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Customer service rant but not what you expect.

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Posted · Report post

I put this up on one of the other forums, so if you have already seen it, I am sorry, but I would like to put this out for all who go to retail establishment(and that should be all of us) to see. It is really the view from the other side.

I was reading through a number of old posts and something struck me. How often people blame poor customer service for something. I have worked in many jobs that require direct contact with customers for a very long time and I am always astonished by how rude, stupid and condescending customers can be and how often you hear the comment, "if I owned this company,.......". Let me lay out a little advice.

Rule #1 Just because the person behind the counter works in retail doesn't mean that they are stupid, uneducated, in a lower social class or beneath you. If you treat them that way, they are very disinclined to assist you, and may just choose to do something to teach you a lesson that you justly deserve.

One of my best days in retail was a day when a lady came in to buy appliances and was loaded with bling. She was very snooty about how she and her husband had just bought a new home and talking about how “upscale” the house was. After she decided on her purchases, I was ringing her up and when we got to the address, I recognized that she had purchase the same model and just down the street for where my wife and I had bought a house six months before. When I welcomed her to the neighborhood it was a complete thrill to watch her deflate. One of the great moments of retail.

Rule # 2 If you come in expecting and looking for a fight you will most likely get one and that is about all. A customer that has a ligitement complaint and is polite and considerate of the clerk is much more likely to get what they want and more. A rude customer will likely get the minimum or less and may even walk out empty handed.

Rule # 3 Don't do something stupid. The sales people will laugh at you after you leave. Example: Pay attention to what is being said - "Can I help you?" ---"No, but I have a question." Frigin really! I will run out and find the nonhelping questions person!

"Do you work here?" Heck no, I always wear this stupid shirt with the company name on it and have this lanyard embossed with company name on it around my neck and the company ID tag on it and the company hat and hang out around here just to annoy idiots like you.

You didn't buy it here, do you think I am stupid enough to let you return it here. See rule #1

Rule # 4 - If you have to tell someone you are a good customer, you probably are not. Just because you have been there before doesn't make you a good customer. A good customer is someone who knows the business and the sales people, who comes in frequently, and drops by to look at what is new. They also know what kind of product they sell. Don't look for bagels in a donut shop! Most importantly, this place of business is their first stop when they go looking for something. And last - they spend money there.

One final bit. Almost without exception - the person who you are talking to isn't the owner and they don't make the rules. Chances are breaking the rules will cost them their job. Keep that in mind before you start the "If I owned this business..." rant. They don't own it either so get off that horse. It ain't going anywhere.

The best way to get good customer service is to be a good customer. Leave the belligerence at home.

OK, I'm off the soap box.

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Posted · Report post

One of my best days in retail was a day when a lady came in to buy appliances and was loaded with bling. She was very snooty about how she and her husband had just bought a new home and talking about how “upscale” the house was. After she decided on her purchases, I was ringing her up and when we got to the address, I recognized that she had purchase the same model and just down the street for where my wife and I had bought a house six months before. When I welcomed her to the neighborhood it was a complete thrill to watch her deflate. One of the great moments of retail.

White goods for the whole house: About $2500.

Putting miserable PIA customers exactly where they belong: Priceless.

Charlie Larkin

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Posted · Report post

Very well said.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Sorry if it's my money i will have it my way.

If i get a snooty sales person i tell them to hold that thought.

I then find a manager and tell him my problem and then let

him know the sales persons name. And we go from there.

And take a guess how far those complaints go?, about as far as you can throw the person.

Edited by martinfan5

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Sorry if it's my money i will have it my way.

If i get a snooty sales person i tell them to hold that thought.

I then find a manager and tell him my problem and then let

him know the sales persons name. And we go from there.

Generally if a store employee gets "snooty" with a customer, it's usually being returned to said customer who has been dishing it out ad nausium from the time they walked in the door. People forget respect is two way street and if you treat somebody like trash, don't be surprised if there aren't rose petals from them everytime you walk in the door.

