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Patience is a virtue
In the store I work at, the #1 rule is “the customer never waits.” With the amount of corporate workers I’ve talked to (those who make the rules), they have never experienced our line of work in retail. Typically, they make the rules based on experience as an unsatisfied customer, or surveys they’ve studied. They’re pretty much just as naive as the consumer.
In retail, those who aren’t working at a register are stocking shelves. They’re stuck on the floor answering questions for customers, checking for price checks, sometimes backing up a register when the store gets busy, and… stocking shelves.
Some days my store would get very busy and I’m running back and forth between my department, stocking shelves, and answering questions for customers. Customers don’t understand that I have other people waiting, or in the middle of a task, so when I can’t answer questions or fix issues as fast as they want, I’m stuck with irritated customers. It’s very sad that most people I deal with on a day to day basis are very selfish and rude, which makes the job worse than it has to be.
For example, the store was very busy and I was helping 3 customers. Customer #1 wanted me to check the stock room for an item that wasn’t on the shelves. As I was walking to the stock room, customer #2 approached me needing help to search for an item. As I started to help him, customer #3 approached me, yelled at me, and demanded I go to my department to help her. As I stood there getting yelled at, customer #2 insisted that I call for the manager, saying that I’m not listening nor helping. So, I walked towards the phone to page the manager, then customer #1 approached and asked, “have you found the item?” I responded, “I’m sorry but I was bombarded by other customers while on my way to look for the item.” Customer #3 began screaming at me, saying that I better help and she expects fast service. I just paged the manager and had them assist customer #2. I also asked them to talk to customer #3 while I assisted #1. Then I went back to help #3, who was very ungrateful of my service. I even gave customer #3 50% off of her photo order because she was unsatisfied, although she didn’t deserve it. My manager approached me saying I handled the situation well, but customer #2 and #3 insisted I be fired for my “attitude” and way of handling customer service.
I deal with people like this almost every day and it makes the job very difficult. Although the customer is our main concern, they need to understand that not everything can be addressed in a hastily manner. Customers have approached me with the thought that I ignore them, or that I’m out to ruin their day, because I can’t address their issue or help them right away.
The words, “I’ll be with you in a moment” irritates customers tremendously that it leads to them getting angry and sometimes screaming at employees. The company I work for demands we never say that to a customer, and we must provide the service as fast as possible. I could blame the company for such a rule, but the customer encourages that sort of inadequacy. 3 Customers can approach us at the same time, and we must provide perfect customer service for all. 2 out of the 3 customers will get angry and scream at the employee, because they have to wait for the one customer. The only thing we can do is take in the insults, and go on with our lives. It’s extremely condescending and inconsiderate.
This is why customer service hates you.
"There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question"
Actually, there is and I receive them most of the time (not saying all to give the other ratio of customers the benefit of the doubt). Usually, the answer to the question is right under a customer’s nose. Asking me stupid questions doesn’t matter to them because they have nothing to lose. I’m not their friend. They probably won’t ever see me or talk to me again after that conversation. I can’t count how many times a customer has asked, “Excuse me! Where can I find batteries?” and I answer, “Right behind you!”
Although my day thrives on a customer’s question, my answers feel programmed. I should start to carry a multi-track voice recorder, and have it respond, “it’s right behind you,” “please check the flyer for the weekly sale,” “passport photos are $8.99. It says so right above me,” “The SD card goes in the only slot that says enter SD card here.’” and my favorite, “to start, just press where it says ‘to begin, please press here.’”
There are many times when I’ve heard a customer ask, “excuse me! what’s on sale this week?” Pick up a sales flyer at the front of the store, and it’ll give you all the information you need to know. The first day of the sale is typically when the question is asked. All employees are mostly as clueless as you are. It’s not their responsibility to study a flyer, for you. The customer always receives a flyer three days before the sale begins. Some pick it up a week before.
It isn’t until you start working in customer service or retail, that you realize the ridiculous things you are asked or do for customers. It’s extremely frustrating and you wish customers would just try for once.
Customers are better off saving their questions, until they have something insightful to ask. Save us the time and effort of making fun of you in the long run. Look around the stores for signs that point you to the right direction. Usually, they’re right!
This is why customer service hates you!
Everyday we put on our fake smiles, and deal with the condescending nature of the consumer. Our job is to satisfy every customers’ needs and provide them with any information proving that they are always correct and we are nothing. Unfortunately, they are ungrateful of our duties. We are overworked, under-payed, and still the consumer doesn’t give us the respect we deserve.
The nature of our action (this blog) is to provide the consumer with the correct manner of appreciating customer service. We are the ones who stock your shelves, provide you with answers, support your consumer needs, find the products you are too lazy to search for, change the prices on products that are too expensive for you, ring up the products, as well as the coupons you overuse, and take the bullshit no one else will deal with.
This is why customer service hates you!