Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Customer Service

There is a little bath shop that I love. The store carries gigantic bath fizzy balls, soaps, fancy lotions, rubber duckies, and countless other products related to bath and body. For me, there is nothing better than a hot bath on a cold winter's day. And, if I smell halfway decent when I climb out . . . so much the better.  I'm a sucker for bath-related products. This particular store is located in a college town a couple hours from me. I stop in whenever I'm in that neck of the woods. My mom has accompanied me on one of her visits as well.  I've been in the soap store at least a dozen times, if not more. Guess how many times an employee has asked me, "Can I help you?"  Zero. My mom experienced the same thing when she was with me one time.

Now, I don't know if maybe I just look like I haven't got any money. Or maybe I'm not hip enough for this upscale shop in a college town. I have no idea. I have noticed that behind the counter at this store they have all sorts of oils and, as I understand it, you can customize the scents. I'm not really sure since no one has ever offered to tell me about them. Sure, I could ask for help but I always feel a little sheepish about doing that. I mean, I'm not even sure I want the custom-scented oils - I guess I just want to know how it all works. I always buy a few things - some bath fizzies, some lotion, etc. One time I bought my stad a toothbrush there and he said it was the best toothbrush of his life. If one of the hipsters behind the counter took the time to approach me, ask me what kinds of scents I like, etc. . . . I can't help but think they'd stand a chance at increasing their sales significantly.

Anyway, it's become sort of a running joke with me and my mom. I'll tell her, "Hey, I went to that soap store and the record remains unbroken!" She suggested that I contact the store after I told her about my most recent visit there in November.  So, I sent a little email through their website.  I basically said, "Hey, I love your store and am a big fan but for what it's worth . . ."

I got a response from the owner of the store thanking me for my feedback.  However, then he added this:

Some times too when people are shopping together I hate to interrupt their conversation with "may I help you?"  That is the same when people are on cell phones or playing with their hand held devices. 

So, let me get this straight - I didn't get squat for customer service and . . . it is probably my own fault? For the record, during my last visit I was in the store with my daughter. She was in an aisle by herself, picking out some bath beads shaped like dolphins and whatnot. I was in another aisle, also by myself and definitely not on my phone. Believe me, I worked retail for several years and I am not the yahoo who talks on the phone at the check-out. I am also not a big text-er. Thanks to my non-bending thumb, it is just too tedious for me to do it with any regularity. But sure, maybe it was my fault somehow.

Lest I leave you with the impression that I am a chronic complainer, I want to share a quick story about good customer service. For my wee baby sister's birthday, I ordered a custom 'mother's necklace' for her from an etsy shop. The necklace features a disk on which my three nephews' names are engraved. Their birthstones are also attached.  When I got the necklace in the mail, it wasn't exactly as I had envisioned. I agonized over whether or not I should contact the seller. Finally, I mustered up the nerve to contact her and she responded right away with an offer to make the changes I was requesting.  I sent the necklace back and a few days later I had a replacement that looked just like I wanted it to. Therefore, I can happily recommend that if you are looking for unique and/or custom jewelry, check out Rips Designs.

In my job as a project manager in web development, I also provide technical support to clients. More often than not, when a client calls with an issue, it is probably a 'user error' sort of situation. However, I can't say, "This is your fault. You clicked the wrong thing." It would be rude, for starters. My goal is to help them with their problem and to have them hang up feeling like they've received assistance without condescension. If I get it right, they stick around as happy clients and I get to keep my job. It's a win-win. It's really not that hard to be nice to people and treat them decently.  So sayeth I.

1 comment:

Mary said...

Amen. Some people should not work in retail period. I have no idea why some are!? I always thought it was just a kind thing to do to be courteous to others whether in a store or not but I would sure think people would be moreso in a store if nothing else to make sales. I have a hard time going back to places that don't treat the customers really good!!;)