All Articles Tagged "customer service"
Have you ever gotten bad service at a restaurant? Didn’t get what you expected when you bought a product? You could complain, but you need to know how to complain correctly in order to get what you want.
According to U.S. News & World Report (via MSN), there are four steps to take:
1. Write it down: Have a written record of what happened. This, notes U.S. News, “allows you to organize your thoughts into a powerful argument. It also allows you to put both the damage and your requested solution into proper perspective.” You will also have all the details on hand when you need them.
2. Stick with the facts: Don’t exaggerate. “If you have the facts on your side, your case is much stronger,” states the article. “You’ll begin by stating what happened: what was promised to you and who made the promise; what was delivered and how it differed from the promise. Be clear on how the promise differed from the results.” Make sure all the details are precise.
3. Know who can resolve your complaint: Complaining to the wrong person will get you nowhere. Always ask for a supervisor or manager—someone who can make decisions. Sometimes it isn´t easy, however, to get to the right person. “That might take some detective work, such as a phone call to the store to find out the manager’s name or an Internet search to identify the CEO. But be realistic when you choose your problem solver,” reports U.S. News. “A $10 problem should be resolved by the store manager, not a corporate officer.”
4. Know what you want: Don’t just complain for complaining’s sake. Complain to get what you want. “Unless your goal is just to be heard, know exactly what you want to resolve the matter. Are you looking for a replacement product? A refund? An apology from the company?” according to U.S. News. And be prepared to negotiate. You may simply ask and receive, but you may have to settle for less. “Know in advance what the minimum is that would make you happy,” the article advises.
“You don’t just show up and sell something,” Edgar Smith Jr., CEO of World Pac Paper tells BlackEnterprise.com. Making the sale is like making a product — it’s a “process.”
Smith proceeds to lay out the eight steps to closing the deal. As with most things, start with a plan. Then think ahead to what the customer is likely going to ask.
“What particular needs and/or solutions will be discussed? What is the ideal prospect or customer commitment that you would like to gain? Is there a minimum acceptable commitment?” are some of the questions.
By the time you get to step eight, the sale should be in the bag.
“You’ve got to confirm any and all agreements and mutual commitments around that opportunity and that business, and then you work towards the actual implementation, developing, and executing of the plan and reviewing the results against mutually agreed upon measures, or metrics, of success,” says Smith.
For more, check out the entire story on BlackEnterprise.com.
Well this deal turned out to be a bust.
Southwest Airlines held a Facebook promotion on Friday to celebrate its three millionth Facebook “like.” To commemorate this non-event, the airline offered a 50 percent discount to travelers who booked on seven specific days with the promo code “LUV2LIKE.”
Of course, people rushed the site to take advantage of the discount. However, that led to what the company calls a “website performance issue” that led to tons of people being charged multiple times for their tickets. One man named John Seymour wrote on the company’s Facebook page, “I had $4000 limit on my card, I now have zero available because of 25 confirmations.”
Another woman, Bella Ventresca, said she received “36 confirmations” totaling $7,000 in just two hours.
Some people praised the airline for its quick response. Others said their credit card companies had to take action in the face of some obviously suspicious activities and criticized the company for being inaccessible during the brouhaha. Still, the company declares that the issue has been resolved, no doubt in order to quickly move past the gaffe. According to the airline, refunds are being issued, anyone who got slapped with any overdraft charges should send them the paperwork to be reimbursed, and they took a moment to pat themselves on the back, giving all the credit to the speedy response of their employees.
Will you still fly on Southwest?
The Grio has been focusing on black-owned businesses and, more specifically, some of the issues facing these companies. One of the common complaints that the author, Lawrence Watkins, saw across social media in response to his story is this: “Customer service is terrible with black-owned businesses.”
“Although this is definitely not true for many black businesses, it is an area in which we need to pay special attention,” writes Watkins. Good customer service breeds more business and customer loyalty, he continues. People who are “very satisfied” are more likely to come back and spread the word to others about the quality of the service.
The story lays out the barriers to good customer service: stressed out owners and workers who wear a number of different hats; arguing with customers in “tense situations”; and a failure to go the extra mile beyond the sale, giving the customer a good experience overall.
It ought to be said that any of these issues could plague a business owned by anyone from any background. But the fact is if there’s a perception that black businesses specifically are more prone to these issues, it could preclude that business’ success.
Is this an undeserved reputation for black-owned businesses? And please take to the comments to talk up the great customer experiences you’ve had with a black-owned business.
