Friday, May 27, 2011

Customer Service...Add the Respect, Hold the Attitude

"You are what you repeatedly do. Excellence is not an event--it is a habit."

I remember my first job as a teen like it was yesterday. My boss instilled that now foreign concept that the customer is always right. It was drilled into my head that no matter what I had going on in my personal life, I was to leave it at the door and focus on the customer's needs and making sure they were completely satisfied with the service. Apparently this mentality rarely exists in the workplace today.

On a recent shopping trip to a local discount store, I became increasingly frustrated and irate at the service--or lack thereof. The less than enthused clerk finally made her way to the front where I was not so patiently waiting to pay for my items. When she emerged from supposedly stocking shelves somewhere, she was deep in conversation on her cell phone. She did not even acknowledge my presence as she began to scan my items. Continuing to drone on to the very important person on her mobile, I had to look at the register screen to see my total instead of her telling me. I handed her some bills without any words. She finally told the recipient of her phone conversation to wait a second while she counted back my change. I apologized for interrupting her phone call and retreated to the door grumbling and vowing to never shop there again.

On a separate shopping excursion with my sister the other day, the individual checking us out, while not on the phone, made no attempt at eye contact or conversation as he keyed in our purchases amidst labored breathing. As we left the store, my sister turned to me and said, "Well...he had the personality of a snowpea."

In today's economy, you would think businesses would train their employees to go out of their way to be cheerful and make the customers feel like they've been treated with the utmost respect. Instead, the notion of good customer service has become a lost art, which in turn increases my desire to want to shop from the comfort of home on the Internet.

Currently, I am not only a seller on ArtFire (my favorite online marketplace), but I am a buyer as well!! My favorite part of shopping on ArtFire (besides the wonderful handmade products) is the customer service. The extra mile that the ArtFire members go to ensure a pleasant shopping experience is nothing less than first class! From the initial contact and various email correspondence to the unique and personalized packaging and sometimes free samples of the artist's other products, I look forward with great delight to every order and subsequently anticipating arrival of the purchase. Not only that, but I can guarantee they will get my repeat business!!

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Trekster said...

And another thing.... why does WallyWorld maintain a total of 36 checkout lanes and then never have any more than 2 or 3 open at any one time with long lines at each of them?

Anonymous said...

This should be required reading for everyone in training for a job in the service industry. Artfire can set the standard.