Posts Tagged ‘need’

Smacked by a Customer

December 29, 2011

This isn’t a story of abuse, but one of indecency and a lack of social etiquette. Mind you, I have been clapped at like a dog, and waves to come like a dog; I have had someone pound their knuckles on the register demanding me to apologize for something I didn’t do; been mistaken for a skinny Chinese boy by an old woman who was obviously racist; been told the fact I have a penis means I can’t help them find clothing, I can go on about two-hundred times more. Either way, this is the first time I’ve actually been physically touched my a customer, which basically ruined the rest of my day.

I was calmly going through the crowd putting away clothes, greeting people and helping them. I wasn’t hiding, nor was I trying to be invisible. Out of nowhere, someone smacks my arm, and I’m thinking it’s some old friend. Instead, it’s a customer I don’t think I’ve seen before, but I’m sure isn’t a regular, yet also looked vaguely like ‘they all look the same to me’.

After she smacks me, I look at her, and she say, “I need the sweater in the window, there!” She points. I just stand there, speechless, as she walks to the front of the store. She looks back at me and waves me to follow. I had half-a-mind not to, but human decency and manners is something I’ve learned human beings don’t really learn, and when they do, they consider it something they can turn off and on when the situation befits them. She shows me a sweater, I don’t even look at. I tell her someone will get it, because I’m definitely not going to strain myself in the least to help someone who speaks English, and couldn’t just say, “Excuse me, I need help,” or the usual, “Do you work here?” Someone who can communicate in my own language, but their best form of transmission is by hitting you–this says a lot about her home situation and childhood, all wrapped up like a present to the world.

I get someone else to help her, so she can annoy and irritate them instead–which she does, because you can always tell when ‘they’ll be one of those people’.

As an added story, this automatically brings to mind a situation where a customer demanded to return an item which was old, with no tags, used, and no receipt. The cashier refused, saying it can’t be done. So the customer reached over and shoved the cashier. This was one of those 0.01% chance moments when a District Manager was standing nearby with the Store Manager. The DM rushed forward and said, “Excuse me! You are never allowed to touch my employees like that, ever! Who do you think you are? You are also no longer allowed in any of our stores. You are permanently banned and if I see you in a store, I will have you escorted out. Take your items and leave.” Or something to that point. If only, right?

Customer Types: Modern Slave Owner

Retail: The Point

September 19, 2011

The Point is when customers come in, we don’t expect them to buy, we don’t force them–we hope they desire or want what we have to offer. That is our relationship. Somewhere along the line, stores started to add ‘benefits’ to attract the customer. Great customer-service is one thing, slavery is another, but when you add in things like commission, then you begin to enforce this erred system. If people know you areĀ benefitingĀ from their purchase, they know you are worth ‘money’ to them. They know you must cater to them, please them, and find them just what they want to purchase, so you make money off of this. Even in situations where there is no commission, but customers perceive you to be working off commission they treat you differently. They get offended when you’re too friendly, because they think it’s fake. They don’t want to feel like you’re forcing yourself to help them, and they often take genuine help as a sort of contrary–you can’t actually be helping them because you want to, can you? This is how far the simplicity of The Point has gone.

We no longer live in the purity of a system where we provide something you desire, and thus you purchase. We live in a system of competition, most often aganst other companies, but always against ourselves. With modern-technology, we question how many people have visited our stores day-to-day, week-to-week, and year-to-year. We scrutinize numbers, believing them to have the answers, like a Holy Grail. If in the age of mystery, legend, and magic, we could not find the often symbolic, mythical Holy Grail, we will definitely not find it in number crunching. Sure, we can contemplate how to get more customers into our stores. We can consider how to get more people to buy things, but in this process have we lost the Point? In all truth, have we lost the true Holy Grail, which was a simplicity of terms and ideals. It was not mystery and complexity, it was truth hidden before our very eyes. The magic is the fact its not hidden at all, its hidden in plain view.