BTW, Yoda (Noel) turned me on to this comic strip, had plenty of been there, done that's between my sister, mom, and myself between all of us working retail and my sister's library job too.

http://www.retailcomic.com/?p=3551

Edited by Joe Handley

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Posted · Report post

this is awesome. i can only wish the the customers that come into where i work would think like this.

i had this guy come in looking for a part that we use to stock. we haven't sold any in several years, so now we dont stock it. i told him that and he still had the nerve to come behind the counter and look for himself saying "maybe you dont see it??" i told him, "yeah well, i've only been working here for 7 1/2 years now...what would i know what i have in stock, right??"

i have been yelled at, cursed out and have to deal with racist people at times as well. i have never been a jerk to any type of retail person and i wont start now, but the ones i really can stand dealing with are the rude dumb parts counter guys/girls at autozone. i have plenty of stories of dealing with those know nothing dorks...too bad thats pretty much the only place near by.

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Posted · Report post

And take a guess how far those complaints go?, about as far as you can throw the person.

That is not always the case. I worked in a hobby/craft shop back in the 80's. One day I received a phone call from a irate customer about our night shift employee, I asked her to come in and discuss it. she told me how he had a couple of his friends there, and they, and himself were very rude, and obnoxious when she asked for help. I told her that the problem would be addressed, and hoped she would return again. She was a good customer, and always placed a big order. I talked to the manager, who was also the owner. Next day, at the end of my shift, when the other guy come on duty, the boss showed up. 15 minutes later, the employee in question was history.

Later on I found out he went to work for the other hobby shop in town, and I warned the owner about him. He lasted about 2 months there before they got fed up with his antic's also.

So sometimes it will happen.

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Posted · Report post

I know it does happen, I was just saying a lot of times it doesnt, trust me, I know :lol: .

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Posted · Report post

I know it does happen, I was just saying a lot of times it doesnt, trust me, I know :lol: .

yep I know.

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Posted · Report post

Being self employed myself, When I go out to give estimates I always pay close attention to peoples attitudes. I have come to the point where I charge more for people who are going to be difficult. Sometimes I'll adjust my price high enough just so I know I won't get the job and have to deal with them. I've learned that those who have had to struggle through life, scrimp and save pennies for what they wanted were far more appreciative for services than those who were well to do. And I just love the customer who knows everything :rolleyes:

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Posted · Report post

My rule is, treat everyone with respect, no matter who they are and hopefully they'll do the same in return, I'm even nice to the call centre people who keep phoning me trying to sell me things, at the end of the day, they are just doing a job and trying to earn an honest wage...

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Posted · Report post

I had a very pleasant experience with Jennifer from Coast Airbrush yesterday. Along with a bunch of HOK paint, I ordered a Iwata to Paasche hose adaptor along with a male quick disconnect fitting for the Paasche hose. Jennifer called to say the quick disconnect was out of stock. I told her the story about what I was doing and she suggested a male disconnect right out of the Iwata. She said the male/female quick disconnects are all the same - the threads are different. She was very pleasant. The order should be arriving next Thursday.

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Posted · Report post

Our local donut shop also sells bagels. Very yummy. :D

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Posted · Report post

Being self employed myself, When I go out to give estimates I always pay close attention to peoples attitudes. I have come to the point where I charge more for people who are going to be difficult. Sometimes I'll adjust my price high enough just so I know I won't get the job and have to deal with them. I've learned that those who have had to struggle through life, scrimp and save pennies for what they wanted were far more appreciative for services than those who were well to do. And I just love the customer who knows everything :rolleyes:

I hesitated to mention this, but since Rick put it out there, I do it too. I call it PIA tax. My attitude is "You're going to have to pay me to put up with your grief." The moral of the story: Sometimes being a jerk can cost you, big time. ;)

