Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Tag: customer service

Customer Service Fail

This isn’t the post I’d planned for this morning. That one would come later. This is a rant. I spent too many years working jobs where I had to deal with the public on a regular basis. I understood when I did that I represented not only myself but my employer. So, no matter how bad my day might have been, I did my best to show a good face to the customers. That’ why my experience with one of the local grocery stores this morning hits my hot buttons. Not only was the clerk less than helpful — we won’t even discuss cordial, etc. — but the store manage had completely fallen down on the job and no one working seemed to care one bit.

A little background. I made a quick run to the store to pick up coffee — cooooffffeeeee — and get some cash. It was approaching 0730 when I arrived. The first indication I should have had that this was not a smart move was when the doors that should have been unlocked half an hour earlier hadn’t been. Okay. No sweat. I could walk the short distance to the other set of doors.

It didn’t take long to find coffee that didn’t completely suck (yes, yes, I’m a coffee snob. There’s a reason I order Death Wish coffee each month). So I made my way to the only shopping lane that had an actual human to check out customers. That should have been my second clue. This store, which is located within a mile of several schools and has heavy early morning traffic because of it, was understaffed.

On a side note, it was also under-stocked. But that is nothing new. And then they wonder why people aren’t shopping there as much as they used to.

Anyway . . .

I finally get to the checker, hand over my coffee, my discount card as a “valued customer” and slide my credit card. Simple enough. Then, because I needed some cash, I hit the cash back option. And I wait. And wait. And wait.

Then the oh-so-bored cashier informs me she doesn’t have any cash.

Wait? what?

You’re running a till and you don’t have cash?

Well, not exactly but she only has a few dollars in the till. She might be able to give me my change but it would all be in ones and fives. Did she offer to give it to me? Hell no. Instead, when I continued to stare at her, dumbfounded and kicking myself for not going to the other store in the area that’s only slightly further from home, she finally calls to see if anyone has any cash.

Now, there were four self checkout lanes open as well. I was told after being insulted by the way she referred to me on the phone with her co-worker that I needed to go to one of those lanes and I would be shown the one that had cash. I asked if she had canceled the transaction and she actually did an eye roll at me and did everything but go “Duh!”. (And yes, I did check my account before leaving the store to make sure it had been canceled.)

So, muttering imprecations, I crossed to the far end of the store where the self-checkout lanes are located. Then I asked the checker stationed there to “help” which register I should use so I could get cash back. Mind you, this is the same person the original checker spoke to. I think you can imagine my reaction when I was told I’d just have to pick one and see because she didn’t know.

Yes, I made a comment about being unprepared for the business day and having less than stellar customer service. Worse, I needed a specific amount of money for something today and couldn’t request that amount because the self checkout lanes let you choose in increments of $20. So, I left with $10 more than I needed and also had the need to break a $20 so I had the exact amount for the yard guy. Which meant stopping somewhere else to get change.

Needless to say, I’m not a happy camper. The only reason I’d been going to this store the last month or two has been for its butcher block. But they aren’t keeping it stocked and its prices are far above any other store now. After today, I doubt I’ll be back in. What store opens without having cash in the cash drawers? What store opens without having its shelves stocked? Here’s a hint for grocery stores everywhere. You customers don’t want to have to trip over stockers during the middle of the day — and yes, this has happened more than once in this store — in order to pick up a loaf of bread or cat food or whatever.

Now I’m home and have a fresh cup of coffee and ready to settle down for work. As for the neighborhood store, it lost a customer this morning. I can forgive a bad customer service once. Sometimes even twice. But when it becomes clear this is a trend the store management isn’t putting an end to, it is time to say “bye” and move on. Fortunately, there are two other major grocery stores within 2 miles of my house and two smaller stores within 4 miles. Giving this one up will not be any sort of hardship, something the managers would do good to remember.

