Customer Service

Nov 19 2013 009

Interesting concept: assisting people in the commission of a purchase. Sounds easy enough. But, oh, so not in my world!

Faux Pas #1

Talking on the phone while a customer is waiting.

I was in the mood for a pair of shoes. I was in a large mall so I nipped into a shoe store that is quite well-known. The sales clerk was on the phone so I bided my time waiting for her to finish her conversation. There were some nice shoes that I was interested in purchasing. Her conversation seemed to be lasting a long time. She knew I was in the store because when I came in she glanced over and we made eye contact. I moved close enough to hear her side of the conversation and it was a beaut. The chewing of the gum was a bit of a distraction but here’s how the conversation went:

”Are you kidding me! He said that?”

”Gawd! You should have seen what she was wearing!”

“No I’m working! Gawd! It’s so boring!”

I was mesmerized. This young woman was probably in her 20s dressed all in black, chewing gum like she was drowning in water. Have you ever seen hippos when they’re eating? It paints a picture doesn’t it? I could hear her jaws working from 20 feet . Smack! Smack! Smack! The problem was I really wanted to look at those shoes . . .

After a few more minutes of this . . . spectacle, I made my presence known. I politely said “Excuse me” and waited for her to acknowledge me between gob smack’s. She quickly turned around and gave me the finger. No, No! She gave me the universal sign for ‘wait a minute’ the index finger firmly placed upright. Say what? This is a shop that sells shoes! You bloody well get off the damn phone and assist! Okay I didn’t say out loud but I thought it very firmly!

This young woman pointedly turned her back on me and continued her irrelevant conversation. I was not amused.

I quite loudly pointed out that she had just lost a sale and I would ensure that I never came back. I then did what disgruntled customers have been doing for generations: I left.

Unfortunately this is not as uncommon a situation as it once was. When I was a child, customer service meant something. When you walked into a store it was assumed you were a customer and were treated well. I live in the downtown area of a large town. The shops around me understand the need for good customer service and people are treated accordingly. I guess I’ve been spoiled because now I expect that treatment. How sad that it is not taught to our children.

Young people now seem to think they are entitled to a job so they don’t have to work at it. Customer service seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs and that saddens me. This simple activity of going out to buy a pair shoes should be fun, not annoying. And yet I find more and more I’m doing what shopping I can online because of the poor customer service that now seems to be the norm. Shops complain that they can’t stay in business because of online shopping and yet they don’t do anything to correct problem that’s forcing their customers to go online. We have a conundrum. We’re losing good manners, common sense and common decency. What do we have left?

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19 thoughts on “Customer Service

  1. Mark Lanesbury

    Each generation looks back and says it is getting worse Pam, the attitudes…and dare I say it, what actually has meaning for this younger generation coming through. All I can feel is the self worth is becoming lower and lower. But where does that lead to…I can only feel this self perpetuating negativity. And all that will do is attract a balance because life has become so lopsided…and in that correction will be change…a very large one, like a war or catastrophe. It is the only thing that can bring back that little thing called hope…and a true love built on that self love and the appreciation in finding it, that is so sorely missing 😀

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  2. barbtaub

    “What do we have left?” We have the most powerful communication tool ever invented–the internet. And if you happen to send a message to the corporate office of that shoe store, mentioning that you fully intend to let people know about your experience, I guarantee you will get a response.

    Recently, I wrote a letter to the president of the largest grocery chain in the UK, complaining about a ridiculous charge. I received a letter back almost immediately, which not only contained an apology and a refund, but also a promise to look into that policy as well.

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    1. quiall Post author

      I agree the internet is a powerful tool but it also the thing that is isolating us and that is so very sad. I don’t know why I never complained to the management, I usually do. I may have been distracted by a really good day after that. I did buy new shoes!

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  3. scifihammy

    Your shopping experience is exactly what I get as well. It’s like they are doing you a favour by even noticing your presence, yet you are the customer wanting to purchase their goods. Today’s addiction to cell phones and all forms of social media certainly does not help youngsters develop those much needed social skills when actually face to face with another human being.
    I hope you found a lovely pair of shoes – online! 🙂

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  4. Dan Antion

    The stores that are going out of business around us are/we’re the worst when it came to customer service. Yet, a small family owned hardware store, where they greet you with a welcoming conversation, is going well. Real stores have an advantage, but they have to work hard to show it.

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  5. Sunshine Jansen

    I’m seeing a major uptick in articles about the Age of Rudeness, basically saying that people of a certain age don’t perceive rudeness in others, so they aren’t aware of perpetrating it; I know a few parents who could be held responsible for this… For my part, customer service is a huge part of my job so I just content myself with being good enough at it to amaze my clients (many of them are really easily impressed) and hopefully inspire a little “pay it forward”. I know, I’m an incurable optimist. 🙂
    Oh, and I laughed so hard at her giving you “the finger”!

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  6. quiall Post author

    What once was common is now considered special! I am glad you are continuing the legacy. I believe in the ‘snowball effect’. Good manners may make a comeback!

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  7. russtowne

    I’ve experienced similar customer disservice and felt many of the same feelings. “What do we have left?” Well-managed shops who hire and train people who haven’t lost those attributes. Their competition is self-destructing with such poor customer service. This begins to be a self-correcting problem when jobs become especially scarce. Until then, I spend my money where the service is best.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. Maggie Wilson

    Even if it’s been some time since the event, I’d be letting head office know – I’d also share the name of the chain. It’s the only power we have in this equation, apart from what you did – to go and spend your money at the competition!

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