Mid-life Without the Crisis

It really isn't the destination, but the journey. May be cliche, but it's true.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Customer "Service"

I once worked at a franchise of a large corporation, which was eye-opening on many levels.  We were always having retreats, training, conferences and meetings, rarely accomplishing more than wasting time that could have been spent on actually improving our services.  But I digress.

I remember one meeting with our Corporate Liaison (THAT was a cushy job) where we were discussing customer service.  This liaison was always telling stories about the great customer service she always got from a particular hotel chain, no matter where she went.  (In hindsight, the fact that her best customer service stories were about another company should have been some kind of sign.)

She asked us to share what businesses we thought had great customer service.  My assistant chimed in with Walmart.  When asked why she thought they had great customer service, she explained that she was able to do one-stop shopping there.  Never mind that she totally missed the point of the question, and possibly the entire meeting, but she obviously had never experienced customer service of any kind at the store.

My gripe with the mega-center is not so much about customer service as it is with the attitudes of their employees.  For instance, yesterday my husband and I stopped in to pick up a few things and ran into some relatives we hadn't seen in a while.  We were chatting in an aisle and since there were 4 of us, yes, we were taking up the whole aisle, but we were in electronics and there were no other customers in the area at the time.  Then an employee bumped past us without an "excuse me" to get to the great unknown through the double-doors at the back of the building. 

Were we taking up the aisle?  Yes.  Did he need to go through those doors?  Yes.  Did he have to bump past us to do so?  NO!  He could have easily gone around to another aisle to make his way to the cave. 

And that's what I experience every time I go there.  An employee who thinks he has the right of way over customers.  An employee who won't move her cart full of things she's restocking to let customers get by.  Employees walking down the aisle, taking up the entire aisle, who refuse to move so customers can easily pass by.  If it weren't for the fact that they are cheap and so am I, I would never shop there again. 

Those who work in businesses that involve actual people should remember the motto that Corporate Liaison always told us, "A customer is not an interruption of our work.  He is the sole purpose of it." 

Here's a funny video of just how frustrating dealing with customer service can be.


Angie Dixon said...

We have a "new" Wal-Mart a couple of miles away, but we drive almost 10 minutes to a different store. The "new" one is the old one in a new building. I have twice been called a liar by employees there.

One accused me of not taking the photos I was trying to have printed, and told me I couldn't leave until her manager got there--then threatened me with not giving my money back when I turned and walked off; the other accused me of not having just bought the printer I had a receipt for, from an hour before, that didn't work, and kept saying the number on the printer didn't match the number on the box. Not my problem. I have a receipt, I have a printer, give me my money or call your supervisor, but call me a liar again and I'll make sure you never do that to anyone else again, ever.

Also at the "old/new" store, the managers won't go to registers when called, and one stands around with her arms crossed for her entire shift.

I used to go there occasionally, but about a month ago I said never again. Yes, it's one quarter the distance, but even if they are not abusive, which they usually are, it takes twice as long to get there, get what I need and get out.

I have complimented the other Wal-Mart on how well their managers respond to problems and how polite their employees are.

Civility is the least I have the right to expect, and simply not that hard.

J.R. Davis said...

That is just unacceptable behavior. I'm glad you stood up for yourself. Far too many people take whatever is dished out to them. I'm done with that.