This weekend I had one of the most unsuccessful moves ever in life—and consequently stories for days—but all was not lost, unlike the time I spent trying to call moving companies after I was bailed on twice. I came away from my excursion learning one valuable thing: I need to get a job at Ikea because the people that work there don’t. do. ish. On top of that, I started engaging in a legitimate mental debate regarding the level of service I did not receive which left me asking this, which workers are worse, TSA agents or Ikea staffers?
The reason TSA workers came to mind is because I’ve always been curious why every TSA worker no matter the city or state seems to be cut from the same rude cloth. Every time I fly, I come across agents of the same ilk—nasty, pushy, impolite, sarcastic, and of the general mind frame that their day would be much better if you, as in the passenger that ensures they get to eat and have a roof over their heads, wasn’t there in the airport. This weekend as I flew from Detroit to New York I remember being pleasantly surprised by the time I got my final things off the security conveyor belt—there was no foolishness. No one smacked their mouth, huffed, puffed, or berated the passengers through the line, and unfortunately that was a rare occurrence because I couldn’t even recall another time where I hadn’t gotten to my gate and literally shaken my head at the lack of service extended to people spending hundreds of dollars to go from one destination to another.
I can easily recall the worst display of service I’d ever seen though. I can’t remember the airport but once there was a woman who didn’t want to go through the new x-ray machines and so she wanted to have the extended pat-down. When one agent referred the message to the one who would actually be doing it, they huffed and remarked that there’s always one and proceeded to complain about having to do more work and why the woman was dumb for not going through the machine, and on and on, and on. The passenger was just within an earshot and eventually remarked, “I can hear you.” Do you think they cared? Please, they looked at her and said, “We know” and continued the conversation with no regard for her or their jobs. At that point, I conceded the TSA has to be last in the world in terms of customer service, but after making my second major Ikea hall in the last year this Saturday, I’m thinking their staff could give the TSA a run for their money. A quick Google search will tell you many people agree.
Admittedly, the first time I went into an Ikea store I was totally ignorant, and I do mean totally. I showed up with a printout of the items I wanted and thought someone was going to pull those things for me. Ha! If there was one finger lifted by an Ikea worker that day it was the index one, pointing me in the direction of the showroom floor so I could have at it all by my lonesome. This meant picking up boxes, that in my opinion require a lifting belt and the assistance of someone who does this for a living, but at Ikea you better come ready to work because the actual staff will not.
During my very first trip I had to get a bed, mattress, box spring, couch, entertainment center, and other odds and ends. If you’re familiar with this Swedish den of manual labor, you already know those boxes are nowhere near light, most items come in more than one package, and those carts aren’t that big. So, after I had filled one cart, I asked whether someone might be able to assist me with the others things I needed off the shelves since a) I couldn’t see over or around my cart at this point, b) I really wasn’t interesting in being found smashed under a pile of lumbar, and c) I thought the desk indicating a help center was literal. I was told by a crew member that I should go checkout with the items I had, leave them chilling somewhere on the sidelines once they were purchased and hope no one ran off with them, and then go back and get the rest of my things if I had more to purchase. Seriously? After coaxing, i.e. begging, another worker to help me and promising it would be quick, I managed to purchase my things in one fell swoop. But after my experience this weekend, I’ve learned customer service just isn’t the Ikea way.
My item list was much smaller this time around but with every product coming in two or three boxes, my cart was getting stacked quickly. Again I found myself asking for assistance, just to put a box on top of all of my others not to actually shop for me. The worker I approached looked at me and said, “Someone should be on that aisle.” And if they aren’t ? I thought as I made my way over to the aisle and sure enough found that they weren’t (as suspected). Ironically, as I struggled to lift something more than 50 pounds while simultaneously trying to keep my cart from rolling away from me, that same worker came down the aisle I was in. Do you think he stopped to assist? Negative. He walked by me with a look on his face that said “good luck” and kept it moving.
The people on the showroom floor aren’t the only ones who are a trip. I’m really not even sure why there are employees stationed at computers in every home section because nine times out of 10, they are going to pretend like they don’t hear you, give you a one-word answer to a complicated query, or respond to you with an attitude seemingly asking, why are you bothering me, as if their yellow and blue striped shirts and nametags didn’t answer that question.
