Friday, February 4, 2011

Good customers get good service

Everyone seems to be saying it these days, you have to search far and wide to find a place that offers customer service.  Not good service, oh no no no, we're talking about any form of service full stop. 

I've worked in retail for most of my working life - apart from a couple of years working for the government (phew....the office politics....get me outta there!) - and I can tell you that as a customer, you get what you deserve.  Literally.

Now I like to think I give good customer service.  I smile.  I greet you when you enter my store.  I'll even ask how your day is.  And I'll mean it.  All I ask in return is that you smile back, respond politely and actually ANSWER me.  Not too hard, surely.

I've had my fair share of rude and nasty customers and what they don't understand is that you catch more flies with honey.  Eventually they will want something from me - to buy something, to have it wrapped, to have a nice bag to carry it in - how much of that they will get will depend on how nice they are to me from the outset.  Terrible of me?  More flies with honey....

Just the other day I had a nasty old woman (see how my perception has changed?  When she first entered the store, she was just a woman) come in to exchange a piece of clothing that she had bought on sale the day before but that she didn't try on to make sure it fitted.  So she came back in to get her money back cos she didn't like it.  But she wasn't nice about it.

She came in, I said hello and asked her how I could help her.

'I want my money back.  This dress isn't what I want.'  Ohhh-kay.  So we're going to be like that about it.

'I want my money back.  By law you have to give me my money back'.  Uh, no I don't. 

As per the LARGE SIGN on the counter (which she made a point of reading before even starting her tantrum), we don't offer refunds on items that are not faulty blah-blah-blah or because you change your per the Office of Fair Trading regulations blah-blah-blah. 

Thirty minutes this went on for.  Her telling me I was wrong and that she had worked in retail for 30 years and the customer was always right and I had to give her her money back, then me telling her no.  At one point I even pulled out the phone book and gave her the telephone number and address of the OFT for her to ring and confirm what I was saying was correct.  Bitchy, no?

Anyway, long story short.  She left.  With the dress.  And no refund.

What she didn't realise is that if she had have been nice when she came in and not been so intent on attacking me, the shop, the product, I most likely would have given her a store credit.

But I didn't.  Because she was a bitch about it.  And I had the power.

So the moral to the story, never forget that the person behind the counter has all the power.  It serves you well not to piss them off before you get what you want.

Likewise, don't call your hairdresser a bitch before he cuts your hair or tell your chef she can't cook before you get your meal. 

More fool you if you do.

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