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Friday, 19 August 2016 13:33

The Customer Is NOT Krap!

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You've heard it 1000 times before – "The Customer Is King!" Customer service has to be at the forefront of our thinking when it comes to representing ourselves anywhere, whether it be online, on the phone, or in person. Well, apparently some customer service representatives haven’t gotten the memo on that. Or they misread “king” to be “krap.”

Today I had to pay a visit to my wireless carriers retail outlet. My wife's phone had begun to overheat and it was less than a month old. I thought I could just go in there and swap it out. I was wrong. Boy, howdy, was I wrong!

I'm greeted at the door by a pleasant enough young woman who wants to "check me in" so, I give her my name and explain in detail why I’m there. She tells me to take a seat at an empty table and someone would be with me soon (I'll find out later that my “soon” and her “soon” are very different). I find an open spot and see that all the other tables have someone sitting at them. There are two representatives, each helping a customer. I take a seat and get out my phone to check Facebook to pass the time, which I noticed to be 9:10 AM.

15 minutes go by. No one has a acknowledge my presence since the young lady at the front door, but there seems to be employees everywhere now. Two were helping other customers, but one was on a computer, one was setting up some sort of spin-the-wheel promotion, and one just seemed to be wandering around.

25 minutes have now gone by. The one that was wandering around, we’ll call him “metrosexual ponytail guy,” was now at the table next to mine helping a customer that already had a representative there helping him. Metrosexual ponytail guy seemed to be just talking about new accessories and how he couldn't wait to get his hands on new stuff, just kind of chitchatting.

36 minutes sitting at this table and not one single acknowledgment of my presence. Not a single "we’ll be with you in just a moment, sir." Nothing. Just then metrosexual ponytail guy leaves his pleasant fireside chat and was going to walk right by me. By this time I am not happy.

"Do you work here?" I ask. "Why, yes I do," he says with far too much glee. I tell him very succinctly my problem and how I'd like to see it solved. Metrosexual ponytail guy tells me that, sure, he can help with that. He'll get me on the phone with the warranty department.

I lost it. "Do you mean to tell me that I have been sitting here for 36 minutes without so much as a ‘how do you do’ and now you're going to put me in a phone queue to wait for yet another representative?!" “Yes,” he says, “but it will be our queue which is much faster than the one a mere mortal could access.” (OK, I may have embellished a bit.)

I then asked metrosexual ponytail guy if I would be able to walk out of here with a new phone after talking to the warranty people. "Oh no," he says, "No, they'll have to ship it to you." So, I could have done this from home? He says that I could.

Now, when I was a kid my mother had this big, heavy, probably made out of lead, pressure cooker. On the top was this heavy weight. As the pressure builds up the weight would start to rattle and the steam would whistle out from underneath it. That is what happened to me at the phone store. I was the kettle. But I blew that frickin’ weight clean off!

ARRGGH!!! Why didn’t the girl at the front door tell me that when I explained why I was “visiting” them today?! Why didn't she, who stood at that door at one point for 15 minutes without greeting anyone, come out and wait on customers?! Why couldn't any one of them stop by my table periodically and reassure me that they would get to me?! I continued pointing out their faults as I stormed to the door. I was a sight to behold, to be sure!

Anyway, as required by their training, I guess, metrosexual ponytail guy followed me to the door, telling me to have a good day. My response was less than kind. I believe I have been banned from the store. Not sure if it’s all of them or just the one. (Reference from one of my favorite movies.)

The whole point of this rant is that I felt that neither I nor my time was of any concern to these employees. Why, I felt like something they’d scrape off their shoe! I was pissed and left with a very negative opinion of this business. And you know what? I’ve told the story to everyone I’ve seen today. Those bad experiences get talked about more than the good ones, that’s a fact.

The moral to the story is obvious:  Wherever and whenever we come into contact with our customers, whether it be online, on the phone, and especially in person, they are kings, not crap. I hate to be cliché, but they really are our bread-and-butter. Let’s don't get so big or think ourselves so important that we forget that.

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Jeff Barkacs

Jeff has been helping small business owners with their marketing since 1988. The last 12 years he has worked almost exclusively in Internet marketing building websites that get traffic, helping business owners understand and use social media to increase their bottom lines, and producing engaging video for use on websites and socail media. He also enjoys referring to himself in the third person.

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