what i wish you knew

20070119, 03

…about customer service could be summarized in three sentances.

I’m sorry, we are currently out-of-stock on those items. How many do you need? If you order three or more we can order them now and have them drop-shipped to your home.

I drove 32 miles across town to a family-owned paper and art goods store today. I needed a box of A-6 and matching envelopes, and did not want to buy from the big-box retailer by my house.

There were two employees chatting with each other “on the floor” in the paper department. Not finding what I needed, I asked if perhaps it was available from a storage room. One of the two offers to check but disappeared, the other says “We must be out of that.”

I searched the entire department for myself; I noticed both had resumed their chat. I noticed neither was interested in the customer(me) any longer and neither had any interest in where I came from, neither really considered why I was there and whether I was going to make a purchase.

Ok–so I admit my feelings were hurt. I like being the center attention. I also like spending money where people seem to enjoy their business.

But what I really love is to buy something of quality from someone with a smile, professionalism and courtesy.

It is not that difficult.

I stopped at a franchise-model paper shop on the way home. It cost 11% more, but at least they had the stationery in stock. The employee never looked me in the eyes. Never said anything except “Sign this.” –not even “Hello!” when we walked in. They missed out too–I only bought one box to get through the next few letters while I look for someone with entrepreneurial spirit and a little personality. Maybe next time I’ll just go to the big-box retailer next door.

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