Helping Your Customer - and See You Next Time!
It May Not Be Dead But It's Tipped Over
It Depends on the Clerk
Most of the time, the Customer Service department is very efficient in handling complaints. That is what they do. Handle complaints, returns, exchanges. This is good for customers who return things in a saleable condition.
Garage Sale Customer Service
It was years ago, and my daughter and I went garage sale-ing. We stopped in a neighborhood in an upper eschelon environment and the woman there talked to us while we scanned her stuff. My daughter was shopping for school clothes and was particularly interested in brand name t-shirts. [You know what I'm talking about, like Aeropostale and Eagle and Old Navy]
Well, the woman at the garage sale thought for a moment and she said, "Brand name??? What do you mean, like BVD??? Which was, to her, a brand name... but not quite on the same page as my daughter.
On the Same Note
The next sale we went to next door to that garage sale, was an elderly woman who had an armload of plastic bags from the local grocery store. I'm quite certain they were some that she had just on hand. She was walking from customer to customer and shouting "BAG???" at each person.
The Bigger Stores
I have bought things online that required pick up at the main store. That works out just fine. Although the one purchase that I had wasn't quite correct and I went to customer service and encountered a sign. Closed. Go to Register 9. So, I walked to Register 9. The man behind the counter was nervous and didn't want to attempt a return.
Then, a manager was summoned. She acted angry and told me to follow her back to Customer Service, which I did.
She verbally attacked the Customer Service clerk and then, waved a hand behind her back at me and said, "It's open again" and walked off.
The Customer Service representative returned my money to me, but the problem was I needed advice from the Electronics department.
At this point, I was frustrated by the original manager who was so rude and decided to confront her on her rudeness. She insisted that she hadn't been rude, but then offered her assistance like I was really bothering her. She brought me back to customer service and demanded that the Service Representative hand us the electronic device.
Then, the two of us walked back to Electronics. She got me a sales clerk from the electronics department and he took over with the Customer Service event. He got my troubles all straightened out and I went home.
It's a Moot point
When a customer goes to customer service and is treated like a problem, whether it be for a return, or for whatever reason, the whole point of customer service goes out the window. A customer service and/or manager representing the face of the company, should not be treating the customers in an intimidating fashion.
There should be some discussion, but there should be no embarrassment. It's bad enough for the customer to come in in the first place. It's just as bad to have to to deal with managers who are more interested in standing around and talking about sports or tupperware than helping manage store inventory.
Defining Customer Service
You want your customer to feel good about your store. You want them to return and spend the rest of their paycheck on your inventory. If there is an item that fails enough that the person returns it, then there should be an investigation on why the item fails. Are other customers experiencing the same?
Or, is the manager correct in assuming that they should be managing their store help like they are not people but a bunch of slave labor. The whole attitude with the store manager that day was that I was a problem. The customer service was a problem and the problem was that the item wasn't what I needed. Nor did I know what I needed.
But, customer service involves the store getting involved with learning my needs.
Customer Service Used to Be
Customer service used to be different. Let's use an old example. Imagine you've walked into a large department store and you want a pair of shoes.
It used to be that you'd walk in, you'd get a greeting and the store clerk would talk to you about your day and they would ask you what type of shoes you were looking for. They'd measure your feet. They'd go get the shoes in your size. They'd help you try them on. They'd poke around and tell you if they fit well or if they thought the shoes would feel better in the next size.
They were helpful.
Now, you go to a store. You look at all the shoe choices. There is no one there at that moment to help you. Granted, you can find someone by walking to a different department. Sometimes the person knows something about the shoes in the department. Sometimes not.
There are shoe stores that you walk in, and the entire team helps. One finds the shoes. One talks to you about your choices. One helps you with your checkout. They all seem to work together and they are all on radio and can quickly communicate with each other. Sometimes that works out, sometimes it does not.
Sometimes one salesperson talks to you and leaves and another one takes their place. There are different people who have different sales approaches. Sometimes the first person has helped, but the second salesperson in the team has approached and the customer has some questions. Or is unaware of their comfort level.
The last time I shopped for shoes, my feet were suffering from the beginnings of Plantar Fascitis, and my muscles in my calves were sore.
They Were All Helpful
Each sales person was helpful in their own particular fashion. I asked for a second pair just like the first pair that I tried on that fit very well. I had the last pair. I didn't want to pay for the next generation shoe, so I left the store determined to find an equitable shoe at another shoe store in the same mall.
I went and looked at some other types of sneakers. Some had memory foam and felt pretty cushy to the touch. Some people like them, some people don't. I have discovered that the people who have them, have different opinions. The memory foam does conform to your feet, but then the foam stays flattened out. Sometimes that isn't such a great thing. That could be the indication that it is time to get a new pair.
They say shoes last about three months and they are ready for the trash.
I did return to the outlet store a week later and found a lesser soled shoe that has been working okay. Sometimes the extra fluff feels good and sometimes the feet are sore and don't want extra comfort.
Sometimes you just need a bucket of hot water to soak the pain away.
I personally have a walking job and most of the people who wear fit bits on their person, claim that they've got 12,000 or better steps on the monitor before they go home.
The Dead Horse
There was a salesman who had a horse that he was selling chances to win it. For a dollar, you could get a raffle ticket and get a chance to win it.
Well, he sold an excessive amount of tickets and then, on the day of the drawing, found the lucky ticket winner and brought him the horse on a trailer.
The horse, had died that morning and the Winner looked at the horse and said, "But, sir, that horse is a dead horse!"
The salesman looked at the horse and looked at the winner and said, "Oh, well, here's your dollar back".
To the best of my knowledge, none of the other people were any the wiser, they just knew that they had NOT won, and the guy who did win, got his dollar back for his entry fee. No horse, no deal. [And, he was probably relieved to get his dollar back and didn't push for a fresh horse..]
and of course, that darn raffle seller, took home the excessive amount of money that he had collected from the other entrants.
I'm Not Going to Joke About This
Bad customer service is quite serious. When your customer service is inadequate, you run the risk of losing future sales. Repetition in sales is key for success in your business and a sour taste in the mouth of a customer from mistreatment is not a good thing.