It seems like every day new customer frustrations arise; I swear I never hear about the amazing customer service stories anymore. Frankly, I don’t think there are that many in the naked city.
A friend was telling me about her experience with ordering new glasses. The place: a national chain. The customer: a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is personality, but very nice.
In the course of the transaction, the salesperson owed her 10 cents change. The salesperson remarked to my friend that she didn’t have the right change – in other words, no 10 cents. The frustrated salesperson didn’t seem to have anything else to say, so my friend decided to jump in and help her out.
“So,” she asked, “what do we do about my 10 cents?” This seemed like a logical customer question.
The salesperson replied, “I really don’t know what to do.”
Thinking it might be helpful to offer another scenario to the salesperson, my friend asked, “If the difference was 50 dollars what would you do?”
Her thought process: Maybe the numbers were too small. Why didn’t the salesperson just offer to give her the 25 cents back? This seemed to be even more upsetting, so the salesperson said she was calling the manager.
Now my friend was starting to feel uncomfortable. Why couldn’t she just have her quarter back and then start over? The salesperson told the manager she was upset and didn’t know how to fix the problem.
The manager replied, “I have a headache, so why don’t you give the customer the quarter back, and let’s be done with this?” The salesperson again told the manager how upset she was. The manager replied that, if she was that upset, she should go home.
At this point, my friend had had enough, so she decided to add her two cents. “It’s not the 10 cents or the quarter, why do we have to go through this for me to get my change? All she had to do was give me the quarter back and you would have been 15 cents short.” This met with a look of distain from both the salesperson and the manager, and my friend was really feeling like the bad guy and maybe even a little nuts.
She continued explaining to me: “All I was trying to do was to show the salesperson that it wasn’t that difficult; she just needed to think. I was beginning to realize that I was probably not welcome in the store, and I was beginning to look like a crazy customer—all over 10 cents! Again I tried to explain, it’s not the 10 cents it’s the principle. Damn, I didn’t need the change anyway. It was best I got out of there before I caught a headache.”
The big customer question: Why didn’t the salesperson know what to do? Couldn’t she have looked for a dime in her purse? Hadn’t that happened before?
Shouldn’t a store train their salespeople on common problems, i.e. making change?
I know you probably think this is a made up story, but why make up stories when the real ones are so great?
Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses managing the customer’s experience for over 20 years. To have her work with your employees or speak at your business she can be reached through her email, Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518-495-5380, EST.