my personal blog

October 5, 2005

The Annotated Guide to Customer Service

Filed under: rants,work — Alfonso Surroca @ 8:46 am

Below is a recent AP article which I've taken the liberty of annotating:

Annoying Quotes From Sales Clerks Listed
By The Associated Press
Wed Oct 5, 6:44 AM ET

"Uh, that's not my department." Ever hear that in a store? Did visions of fiendish violence against the clerk flash through your mind? "Not my department" topped the list of Most Annoying Words from Salesperson's Mouth, cited by 29 percent, in a poll of shopping mall customers by a retail consulting firm.

In a large store, people are trained for and work a specific department. And if the words "that's not my department" send "visions of fiendish violence against the clerk" through the customer's mind, then how do you expect the employee to go out of his/her way to accomodate someone who obviously has a mental disease, a latent homocidal bent, or is just a fucking asshole?

No. 2? The classic, "If it's not on the rack, we don't have it." That golden oldie was cited by 25 percent.

Guess what? When it's ont on the rack, we don't have it. It's a little something called just-in-time shipping that most major retailers practice, whereby we recieve enough merchandise to put out on the rack and have virtually nothing in the stock room. It's called cost-cutting, and your neighborhood register jockee has nothing to do with it and no control over it

"That's the policy," "I'm on a break," "Ask the person over there," "I'm new here," "You'll have to wait your turn" and "The computer is down" rounded out the list.

Mom and Pop shops are basically dead. When you violate a policy, you're violating a corporate policy and because as a register clerk, you're the bottom of the food chain, you'll probably get fired. Now, tell me again, with that said, why would an employee go around company policy to accomodate a customer when it could mean his/her job?

And if you're not next in line, yes, you have to wait your turn. You're not any more special than any other customer and don't deserve special treatment. Oh, and yes, computers will go down. And when they go down, so reliant are we on modern technology that things won't work. And if you think that's annoying for the customers, it's ten times more annoying to the employees.

The survey involved 230 shoppers at U.S. malls, conducted by Ridgewood, N.J.-based MOHR Access.

Yet, fortunately, times are changing. Many retailers are aiming to get their floor clerks "to take personal responsibility for the customers' experience," said Michael Patrick, MOHR Access president.

Let's see. Floor clerks have "to take personal responsibility for the customers' experience", except, they get paid minimum wage or close to minimum wage, get little or no benefits, no rewards or recognition, have district people riding their asses for no reason, even when they are doing excellent work, and work with no job security. Want better customer service? Fucking pay for it, you cheap motherfuckers!

I think I'm beginning to get "visions of fiendish violence" against this Micheal Patrick guy.

"What's really needed is to get employees committed … to do their best, even when nobody's looking or listening," he said.

That's true. But, contrary to popular belief amongst cusomters, employees at retail stores are not doing this as community service out of the goodness of their hearts. It's their fucking job, and when they are barely given the resources or incentives to assist customers while the folks up at the top keep dreaming up new duties and requirements employees never signed up for when they filled out their job application, what the hell do you expect? Great customer service, or disgruntled employees to worried about looking for a new job to focus on customers?

source: AP via Yahoo! News

technorati tags: article, annotation, customerservice, rant, work

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