I understand certain things are outside of the realm of one’s job duties but why are you even there if you’re not going to help at all. Is that supposed to be a tease? Do they not see women lifting extremely heavy things by themselves as a liabiliy of some sort regardless of it being a warehouse? Not to mention we’ve all witnessed employees from other retailers who take the service aspect of being a customer service worker at least literally, if not above and beyond to actually help shopping customers. Not at Ikea. I can’t even count how many people I watched struggle in the loading dock to put things in their car as employees—with lifting belts—stood by and watched with no sympathy or inclination to offer a lifting hand. That’s not just a personality thing, that’s a store culture issue going on there that I feel is aimed toward getting people to just pay that $99 delivery fee and be done with it. Or perhaps their workers are just trained at the same place as the TSA agents. I thought that even more so as I found the security guard making sure I didn’t steal anything catching a ‘tude with me. Initially he thought I only had the couple items in my hand, then when I said I had also purchased the cart full of things behind me he smacked his mouth, widened his eyes and said, “dang” as he regrettably checked my purchases. It took everything in me not to remind him that if I could lift all that stuff and put it on a cart by myself, surely he could manage to count items on a receipt and make sure the number was equal to the amount on my cart. It’s not rocket science so in other words, chill bruh.
The bottom line is, to my knowledge there’s only one area of Ikea that is self-serve so why no one outside of that area thinks to offer any assistance when requested is beyond me. I’m thinking it’s probably because Ikea already knows it has its customers right where they want them. As long as you can furnish an entire apartment with modern things for under $1,000 people will keep putting up with the lip-smacking, neck-jerking, an eye-rolling self-service, the same way we do with flying until someone comes up with a better intervention to get us across the country swiftly without someone going off because we have a certain preference or don’t fly the non-friendly skies every day. Le sigh. I guess some things are just par for the course.
What retailer or industry do you think has the worst customer service across the board?
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Not long ago, I was sitting at a local bar enjoying a quick bite with a friend. As he and I dished about life and sports as guy and gal pals do, a lady comes over to our table and she says to me, “You’re beautiful.” Flattered by her words, I tell her thank you and let her know that I really appreciate the compliment. I intend to get back to the conversation with my friend, but she continues. “And you’re very graceful. I noticed you when you first walked in. Are you a dancer? You have the body of a dancer.” At this point, I’m still flattered but I’m definitely getting a little uneasy. I politely thank her again, and let her know that I am in no way a dancer and that I could only dream to have the body of one. Surely our quick exchange would be over at this point and I’d be able to go on with the conversation I was clearly having when she walked over. Yet, she continues: “May I ask what kind of skin care products you use?”
It is at that point it hits me and I could hear the voice of Florida Evans crying out in the background, “Damn, damn, damn!!!”…I’ve been caught by a freakin’ Mary Kay lady.
Is it just me, or are Mary Kay consultants highly aggressive? As the young lady starts to explain to me that she owns her own Mary Kay business and would love to talk more about the products the company offers, I know instantly that it will NOT be easy to get rid of her. Even after explaining to her that not only do I rarely wear make up but that I also have a really simple and natural skin care regimen that doesn’t involve a lot of products, she refuses to give up. Now, I’m the kind of girl who rarely gives out my information. I think long and hard about giving my number out even to men I’m actually interested in. But the Mary Kay lady walked away with my phone number and email address. That’s how aggressive she was.
I can think of at least three other separate occasions when I have been borderline accosted, in very similar fashion, by Mary Kay consultants. Walking down the street, shopping, dining out, I’ve been blindsided by members of the pink brigade while doing all of these things. It always starts out innocently, usually with a compliment, and just when you start feeling yourself and plan to give a quick “thank you” and strut off—they go in for the hard sale. They do not take no for an answer.
I recently found out that I’m not alone. A number of my friends have had very similar experiences with consultants. In fact, one friend compared the tenacity of some Mary Kay business owners to that of followers of a certain religious faith who are usually very eager to share their beliefs. We’ve decided that of the two, Mary Kay is definitely more aggressive. They’re gangsta. I respect it, but I’m simply not about that life.
While I’ve decided to, henceforth and forevermore, run in the opposite direction when a Mary Kay lady makes her presence known, I know that the company offers some very positive incentives for women. Mary Kay allows women to go into business for themselves and to do so in a way that affords them the flexibility that many other careers fail to offer. In an economy as tough as the one we’re currently enduring, that’s nothing to smirk at. Consultants are able to take advantage of a 50 percent discount on products, making a 50 percent profit on all products sold. There are leadership opportunities that allow women to transition into director positions and help other consultants build their businesses. And we all know about the infamous pink Cadillacs that Mary Kay Consultants can earn; add diamonds and luxurious trips to the list of enticing incentives as well.
For some, a Mary Kay business may be just what the doctor ordered. Lots of people are searching for the perfect way to create additional streams of income for themselves. For me, I’ve been scarred and I am indeed scared. I like to tell a woman she is beautiful and keep it moving, but that doesn’t seem to be the Mary Kay way. Eh, different strokes for different folks I suppose. Since I have yet to find a successful way to emerge from an encounter with a Mary Kay consultant without giving her some sort of information, I’m just going to try to avoid these saleswomen at all costs. What about you?
