Posts Tagged With: customer service

Don’t bite our heads off, please…

Over the years I’ve worked in quite a few different places within retail. Most days I love being around people. They give me so much food for thought. Even though I’ve had the pleasure to work with electronics (I love me some gadgets) and books (well you know how I feel about those), I have to say that working with glasses has so far been the one that I’ve enjoyed the most. I think the biggest reason for that is that my job is to actually help people that needs it. It’s not about selling a lot of things that people don’t need, It’s about helping them to actually see! I love it!

But this post was not supposed to be a gush of my love for the optical industry. It’s a plea to a few of you customers out there.

For the customer that yells at us when we ask when you’re born. For the ones who fumes and curses when they have to wait a few minutes to get help. For those who slam their fists on the counter when their product didn’t arrive on time. Those who curse and scream and threatens.

I get it! You have certain expectations, so do I. But sometimes it feels like the expectations that are set for serviceminded people in retail can be beyond ridiculous. Want to know a secret? We’re only humans, just like you.

We have our off days. We try our best to not let it show, but sometimes our best just doesn’t do the trick. Sometimes we falter in the areas that we normally succeed in. It’s life after all.

We get sick. So when you have to stand in line because there’s only one person working in the store, don’t forget that the person standing there could’ve already been working hours overtime trying to do the work usually done by two or more.

We are here to help you. Yes, that much I’m guessing you already knew. That however, does not mean that you can bully and boss us around. We genuinely want to help, and to give you the best experience possible, but we also expect to be treated like an equal. We put a lot of work and training into what we do, even though it is “just retail”.

The customer isn’t always right. I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but someone had to.

I’ve had customers screaming in my face when I tried (calmly) to tell them the rules of warranties and tax refunds. Rules that I could point out and show them, and still they yelled at me and told me I needed to learn to do my job better, just because I couldn’t give them the answer they wanted. I’ve had customers that said such cruel things to me (completely unprovoked) that I ended up crying afterwards. I’ve also had customers that felt it was okay to stare at my body instead of making eye contact while I was talking to them. I’ve gotten sexist jokes thrown my way more times than I can count.

Working in retail and with people can be overwhelming at times. And constantly being surrounded by strangers that demand your full attention can be hard.

So when you feel frustrated; Talk to us. Ask us your questions. Listen to the answers you’ll receive. Don’t bully, and don’t be rude.

Please, do not bite our heads off. Most likely, we are just trying to help.

To end this post on a more positive note; I want to mention how grateful I am to have received so many smiles, kind words, baked goods, flowers and hugs from customers over the years. Those are the moments that I choose to hold on to. I’ve learned so much about business, psychology, human behaviour, kindness, gratitude, and heard so many amazing stories from wonderful people. People I probably wouldn’t have crossed paths with if it weren’t for my years being out on the floor in the business of retail.

It’s been a very interesting journey, and one that I’m still enjoying very much!

Be nice to one another. I guess that’s the message I’m trying to get through here.

Lots of love,

Christina ❤️

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Categories: I was thinking about, My own writing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear British Airways

Our relationship started a short while back and I had to say that when we first met, Friday a week ago, I was very pleasantly surprised. You made everything so easy and comfortable for me, and when it was time for food, you were thoughtful about my preferences. I was met with smiles and good fun, and I thought to myself that this could be the start of a long lasting relationship.

I even missed you when I had to get a ride from your friend American Airlines for the majority of my way back home yesterday. When I got to Heathrow though, I could see that we were scheduled to be reunited once more, if only for the couple of hours it would take me to get from London to Oslo. I was looking forward to it, I really was!

Then you stood me up. I waited and waited. For hours I sat around, just hoping to at least hear from you. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, I had to hear from a third party that you were delayed because of some technical issues. That’s okay, shit happens! So I settled myself with a coffee and my book, and kept on waiting. The rumours started spreading throughout Terminal 5 about you standing us up completely, so after reading a couple of chapters I went looking for someone who could give me more information.

It took a while to even find anyone who could actually answer my questions, but when I found that person, I was told that things were very uncertain. The only thing she could tell me for sure was that our date was definitely cancelled. After seven hours of waiting I got in the line (that hardly moved) to get help from your coworkers. I knew that the chances of getting a ride home that day wasn’t going to happen, but at least they would have to help me find a place to sleep, right?

After standing in line for an hour and a half though, a female friend of yours came up to us and told us that standing in that line wouldn’t do any good. All they could do when one got up to the counter was answering questions about rebooking and reimbursement. We would all have to stand in a new looooong line just to be able to get out of the airport, then we’d have to find a place to sleep and try to get in touch with you the next morning.

I was overwhelmed, jet lagged and utterly exhausted. I ended up calling my mom in tears, telling her that I had no idea how or when I would be able to get home to Norway, and even worse I struggled to just find a place to spend the night. I had a mini-breakdown right there in Terminal 5, because I felt so stood up and left out to dry.

