Thursday, October 14, 2010

Customer Service

Customer Service:  what is it?  Do you have it?

I will be the first to admit we don't do it perfectly.  Any one of us at will admit there have been times that we have been short with a customer, less than helpful or plain un-helpful.   It is not something  we are proud of, but know that we are human.  It is something we constantly talk about, look for resources about and ask the others to keep us in check about.

I was beyond shocked, however, when a customer told my husband (and business partner) that one of our competitors yelled and cursed (using the two foulest words, in my opinion, that you could use with anyone) at him.   I do not consider myself a prude.  I am not easily offended by foul language.  I have even been known to use foul language.  But not AT someone and never at a customer.  Even when I did ask someone who was in our store to leave (he was not a customer; he was actually a contractor who was behaving inappropriately in front of a customer and her child) and was hot under the collar and probably red-faced, I managed to keep my composure, not raise my voice and repeat that he needed to leave.

Again, I will admit, it is sometimes hard to smile and be nice when you are being yelled at or cursed by a customer.  But take the high road.  Stand your ground, ask politely, then insist, if they get out of control, but I can't imagine what could be going on that I would ever yell or curse. 

By the way, my husband told me this story after I commented that I guessed customer service today consists of an employee pointing and saying "they're over there," when you ask for assistance.  I have walked out of more than one store recently because I asked for assistance and was pointed across the room and no further help was forthcoming.

Again, I go over with this our little sales group.  How do we treat customers?  Do we greet them as they come in the door?  Do we offer assistance?  Do we allow them space if they want to browse?  Do we offer to carry the vacuum out to their car?  Even if it was a vacuum they brought in but decided not to get repaired?  Do we thank them for coming in?  Do we ask if we've done all we can do for them?  I hope so.  I also hope if we don't, you will let us know. 

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