Have you been in any situations when you’ve come unsuspectingly face to face with a Mary Kay lady? How did it go? If you are a Mary Kay lady, have you enjoyed your experience working with the company thus far?
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.
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Good evening customer service employees of the world,
You know, it wasn’t long ago that I worked in retail. I know the struggle of the customer service worker trying to make a little money (post college, I was trying to make as much as possible actually) and maintain as much dignity as possible. I had spent most of high school and college waltzing around in itchy dress pants trying to sell overpriced cheap jewelry at Claire’s, risking my life trying to pull down California King sized comforters for ungrateful customers at Linens-n-Things, and trying to let women know that the bra that was giving them double boob DOES NOT fit at Victoria’s Secret. I had been called stupid, been made to think that selling bright sweats to spoiled teenagers in the suburbs was the best I would do with my life, and had enough panties that weren’t on sale thrown at me as a cashier to know that dignity was a hard think to keep intact as a customer service worker. But despite all that, I worked for my little minimum wage and didn’t let people keep me from giving good service, getting promotions and getting paid at my gigs. Maybe that’s why I’m so confused/perturbed about the alleged customer service I’ve been seeing lately from folks. Girl at Aldo, this one’s for you.
I was just in your store on Sunday trying to find a gift for my mother and trying to possibly find some cheap sandals for this hot weather that’s slowly creeping back in. I was tired as all get out post church, but still in a good mood. A sale sign can do wonders for a gal’s mood. But anyway, I asked you, young woman with the big hair and face full of makeup, if I could get a pair of sandals in a 9 1/2. Knowing how busy retail kids can be, I was even nice enough to apologize for interrupting you. In response you said that was fine and proceeded to put a few shoes back and walked away to help others, and to, I assumed, call in my request. In that time, I actually started to think the sandals were still a bit overpriced, even on sale, and that unless they looked stellar on my feet, I would probably pass. But you didn’t even really give me the opportunity to try those jokers on.
After about 15-20 minutes you walked past me multiple times, didn’t even look in my direction as you moved around the opposite side of the store. At first I understood that you were probably busy…and then I realized you were playing with my time. You did more floating around the store trying to look busy rather than actually being busy. While trying to pass the time looking at purses with my friend, you walked near me, smirked and kept walking. I proceeded to stop you with the quickness to finally get it all out there: “Uh, excuse me, are those sandals still coming out?”
You made somewhat of a confused face and then said, “Oh, I forgot!” Thinking about the fact that I wasn’t in love with the shoes, and you clearly weren’t trying to get them for me, I said, “That’s fine, nevermind on the shoes.” I was expecting a quick “I’m sorry,” and then I was going to be on my way. But instead, your response was the following–with a dose of attitude: “Cool.” *proceeds to shrug and quickly walks away*
When you call a customer service number, it feels like you’re tossed around like the middle person in Monkey in the Middle until you’re so tired, you’ll take whatever answer they give you. Here’s what’s really going on while you’re listening to that elevator music on hold.
An average day can be made that much more pleasant or painful depending on how you’re treated in trivial interactions with both acquaintances and strangers alike. You won’t catch me flipping out over much, but poor customer service is enough to get the expletives flowing out of me like an Eminem single. These days, people would rather mind their business than mind their manners, which unfortunately means that common courtesy is growing increasingly more uncommon. You don’t have to sacrifice keeping it real in order to not be rude. Check out a few ways to add a bit of courtesy into each day:
So I wrote a piece on Friday about things people in customer service do that customers can’t stand. Whoa, what a response that got! First things first, it was never my intention to try and make it look like all customer service workers are crappy, because they definitely aren’t. Like I mentioned in the introduction for that article, I’ve worked in positions such as these in my lifetime, more than once, some positions for years, so I was definitely not saying that. But I wanted to keep it real because I’ve noticed a steep decline in the way things are done in customer service. But hey, maybe that’s just New York. While there are some gems in customer service that deserve fat tips and recommendations to their managers, there are some that deserve a swift kick in the butt and an attitude adjustment.
But don’t get it twisted, just as there are bad sales associates, waiters and attendants, there are some equally terrible customers that walk into their establishments and warrant an attitude. Those who think a tantrum is needed when they can’t get what they want or get it quickly, who leave their tables looking like a bomb hit it, and talk crazy to people just trying to do their job because they’ve been in the mall waaaaay too long. Not only have workers encountered them, but so have other customers who’ve had to throw them a frown. Here’s a list of things that those looking to get served need to know before they march into a store, restaurant, gym, or whatever. If you do these things, know that you’ll need to do better–fast. Or you can just expect some spit in your food…kidding!