Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Chapter 57: "Hi, Can I Help?"

Customer Service... an ongoing topic of discussion that many feel strongly about. I am one of them. Having worked in retail for about 6 years of my life, I learnt that manners cost nothing. People love it when you are polite and helpful because at the end of the day, that's the line of work you're in. You're NOT allowed to let feelings outside of work intervene with your day. If you are pissy because you've had an argument with someone, don't let them feelings reflect in your work. Customers will notice, not come back to you, not come back to the store, you will lose custom and this vicious cycle goes on. But talking from experience this is hard to do... When I returned back to work after having time off for a bit, the following happened:

Me: "Hi, you alright there?"
Customer: "Yes I want to pay off my store card but I'd also like to make a return and pay for these."
Me: "Okay which would you like to do first?"
Customer: "Whichever."
Me: "Okay I'll do the card first and then the return." (I do the card and then the return. Turn away for a second to hang the return up but my friend tells me something and I giggle. I then turn to the customer).
Customer: "DID YOU JUST CALL ME A BASTARD?!"
Me: "Pardon?"
Customer: "DID YOU JUST CALL ME A BASTARD?!"
Me: "I'm sorry but I swear I didn't! Bastard isn't even in my vocabulary!"
Customer: "DID SHE JUST CALL ME A BASTARD?!" (Asking my friend who made me laugh).
Friend: "No pet she didn't I swear!" (He's Geordie).
Customer: Just let me pay for my items.
Me: "That's £XX.XX"
Customer: (Hands card over).
Me: I'm sorry you can't use your store card because you have just paid it off and that will take a few days to clear."
Customer: "WHAT?!"
Me: "I'm really sorry do you have any other means of payment?"
Customer: (Ranting very loudly, in the end pays using cash. After the transaction is complete, I run off crying.)

You see... I KNOW it's hard not to show feelings at work. However, I'm going to be brutally honest... you don't have a care for customer service, what the HELL are you doing in it? Retail was NOT my career, so I got out of it. It was merely a stepping stone whilst I finished uni and focussed on what I really wanted to do. But I can tell you this, I ALWAYS went that extra mile. I figured, this is my work for the time being, I might as well make the most of it.

I'm going to go through two scenarios that myself and my family have gone through this week:

  1. My Dad, Sister and Brother-in-Law went to Wembley for the Community Shield to watch the mighty Arsenal! We all had such an amazing day and of course, it was made better by Arsenal beating Man City 3-0. After our lovely day, we hit the motorway with our belly's empty and our mind's on some lush pub grub. My Brother-in-Law drives past this pub every day on the way to work and he thought it looked nice, so we went there. My Dad wasn't feeling 100% and we put it down to the fact we were all tired and quite hungry. So we chose our food and drinks and ordered straight away - 4 drinks, a sharing platter and 4 mains. The woman who we ordered the food from was NOT paying attention and looked quite scatty. All in all, she was extremely rude! We ordered this at 19.45. Time was ticking and I was getting more agitated - where the feck was our starter?! I was thinking if the starter is taking THIS long, how long will the main's take? We got a waitresses attention and she went in the kitchen to check. She said it would take less than 5 minutes (it was pretty clear from her flustered look that the order hadn't even been processed). 10 minutes later... still no starter. A different waitress finally came over with our starter. We told her the situation and sort of, vented if you will. However she was very nice and honest and went out back to check to see how long our mains would take. She returned with a sheepish look on her face... "Well, it's not good news. Basically we don't have any Italian Chicken" - this was my Sister's order. My Sister's face was not impressed. The waitress then said, "If I were you I would eat your Starter, get your money back and leave." Let's face it, she could have lied to us and said it wouldn't be long, but she was honest and we respected that. However she didn't explain the situation to her manager so I had to explain it ALL over again. When I did, she said I could only have a refund for the 4 main meals I never received. So basically I still paid half of the total for the absolutely atrocious service. So... I have sent an email of complaint, explaining I want the full refund and if not I will be exploiting them in this weeks blog. Unfortunately, they haven't replied on time... so I've gone ahead anyway.
  2. My Sister popped to a Salon in West Bromwich yesterday to purchase some GHD's. We were discussing how you can't really get much better than these straighteners and so naturally, we NEED them in our lives. So she popped into the salon and this is how the conversation went:
Esther: "Hi, I was just wondering if you have any GHD's for sale?
Girl: "Err yeah we do just hold on a sec..." (Girl goes to interrupt Manager cutting hair)
Manager AKA Moody Asshole: "Alright."
Esther: "Yeah hi, I was just wondering what GHD' s you have for sale?"
Moody Asshole: "We have a few what ones are you after?"
Esther: "Well what are the differences?"
Moody asshole: "Look I don't really have time to go through it now 'cause I'm cutting my sons hair."
Esther: (Completely bewildered because a) she's never been to the salon before and is willing to buy £100+ straighteners b) he should not have this attitude with her because of this and c) he's cutting his SON'S hair, not JLo's) "Okay I'll just have the black ones then."

I will NEVER understand why this sort of attitude is necessary. But the whole thing for me, is how to approach a bad situation like the ones I listed above. Before the waitress came over and was really polite, I was ready to let loose on the woman who took my order. Had the nice girl behind the till at the Hairdressers not been there, Esther might have spoken her mind about the way the manager spoke to her, or even just walked out and gone elsewhere, but she wanted them then and there, just like I wanted my food then and there and after I had my partial refund I wanted to get out as fast as I could.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, we always think about the maybe's and the what if's and the coulda/shoulda's. When I was in New York, I had this picture done:


I was so excited because my Nephew loves each of these characters and I thought, I just HAVE to get a picture. Katie was trying to get my attention before because she knew what was coming... Next thing I knew, the feckers were asking for $5 each! I had to pay it and Katie put in too as she felt bad (and also 'cause I dragged her into a pic). But later on that night whilst in the interval for Wicked I said to Katie, "Katie, I've got to go hunt them fuckers down in Times Square tomorrow and get my money back, they basically robbed me." She looked at me as if to say, "You serious?" I was deadly serious. She said not to worry and we all learn from these things and what's done is done. 

We all look back and think of the things like this and think of the best scenario's in our head, but it's true, we live and learn. What I do know is, NO ONE should settle for poor customer service.

I KNOW you've all had bad customer service in your lives, please enlighten me and join in on the convo. See if maybe we can get #badcustomerservice trending on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter. Contact me on the back of here, my Facebook page or tweet me @triciabaxter.

Remember, when times get rough at work, Dolly knows how you're feeling.

I'd also like to take a moment to remember the late and great man that is Robin Williams. Such terrible news of a man with talents that touched the lives of everyone from Hook, to Good Will Hunting. Here's one of my favourite scenes with him I'd like to share. Something my Mammy pointed out to me once is in this scene; the reason why I love and relate to it so much. RIP, Robin.

Thanks for reading guys.
Peace & Love.
T.x

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