Service Complaint

Saturday I made one of the treks I never look forward to. I ventured into the wilds of a couple of furniture stores in hunt of the elusive sofa and chairs for the living room. Those who know me best know I hate shopping. No, hate is too mild a word. Shopping is torture for me. If you want to punish me for something, insist I go with you to the mall, especially if it is during a major sale. Crowds, pushy salespeople, noise. I hate them all.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the thought of having to go to furniture stores did not fill me with joy.

But I’d promised my mother I’d go and so I pulled up my big girl panties and off we went. I should have stayed home.

One of the nice things about living in the DFW area is there are a number of places we could choose from. Since I limited the number of places I’d go schlepping around in Saturday, we chose Weir’s in Southlake and Stacy’s in Grapevine. Both stores have large selections to choose from and we have successfully found what we’ve wanted in both of them before. Better yet, I knew we would have good customer service at both of them and that always eases some of my frustration.

Now, I’ll admit I didn’t dress up in my Sunday finest. However, I was in a pair of new black jeans and a black t-shirt advertising one of the local libraries. Mom, being Mom, was dressed a bit more formally than was I. Nothing out of the usual for a Saturday morning.

Or so I thought until we got to Weir’s. As expected, when we entered, a salesman entered and asked if he could help us. Mom explained what she was looking for and that’s when the salesman, I’ll call him John (not his name) looked at my t-shirt and commented on it. The front of the shirt, all he could see at the time, asks “What do you geek?”. The back has the library’s name on it. When I told John what library it was promoting, it was as if his entire attitude changed. Without asking what price point we were interested in, he immediately took us to the lower end. He waved at a mid-range sofa as if we wouldn’t be interested in it and then proceeded on to show us a sofa that cost less than the last chairs we bought did individually more than ten years ago. He locked in on that sofa for us and never varied. Needless to say, we left without buying a sofa, much less buying a sofa and two reading chairs like we planned.

And why? Because he made a judgment based on where a library I support was located. What frustrates me is I know I could have gone into the original Weir’s in Dallas, dressed in shorts, flipflops and wearing the same t-shirt and would have had the salesperson helping us asking not only what piece of furniture we were interested in but how much we wanted to spend, etc.

So, off we went to Stacy’s. Now, I’ll admit this isn’t my favorite store. Why? Because every time I’ve been in, I’ve had to all but beat the salespeople off with a stick. Not this time. Nope, not at all. There were maybe a dozen customers in the store. There were at least that many employees that I saw: some were obviously salespersons and others were checking the displays, dusting, etc. But, in the more than half an hour we were there, not once did anyone come up and ask if we were looking for anything special. Worse, we weren’t the only customers being ignored. With the exception of one customer, everyone was being left to wander around on their own and try to figure out if they saw anything they were interested in.

Now, normally that wouldn’t bother me as much as it did. Here’s the thing, when you are in the sales industry and you walk past a customer, you at least make eye contact and nod or greet them. One salesman walked by me twice, never making eye contact, never asking if we were finding what we needed, nothing. Two others sat at a sales desk, not only ignoring the eight (I counted them) customers in their area, but laughing and joking together. Another two — saleswomen this time — literally turned their backs and moved out of one of the showrooms when Mom and I, as well as two other potential customers walked in.

I guess I don’t have to tell you that I was not a happy camper.

The sad thing about both situations is we were ready to buy, if someone could have helped us find chairs we were interested in. We found a sofa. We needed chairs to go with it. Instead of making three sales — or more — Stacy’s made none that day. Perhaps it was an anomaly. Mom and one of her friends had been in that same store a month or so ago, this time during the work week, and they received the sort of customer care we had come to expect the previous times we’ve shopped there.

Instead of making commissions, the staff at Stacy’s will soon realize that corporate will be receiving an email detailing what did NOT happen while we were there Saturday. As for Weirs, at least the guy tried to help, even if he made a judgment call that cost him a commission. Next weekend, we’ll head into Dallas to the main store. I like it better anyway. But it will be a cold day in Hell before I return to Stacy’s, at least on a weekend.

Moral of the story: if you work in sales, it is your job to make contact with the customer and see if you can be of assistance. It is not the job of the customer to chase you down.

//end rant.

 

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