You weren’t there and I felt like event though we’d spent some good times together, I no longer mattered to you.

That being said, the friends of yours that I did get in touch with at the airport they tried the best they could to lift my spirit. They gave me the help they could, even though it wasn’t much. And I feel bad for all of them, as well as all of us travellers.

When all of this is settled, I think I’m going to have to reconsider our future relationship.

The fact of the matter is this:

I’m angry and very disappointed. Not for the fact that some power surge ended up with me being stranded in London for who knows how long. Not for the fact that I’m here, and I have no idea where my luggage is. The reason why this is getting to me is the utter and complete lack of communication. There were children all over the airport crying and asking about when they would be able to go on their long awaited holiday. People who’d been away from their family and friends for months, just trying to get home. Old people who couldn’t stand in line for hours just to get information.

I looked around and saw plenty of speakers throughout the airport. Why on earth were we not given any kind of general information through those? Why did we all have to seek out airport staff to get the minimal amount of information that they had been given? Like I said; Shit happens! I get it! You can’t be prepared for everything, but at least help us out when you screw up. Give some kind of information so that people know what they should be doing.

So, what now?

I honestly don’t know much. I stranded in London. Luckily there was an available private room at St. Christopher’s Inn (the hostel I stayed in last time I was in London), so I have a place to stay. They won’t let me get my luggage, so now I have to go and get some clothes and toiletries for today and tomorrow. I can’t get through to British Airways’ customer service line, and they’ve told us to not show up at the airport. The only thing I know is that I won’t get home until earliest tomorrow, but I might have to stay here until Tuesday.

So I’m pretty much stranded, but at least I’m in one of my favorite citys. The sun is out and life is too short to stay mope around, so I’m going to go and lay down with a book in Hyde Park, keep trying to get a hold of British Airways on the phone, and pretend that I’m just still on holiday.

Life is a journey, not a destination, and sometimes the journey takes us on completely different paths than what you expected.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Sunday!

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Categories: Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

You are not the most important person in the world!

I strongly believe that everyone is unique in their own way and can never be replaced. You are important to the ones that loves you!

Now that I’ve gotten that out the way I’m going to have a late night rant about rude people.

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I was waiting in line at a café today when a customer came up to the desk where a lovely girl with a big smile welcomed him as a returning costumer. He asked about a certain beverage and she apologised and told him that they still hadn’t gotten it in. It was a juice box of some sorts. This man then flew into a rage about how this should have been fixed a long time ago, that this was the worst customer service he’d ever gotten and that he was getting really angry (thank you, captain obvious!). The girl behind the desk apologised yet again (in the most professional way) and this man didn’t even take the time to hear her words. He stormed (or rather stomped) off in rage. This brought me back to when I worked as a barista some years ago (and to any other job I’ve had. They all revolve around customer service) and I remember specific episodes where I was yelled at, called stupid and where I felt scared. All of these customers were the kind that got angry because something didn’t turn out exactly like they pictured it.

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If you’ve ever had a similar job, you know the type. Let’s just call them “The Impossible Customer”. The ones that are never happy. They never get what they want, when they want it. They find any kind of stupid little detail (of no importance at all) that they can complain about. And they lash out at you if there’s something they don’t understand themselves.

The Impossible Customer will say the most ridiculous thing to break you down so that they seem superior and smarter. I’ve heard them tell me thing’s that were just plain wrong, tell out right lies and even called me the most awful names.

As someone who values good customer service, it is important for me to provide it as well. But there’s something that needs to be said. You shouldn’t have to take undeserving crap from The Impossible Customer.

They can be unhappy as much as they like, but that doesn’t justify bullying. Yes, bullying. Because there aren’t just teens and kids that are bullies, some grownups are just as bad and even worse. And it is unacceptable!!

If you see someone being bullied by a customer, speak up! If you aren’t able to do so, give the bullied person some supportive words when it’s your turn to speak to him or her.

The Impossible Customer might be rich and all that, but they are also the ones who will spread venom around them. They will intoxicate the environment they’re in unless they change their attitude.

There will always be Impossible Customers out there. Their problems are within themselves so don’t be discouraged by their hateful words and negative criticism. Do your job as good as you can and constantly aspire to be even better. And if that isn’t good enough for The Impossible Customer, then you’ve done all that you could have.

Have pride in your work and don’t let The Impossible Customer get you down! Take a deep breath, close your eyes and remember those happy and grateful customers. The ones that always comes back to you because they want to! Those are The Important Customers. Those are the ones that counts!

The Impossible Customer might believe that they’re the most important person in the world, but we all know that it’s not even close to the truth. And maybe that’s why they’re so angry, because they know it too.

 

 

 

 

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