The technological-age has given us and companies the idea that privacy no longer matters, that customers aren’t just customers while they are in the store, but anywhere and everywhere. We can argue our customers are wearing our clothes, and thus carrying our store with them–as conceited as that may sound. We can argue customers are thinking about our store, and having an online brand is essential to fulfill their needs at any time of the week, day or night. Are they our customers while they browse our websites? Maybe. Are they just our customers the moment they press the buy button? Surely.

The moment we ask customers to fill-out a survey, giving them our name, we lose the Point. If a customer deems our service so commendable to actually fill-out a survey, that should be entirely under their purview. In all honestly, our society and the people whom live within it have only learned to use surveys and reviews for personal uses, often as their own complain box. The impetus for a customer to write something positive is far smaller than it is to write a complain. If we could scale it, I’d say positives are worth pennies to customers, and complaints are worth dollars. They believe in the power of complaint and the smallest irritation is more reason to complain than great customer-service. Ask yourself, to you remember more the salesperson who finds everything you want, and gives you great customer-service or the one who doesn’t do it? Do you remember it because you expect this level of service, that you feel it should always be met and reached? And in all honestly, how often do you even receive this level of service anywhere you go? Yet, it persists in your mind. Yet, you still believe in this level of superior service, and don’t acknowledge the fact it happens far less than it should. Some people say we believe in luck as long as it happens at least once, even if it is one in every thousand. Do we believe in great customers service being the norm, too?

The moment we ask customers to sign-up for a credit card, we lose the Point. I can say any time a store asks me for a credit card, I can just reply with, “Do you have a credit card with this company?” Odds are, they will say no. Odds are, they’re trying to sell something they only ‘know’ about by reading and training. These people aren’t selling something they understand or use. This isn’t like clothing, where you can wear, relate, and communicate to customers to sell in something you believe in. On the rare occasion someone offers me a credit card and has on, we can have a real discussion. Otherwise, this is yet another conundrum retail has created for itself.

The moment we ask customers for an e-mail address, we lose the Point. Sure this is a new age, and a new step forward. We can now send receipts to customer e-mail addresses. Now they can never claim it has been lost–unless it’s a gift, which they’ll solve or have already solved. In the long-run, this will save more trees and create less trash in a world direly in need of eco-friendly methods and ideals. Yet, customers also know this is a step into the ‘privacy’ of their lives–will the receive unwanted e-mails now? Will your store intrude into their personal lives? Sure, you think they’ll think about your store more. Maybe you’ll get more customers to come in. Yet, do you have to ask them to give their e-mail to you? There are many ways to get e-mail addresses from customers, it is how and when you do so which makes a huge difference.

We do not ask for anything from customers, we never should. Our relationship is clear as water. We provide merchandise, we help them find what they want, we help them desire it, and we help them purchase it. The intimacy of that relationship ends then and there. Yes, customers become living advertisements for our clothes. Yes, they can use word of mouth. Yes, they are the power, the electricity that powers and keeps stores alive. Yet, they do so at their own feeling. They tell people because they want to. They’ll wear that perfect outfit when they feel like it. Do you not see, some companies will think of ways to force customers to share their ‘love’ with their friends, they’ll find ways to make customers wear their clothes. This is the greed, the want and the desire of the company, without putting into consideration the customer. This is where the clear water becomes muddied, thick, and filled with grease.

Those who truly understand the Point, these people carry the Holy Grail. This is the Galahad you want by your side. You want someone who understand to just help the customer find what they want. This salesperson will make the customer love what they want, because they love it, not because they have to. Not because they receive e-mails about discounts, not because their credit score is now under your influence, not because you give them the power to complain about your flaws. No, your Galahad will fulfill the needs of the customer and that is all you need. You don’t need to force-feed people to make them happy. Imagine a company whose entire wealth of popularity and fame is based on it’s customer-service–not slavery–but service. They don’t ask anything more form the customer than to see what they have, and to hopefully fall in love with it, and leave with bags of love. This is the company which will not fail. This is the company which shall survive. This is the company which desires to be reborn.

Policy, Say What?