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Posted · Report post

One other thing- that old saw "The customer is always right"? In many instances, nothing could be further from the truth! I know, being a customer of many establishements myself, that I have been wrong on more occasions than I care to recall. So have you. So has E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. :rolleyes:

After having worked 13 years in the retail environment (roughly half of that in the auto parts business), I've seen every type of customer. The guy who gets irate because you don't stock glow plugs for a 1985 Escort diesel (or some other obsure part for some other obscure vehicle), the guy who wants to buy brake rotors from you- but wants you to price match units from the shop across town even though their rotors have a 90 day warranty and yours have a two-year warranty, and my favortite... the guy who does not come in himself, but sends his wife/girlfriend/kid/drinking buddy to the store to get the parts, gives that person only the basic information, then gets huffy and puffy when the parts his gopher came back with don't fit his application.

Often, a customer will ask if you will install the part they just bought for them. Now, laws and store policies vary, but where I've worked, doing so without being a licenced mechanic is illegal, and can cost you your job. I can't tell you how many customers got angry when I refused to install anything other than a battery or wiper blades (the two items we were allowed to install on customer vehicles- and restirictions applied even there). No, sir, I am not going to install that fan clutch in your Trailblazer for you. Seriously. Do you get mad at the grocery store cashier when they refuse to cook the hamburger meat you just bought? To me it's akin to that.

And of course, there are some customers who have this really overinflated sense of self-importance. At my preivious job, we had a shop owner who was angry because he did not quailfy for our top-line commercial discount, which is based upon how much you buy. I tried explaining this to him, and his response was 'I buy from you all the time!'. After I got off the phone with him, I went and checked his account's history- he had purchased a grand total of $87 worth of merchandise from us over the most recent three-month period. There were five or six shops in the area who would spend three times that amount with us every hour. $87 is $87, but somehow, I guess this guy thought his $87 was more valuable than the next guy's $87.

But it really isn't awful. I actually did develop a pretty good rapport with a few customers nobody else wanted to deal with. Other guys would duck and cover when these guys walked in the door, but I never had any issues in dealing with them. Getting a feel for people and what they want is important. There was one guy I dealt with who was old-school- he wanted his parts looked up in the paper catalogs, not the computer systems. His theory was the computer was always wrong (even though our computerized catalog system was copied verbatim from the paper catalogs, so if it was wrong in the catalog, it was more than likely wrong in the system... go figure), so whenever he walked in, I was at the ready standing near the catalog rack!

Customers like that are in the minority, though, and even the most pleasant people can have their bad days. I won't even get into the customers I actually looked forward to seeing. :D

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Posted · Report post

Being self employed myself, When I go out to give estimates I always pay close attention to peoples attitudes. I have come to the point where I charge more for people who are going to be difficult. Sometimes I'll adjust my price high enough just so I know I won't get the job and have to deal with them. I've learned that those who have had to struggle through life, scrimp and save pennies for what they wanted were far more appreciative for services than those who were well to do. And I just love the customer who knows everything :rolleyes:

I hesitated to mention this, but since Rick put it out there, I do it too. I call it PIA tax. My attitude is "You're going to have to pay me to put up with your grief." The moral of the story: Sometimes being a jerk can cost you, big time. ;)

Ever see those signs that read "If you are grouchy, irratable, or just plain mean, there will be a $10 charge for putting up with you"? Many of the local auto repair shops have that sign over the front desk... and more than a few of the shop owners I've spoken with have told me they've enforced it. B)

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Posted · Report post

Dealing with the public is tough, no matter the situation. I try to look at it from their perspective but that doesn't always help. Makes me wonder about their upbringing, privileged or not.

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Posted · Report post

I try to live by a very simple code. Treat everyone a little better than they treat you. Most times it's very easy. Sometimes it's nearly impossible. But if someone is mean, kindness will usually calm them down. If not it usually makes them madder, which sometimes can be rewarding as well. "Kill 'em with kindness"!!!

