“Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth,” Chris Tucker, Rush Hour.
You’d think this would be common practice in customer service…you know, listening…but as with most things it’s not so common. I recently experience two scenarios that would not nearly have been as painful if the service staff at both Best Buy and Sauce Restaurant & Lounge (update: no longer in business) dialled down the defensiveness and actually took in the words of a customer. For the pregame, we’ll just say, not impressed.
Sauce Restaurant – a friend of mine recently completed her web design course (she’s in high demand, get in line) so a large group of us made reservations at Sauce to surprise her. Eight of us arrived before the rest of our full roster so we waited…and waited. Well we were a few minutes early so we stood in the lounge while the staff got our table ready. The problem was and earlier party was still holding on to one of the tables we needed for our party. So we waited. Thankfully it was a few minutes before the guest of honour arrived did we get a full seating arrangement. My problem was in the hostess…
Best Buy – I discovered a thought to be long-lost gift card (GC). As they don’t have an expiry date…SCORE! I had wanted a PS3 for some time and apparently the gift certificate was all I needed to justify getting one. Once I arrived, I had a floor staff member check the amount (it had been awhile) and thankfully all was as it should be. I went to the checkout line where a newbie rang my order and GC through. He fumbled at the computer and decided it would be best to ignore that transaction and start again…only now the GC had no money on it. He had run it through and taken the amount off with the initial purchase. Enter: “supposed” management.
Two very different experiences, same auditory problem.
Sauce Restaurant. While waiting for the rest of our party in the lounge (we were 8 and 4 more were coming), a hostess informed us that a table had been set up for 8 and that if we wanted to sit down we could. I informed her that it wouldn’t make much sense as if we were all sitting and the guest of honour arrives for her surprise, she won’t have anywhere to sit…and we didn’t now for how long. The hostess’s response? “I was only giving you an option.” SHE GOT DEFENSIVE? Listen (hehe there’s that word), if you think I’m being a jerk, suck it up princess and curse my name behind closed doors. Welcome to service with a smile. My response, “yes, but it was a bad option.” I had only told her why it would be better not to take her suggestion, I didn’t need the ‘tude.
Best Buy. Two floor managers, after seeing that the GC amount was currently $0 and without asking for the cashier’s recollection, repeatedly told me that there was nothing wrong and that there was nothing left on my card. Even when my mom (yep, I was with my mom) tried to explain, they just repelled the words with their force fields and repeated, “that’s what we said.” This went on for a half an hour. Finally, after repetition and the confidence that comes from actually being right, we wore them down. $50 GC good to go. Their explanation as to why thy stonewalling…” oh well, this isn’t really our department.” WHAT THE HELL?!
You know what, for this week’s blog, no conclusion. Beyond these two hiccups the dates/experiences were fine. I only ask that for our next one (if I don’t find someone better in the meantime), close your mouth, uncross your arms and open your ears. Even if I don’t know what I’m talking about (yes, it does happen), you’re paid to pay attention and serve. Where do you think the word “service” comes from?
Service Rating System:
Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.
Where’s the fine line? From one spectrum to the other, there doesn’t seem to be a set, this is the amount of people we need for this space. I.e. Canadian Tire (understaff) vs. Anything with commission based sales. I hate having to either search for 5 minutes to find someone or when I do, wait 10 minutes while they help the 3 people in front of me. During my recent experience at Best Buy, there was one cashier helping a customer for about 10 minutes while the rest (4 customers) waited. Where was everyone? Lunch. Can they eat at 2pm? Hell’s yes.
Is it a sign of the economic times, a shallow employment pool, or cheap employers? Service is not only about the experience, but the availability of staff.