Customer Service?

Have you ever had that moment when you’re standing at the checkout counter and the cashier says something so…so…well, you wonder if they really said what you think they said? That comment that later you wonder why you didn’t just walk out. Have you thought of a time? Maybe you could fill a list of times.

Over the past two weeks, this has happened twice to me. There are times when you wonder if people really understand the price of customer service. Remember that old credit card commercial? One well stocked store, $$$. Three working cash registers, $$$. One friendly and fast cashier, priceless. Priceless and not always easy to find.

Recently I was in our local Dollar General. We live near a small town and our choices are pretty limited. The cashier has worked here and at a different store in town. I searched through my purse, trying to find my own pen to write the check. Because there is only one line available at this store, the line was growing behind me. Finally I asked if I could borrow a pen. My cashier grabbed a pen, tossed it onto the counter and muttered loud enough for me to hear, “I wish people would start bringing their own pens.”

What? Had I really just heard that correctly? When my youngest son looked up at me and suggested next time I’d better have a pen or I wouldn’t be able to write the check, I knew I’d heard right. I stopped writing my check long enough to explain to him that there might not be a next time because there was always another store that would be happy to provide a pen for me to write with.

One pen + one muttered comment= one customer that isn’t going back.

Then last weekend we ran to the city and I needed three books from the bookstore. I ran in, found the books and once again found myself at the checkout counter. This time a man was the cashier and he asked if I had one of their store cards. Okay, I pretty much dislike store cards. There is one or two that I have but I don’t shop often enough or at one store so my perks never show up. For that reason, I told him I didn’t have one and wasn’t interested in one at the moment. “Really?” He asked. “You’d save 10% just today. It’s really a no-brainer, if you ask me.”

I didn’t ask him. I just wanted my books. But I obviously had no-brains because then he had to continue by telling me I didn’t need to write out my check, which by the way would be completely obsolete with in the next 4-5 months. NO store would be taking checks. Well, even their registers weren’t made to take checks anymore. Yep, he’d just seen it on CNN that morning and no one would be accepting checks in a few months. Finally I suggested that perhaps this would be my last trip to their store. I left there and completely understood why bookstores are going out of business so quickly.

One know-it-all cashier + feeling like I had to defend my payment method= AMAZON.com.

When did things become so skewed? Did either of these people remember that my check is their paycheck?

I did learn a lesson through both of these experiences. I’ve learned how much I really appreciate those who do their job well and I tell them. Where good customer service use to be the norm, now it’s nothing to take for granted. Knowing that, it makes it much easier to complement the person who is making a real effort to help you.

So, what great stories do you have? I’m sure we can all relate!

Enjoy your weekend,

Sara

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6 responses to “Customer Service?”

  1. Colleen says :

    Customer service is exactly why I love my local Safeway store. I could go to Albertsons, and not have to deal with the traffic to cross the highway, but the employees at Safeway ALWAYS say hello regardless of where they are in the store, or what they are doing. And, the other night I bought groceries, and my bill came to $51.76. I handed the checker two $50 bills as I muttered to myself, “I can’t believe I don’t have any ones”. He manually entered a $1.76 coupon, and handed one of the $50s back to me. I LOVE THAT STORE. He didn’t have to do that, but it made my night, and reinforced my loyalty!

    • pagesfromstages says :

      That’s a great story, Colleen! It just go to show the price of customer service– It cost them less than $2, and how many people have you told? Priceless!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Cherie Gagnon says :

    Oh, the post hits a nerve! I agree, good customer service is a dying art. And I think the bussinesses that commit to good service are going to have more of an edge than those who merely offer lower prices but no service.

    I shut down a bank account at an institution I had been with for many, many years. There was a service charge on my account and the code associated with it was not on the list of codes in my bank book. So I asked the cashier to explain and she couldn’t, so I asked to speak to the manager. Instead of getting the manager, I was handed a brochure on how to make a complaint. I gave the brochure back and instantly shut down my account and left. That felt good.

    I agree we also need to tell those who are doing a good job that their efforts are appreciated.

  3. Jeanie Berg says :

    Oh boy, you’ve got us all started now!!!!! What are people thinking to act the way they do or say the things they say? Did their mothers not teach them anything???? (Not only mothers!!) Yes, it may feel good at the moment to declare to never go back to that store, but those employees who do the damage don’t give a rip! I say ALWAYS let the managers know by letter why you won’t be shopping with them anymore. If it’s bad enough maybe even let the upper powers that be know that their stores are losing business because of how the individual store is being run.

    • pagesfromstages says :

      You’re right, Jeanie, those employees don’t care because they’ll still get the paycheck, they just won’t have as many people to help. The bookstore guy kind of hesitated when handing me my receipt. When I looked later, mine was the one with the survey! I need to fill it out. I also realized on the receipt that I would have had to purchase that ‘savings’ card. Then I’d have saved a whopping $3!!

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