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Posted · Report post

I try to live by a very simple code. Treat everyone a little better than they treat you. Most times it's very easy. Sometimes it's nearly impossible. But if someone is mean, kindness will usually calm them down. If not it usually makes them madder, which sometimes can be rewarding as well. "Kill 'em with kindness"!!!

That can bite you in some situations, though. Sometimes a customer will see your genuine attempt to be courteous as sarcasm or being condescending. Again, that's one of those instances where you have to try to read the person and react accordingly.

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Ever see those signs that read "If you are grouchy, irratable, or just plain mean, there will be a $10 charge for putting up with you"? Many of the local auto repair shops have that sign over the front desk... and more than a few of the shop owners I've spoken with have told me they've enforced it. B)

Funny you mention that sign Chuck, picked one of those up when I was in Branson last.

20120317_085642.jpg

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Posted · Report post

Great topic and like most people, I have my share of retail horror stories to share. The condensed versions here:

1st job- worked at a Mercedes/BMW dealership during high school (great job for a teenager!) and we had this one lady who thought she was entitled to a free hand car wash every Saturday at noon, despite it being the busiest time of the day and also our lunch time. One particularly cold and busy Saturday she insisted on getting her car washed and we told her it would be 2 hours before we could do it. She got the salesman who sold her the car and he begged us to wash the car, so we did. We made sure to put extra water in the door locks knowing full well they would freeze and she would be locked out, hopefully at the dinner party she needed her car washed for!

2nd job- worked at a grocery store in the same town as the car dealership. Some customers would walk around eating food they hadn't paid for yet and didn't think anything of it. We caught this one lady who had fed her kids about a pound of grapes, a box of animal crackers, and several containers of yogurt. She offered to pay for the items but the manager decided to have her banned as he had watched this happen several times. Another incident at the store was a customer who insisted we send an employee over to her house to clean up a mess her maid had made. Seems the maid spilled some soda taking the groceries out of the car and because we had placed them in her trunk, it was our fault! She got the store manager to personally clean up the mess at the house and pay to have her car detailed!

3rd job- worked part time at a Sears Paint/Hardware store one summer to feed my need for tools. We had a customer bring in a 15 year old air compressor that was bought at an estate sale. It didn't work and the customer wanted us to replace it, afterall, who backs you better than Sears? We refused as the warranty was only 1 year and this was obviously beyond the warranty period. Well, 10 days later this customer came back with a letter from corporate saying give him a free air compressor! I won't even go into the cheapskates who would buy the cheapest chainsaw to trim a few branches and then return it-effectively a free loaner! The old farts who would go to garage sales on Saturday and buy broken hand tools and return them for free replacement. The best were guys who would break a ratchet and expect a free replacement. When we explained that the warranty stated "repair or replacement" and we could repair it, they got ticked off and wanted a new one! They quickly learned that if they came in during the morning hours the ladies would give them new ones and us evening guys would repair them.

Like others have said, I have learned that if you talk in a calm manner and treat the employee with respect, you will get the best possible service. Talk down or treat someone like dirt and you will be lucky to get anything.

My mother-in-law is terrible when it comes to customer service and as a result, I almost always decline to dine out with her as she is very demanding and is a lousy tipper. I have no doubt she had eaten her share of dirt and spit because of the way she treats waiters and complains about everything!

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Posted · Report post

Love this post... having worked retail for over 15 years, I too know the stories. Working in a bicycle shop, the business is very seasonal. Spring is CRAZY time! My opinion has always been to suck it up and help the customer as well as possible, HOWEVER my famous quote at the shop is "it's just a bike shop..." Its all about an enjoyable, recreational experience, let's not make this too serious. (Similar to our model hobby) Nobody's living or dying, losing a job, missing a flight while on vacation, or anything like that. I have reminded customers of that fact also... shuts them up pretty quick too. For years, I have been the guy that the "good customers" come in to see, probably because I give them the respect they return towards me. I also slide discounts to many of them, even though they don't expect or ask for it. That's why I do it, they are the ones who deserve them, not the guy I see once a year who comes in for the big sale or wants us to price match internet pricing. 'Nuff of that.

