Recently I was reminded of the importance of customer service training.
At my local home improvement store (name withheld to protect…hm, the guilty?), I stood at the Customer Service Desk, patiently waiting my turn to inquire about a product exchange. I noticed that there were three employees behind the counter, so thought this would be a quick trip.
When I got to the counter, the first employee said, “I have to do a visual check, so make it quick.” I wondered if she was talking to me, The Customer, so I turned around to see who was behind me. Not a soul. Slightly irritated, I began to explain what I wanted. She stopped me mid-sentence, saying she wasn’t a manager and didn’t have the “power or the time” to help me, that she would call someone who could. You don’t have the time to help me? Isn’t this the Service Desk?
The second employee was a rather sweaty gentleman who looked exhausted. His clothing looked slept-in, his hair was disheveled, and his eyes darted nervously. When he approached, I greeted him and asked about his day. He looked at me, looked at his watch, and “I’m real busy, what can I do for you?” Busy?! Busy doing what, sweating profusely? Again, I began to explain what I wanted. This time I got to the second sentence before he stopped me by saying, “I don’t know anything about that, you’re going to have to talk to a manager.” And then…silence. He stopped talking. he didn’t reach for a phone or walkie-talkie or anything to actually CALL a manager. He just stood there looking at me, with those nervous eyes. I had to literally ASK him to call a manager for me. At my request, he sighed heavily, rolled his eyes, and reluctantly picked up a receiver.
At this point, my blood is boiling.
My mind is racing with all the comments I will make to the manager about the poor level of service…until the manager walks up, red-faced, and says “What do you want?!” to the sweaty man behind the desk–who then does not SPEAK, but instead POINTS his finger at me, as if to tell the manager not to yell at him, but me instead! Now I’m beyond furious.
The manager offers a obligatory apology, then asks “What’s up? What did they call me for? I’m kinda busy.”
My previous speech is out the window now, because I can see where his employees get their mannerisms towards customers from. If he talks to me like this, it’s no wonder the employees are such poor communicators.
Long story short, instead of exchanging the product as I intended, I just got a refund and took my business elsewhere. Plus, the other store not only beat the price I had paid, but had a better product to boot!
There is no law that states I have to give my hard earned money to people who don’t earn my loyalty as a customer. Something as simple as a correct greeting could have not only solved my problem, but retained a life-time customer.
A little customer service training goes a long way! –N.