that not all customers were like that.  So moral here?  When you're feeling rushed and irritated during the upcoming holidays - remember you're not the only one!  You will get out of that store, go home and hopefully be able to put your feet up for a few minutes but those cashiers will put up with cranky customers and have sore feet - smile and try to be patient!
If you've made it this far - thank you and even though it's early - Happy Holidays! 


1 comment:

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Been to Target lately?? ;))