Moving forward...I am in the midst of starting my own hobby/model shop and will be dealing with the same retail woes on my own. I'm sure it will draw all types, the nice thing being "I" get to call the shots. Tell the jerks "no", give the good guys breaks, and I'm sure "suck it up" once in awhile, go on, and remind myself... you reap what you sow...

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Posted · Report post

I hesitated to mention this, but since Rick put it out there, I do it too. I call it PIA tax. My attitude is "You're going to have to pay me to put up with your grief." The moral of the story: Sometimes being a jerk can cost you, big time. ;)

:D :D :D

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Posted · Report post

Having worked in customer service in a couple of different environments, I have had to deal with most of the personalities mentioned above. I have horror stories. I have had to deal with customers who were irate, mean, entitled, poorly informed, unbalanced and less than brilliant.

I have also had to deal with customer service people who were some or all of those things.

When I go out to eat, I am always respectful to the hostess/maitre'd, the wait staff and the busboys. I always say please and thank you. Yet, every once in a while I have to deal with someone who is at best, incompetent, and at worst, going out of their way to let you know they don't want to be bothered.

When I go shopping, I treat the sales people with respect. I always thank them for their offers of assistance, even if I don't need help at the moment. Yet, every once in a while I have to deal with someone who goes out of their way to ignore me, or feels the need to be condescending.

When I go shopping, I greet the cashier with a smile, and ask how they are doing. I always thank them when they have finished ringing me up. Yet, sometimes I get somebody who has a chip on their shoulder from the word go, and makes it clear they don't think they should be expected to do the job they are getting paid for.

This is not just me looking at myself in the best light, as I have seen these things happen to other customers who were behaving perfectly respectfully.

I am always more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to someone in customer service over the customer. However, just as with most other things in life, the truth tends to be found somewhere in the middle.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

being in the parts biz on the Dealer side for 35+ years, i HAVE seen it all!!

lady come in to have a sealdbeam installed, she did purchase it from us, the Service Mgr did install it in her Nova in the drive thru, for FREE... well, not 5 minutes after she left she was back ranting about 'what did you do to my car?? ....so the Service Mgr took a deep breath, then stated "we didn't even open the hood on the car mam!!! " well, she wouldn't have it!! he refunded the $$ for the headlite and told her that RT50 runs east to west and there's another Chev store.....

that was the FIRST time i've seen a customer put down the road!!! some customers you just have to treat that way.. nothing you do will ever be good enough for some people....IE: problem customer, not problem car, after numerous trips to the Service Dept with no satisfaction, he started making a scene...the Owner came out to try and appease him, but, when asked what he wanted, he stated "he didn't know", well, the owner said to him "then how the hell can we satisfy you if you don't even know what you WANT!!!"

i also had the 'weird' customers that nobofy else wanted, well being Parts Mgr, guess what i DID take care of them and they would only deal with me!! then you get into 'stealling' somebodys bidness!!! Saturn had 'areas' that were for YOUR facility, you wen't supposed to go outside your 'area' for Wholesale $$, Saturn even contacted me, i just told THEM that I wasn't calling the customers, THEY were calling ME, enough said...

something else... have you ever asked for a discount at Kroger's?? Nordstrom's?? so, how come in the car/bike biz, everybody thinks they should get a discount?? do you the mark-up on clothes?? food products?? a hellova a lot!! but, if you ask for a discount, they kinda glaze over, "that'l be $115.54"

oh yeah, attitude begets attitude.....and, THEY don't really know how much that part is, the more they futz with you the more the part goes up!!! IJS....

ok, done now....

carry on....

Edited by Harry P.

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