July 21, 2010

I returned from a restless vacation, only for my first incident to be on the telephone…

“Hello, thank you for calling,” I say as kindly as usual–to which I’ve received compliments from people on how polite I am.
“Um, hello? Hi. Well, I have a question. I don’t know. You see, here, I bought a jacket for my daughter but it’s too small. And well, I have to see, I want to know, can I exchange it or something?”
I’m already thinking, looking around, “Oh no, I don’t want this phone call!” I calmly reply, “Of course, do you have the tag the item came with? We can check its availability.”
“Oh sure. I have it here.” Following the sound of ruffling and crunching, “Yes, here, I have it. What number do you want?”
I explain to her where the number is and she finds it. She rattles off the number like a phone number, you know, the ones where they blur it all together, so all you hear is, “Fourseveneighteightnine… Six, two.”
Closing my eyes tightly, I take a breath and ask her to repeat it, because I didn’t get the entire number. Of course, you know, she repeats it at the speed of snail. “Four… Seven…” I suddenly feel like I’m the dumb one in the conversation, which obviously she already believed to start with.
“Oh, this item is only available online currently, or in another state.”
“What does that mean? I can’t come in and pick it up from you?”
As she asks the inevitable question, and much of our conversation becomes stagnant and preemptive, I search for the price of the item, and it’s a super-cheap sale item. No wonder it’s not available anymore–we haven’t carried it in over a month.
“You can come in and exchange the item for something else.”
“No,” she raises her voice, “I want that jacket in a larger size! Where can I get it?”
“It is available online,” but I note there is less than two-dozen left, so she would need to act fast if she wants that specific size.
“So, I have to go online, and pay shipping fees to get this item?”
“Yes. If you do want that specific item.”
“No, are you saying I HAVE TO go and buy it online to get it?”
“It is only available online or in another state.”
“No, you aren’t answering my question!”
“Excuse me?”
She sighs loudly, yelling at me, “Can I speak to someone else! You don’t understand what I’m asking! I need a manager or something…”
My face turns red, and her exceedingly low-intelligence has just busted my last nerve. I tell her I am a manager, and ask her specifically what she’s asking, because she said she wants an item that isn’t available our store.
“I am asking if this is the policy!”
“The policy is that you can come into the store to return the item…”
“No! You aren’t answering my question! Is it the POLICY that I have to go online and order the item, if you don’t have it in the store?”
My eyes roll into my head. Who is this woman? Where is her mother? Because her mother needs something. It’s called a slap in the face.
“No, that is not the policy. Because we do not have the item, and you want the item, in order to buy the item you need to order it. There is no policy for that. If we don’t have the item, our policy is we can let you exchange the item for something else.”
“So how am I supposed to get the item!”
“You buy it online.”
“Oh. How much does that cost?”
For some reason, at this point she stops yelling at me and starts talking to me like a human being once again. I don’t understand at what point she suddenly became sane again. So we work through the process and eventually reach an understanding. She hangs up happily, and proceeds to call online to order the item. End of story.
Actually, no it isn’t. This woman reminded me so much of another encounter several months ago:
Angry Panties

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Deaf, Don’t Kill the Messanger, The Dumb, The Riddler

Find it, Find it!

July 10, 2010

I’m walking around, minding my own business; I’m also working, which means my business is dealing with customers.
“Excuse me,” a woman comes up behind me.
I greet her, and she says she’s interested in this shirt she saw. I walk with her to find the shirt, which is now on sale. She’s excited, asking me to please find it, because she wants it very badly. I search through our sale wall, but I find nothing. Nothing is in her size, and the mannequin is wearing a shirt too large. She asks me to check in the back, because she wants it really badly. If I need to, she also wants me to call other stores, just in case. She has to have it!
I search in the back, and there it is, hiding. I bring it back to her, triumphant. She cheers and claps. She’s so happy to have the shirt. She looks at it, finally holding the shirt we’ve been looking for. She looks at the price-tag and looks at me. How much is it?

I go to the register and scan the price. It’s about $30, and I tell her this.
She looks at me, looks at the shirt, then pushes it at me.
“Nevermind, I don’t want it.” Then, she leaves.

If I were a knight errand slaying a dragon for my princess, only to be rejected after I succeed in this titanic endeavor, I think I’d go princess slaying instead.

Customer Types: Capitalist, Micromanagement