For those of you who may work in retail or customer service, the phrase “the customer is always right” is the WORST! I know from personal experience. I work in an industry that is a melting pot of knowledge, technology, trends that come and go, doctors recommendations, and a range of customers with a variety of needs: the running shoe industry.
Now, I first started working at a running specialty shoe store in the summer of 2001 when I was a going to be a Sophomore of high school. I was very young and naive about pretty much everything. I went through months and months of training about the technology of shoes, fitting customers properly, and customer service. So, with 13 years experience, I’d say I have a pretty good grasp on the concept of customer service. As a customer, I expect knowledge about the questions I have (or ways to get the answers to my questions), I expect that the employee is going to care about helping me, and I expect to be treated in a friendly manner. I don’t think those are too much to ask because that is exactly what I will give my customers when they walk in my store. I rarely ever complain about services unless it truly put me out of my way, because honestly people complain about ANYTHING.
I rant about this a bit because I have been on both sides of bad experiences. I have had shoes thrown at me, I have had customers belittle me and treat me like a doormat they can step on, all while still trying to help with a smile on my face. It is not easy. Last week, my mom broke the screen of her phone and it completely shattered. She has an Iphone 4 and it is the very first smartphone she has ever had. Now, I won’t name the phone provider, but I will explain what an awful experience it was to get her phone replaced.
It started out with multiple phone calls. We made the switch to this company about a year ago (buying 6 phones, all with insurance). So, replacing one hadn’t been attempted yet. Trying to make a claim was almost impossible. First, it’s all the security questions. Yes. I understand there are people who try to scam but how many times to I have to tell you how to spell my name and the street I was born on. Second, the shipping address she gave they claimed was “not a valid address.” She gave the address to the business she works. They were supposed to call her to remedy that. They didn’t. She calls back the next night (her fingers are starting to get cut because of the shattered screen) and she keeps getting hung up on while they keep transferring her to department after department. FINALLY after the claim is made and they send her the phone the next day that was $50 more than they originally said (at the very valid address she gave them in the first place), they said she could bring it in any store to help her transfer all of her stuff. No problem!
I first thought maybe I should go with her to make sure she gets the help she needs. But it didn’t end up happening that way. She spent an hour waiting for someone to help her. When she was called the girl helping her was rude, ignorant and could care less about helping her. My mom needed assistance in her Apple ID and ICloud. Pretty simple request, I think. No. This girl didn’t even activate the phone for her. So, she comes home with a new phone that doesn’t work. I was pretty upset about it because it was a pretty ridiculous process already. She went back, and I went with her.
When we walk in, my mom points out the girl who “helped” her before. The girl walks up and asks “did you figure out your Apple ID stuff,” kind of killing us with kindness. I told her SHE had to assist her with that. THAT’S what my mom asked her to do. I explained that my mom didn’t understand what she was talking about and left empty handed because she couldn’t care to give her the customer service she deserved. Now, I was pretty heated at this moment but then when the girl had the audacity to say “Well, she wasn’t willing to work with me!” I almost lost it! You NEVER talk to a customer like that. I told her that I work in retail and I understand how customer service works. When you have a customer who needs your help, you help them to the best of your ability. PERIOD.
One of the technicians came over and started helping us then and she was just amazing. Answered all of our questions, activated the phone, transferred everything, reminded us about wiping data out of the old phone, that we have 14 days to return the old phone, and so on. She was so incredibly nice and THAT is how customer service should be.
I still hate the phrase “the customer is always right.” Because they are not always right. But the communication between the employee and the customer needs to be caring, helpful, and friendly. Both parties have a responsibility to be courteous of one another. So, if I am not up to your standards as a salesperson, that’s on me. This situation was obviously making my mom go out of her way and that girl was disrespectful to her. When you’re rude to me, I might say something. But when you’re disrespectful to my mom…..you better believe I’m gonna say something!!!! :)