Night and Day Customer Experiences

Today’s blog is a bit of a rant. I find it so incredibly irritating when customer service is done so completely wrong and people (in this case me) feel like they’re an inconvenience, a criminal, a distraction. It’s a revenue loss for a business that does not have to happen.

Two local businesses, two very different approaches.

To set the scene: Love my credit card company! They called lickity split when a charge was made to our card that seemed off. How they know this is beyond me, but I’m grateful. While waiting for the new card I’m using old fashioned cash and checks.

Shop #1
Off I go to local small business, Tammy’s Floral, to pick up a little something for my mom to brighten her day and a fabulous succulent for myself. I reach for my card to pay and realize I have no credit card. No worries, I’ll run home and get the checkbook then be right back.

I’m a pseudo regular at the Floral shop. I come in or order maybe four, five-ish times a year. I’m not in the top twenty customers for spending I’m sure, but am there enough that the gals know who I am. They’re stellar examples of what front line customer service staff should be! Without asking the owner, they simply wrote my name, number, and the amount and sent me home with my gifts. They treated me like an honest person who would come back and pay them. Which of course I did!

Shop #2
They’ll remain nameless. They are a mid-sized business.

I’ve been in Shop #2 many, many times, as has my husband. Each time you check out they ask you for your phone number which is tied to your name, account, etc. I take out my checkbook for my under $10 purchase item and the gal looks at my checkbook and asks,

“Are you writing a check?”

“Yes, I have my checkbook out.” (I thought the answer obvious and did giggle.)

(pointing to sign taped on counter) “We can’t take checks unless you have an account.”

She then proceeds to explain to me how there was fraudulent activity or something like that and repeats that they can’t take checks unless one has an account. Then she looks at me blankly. (Is this a weird challenge or something?)

Pause for Learning

  1. Her tone of voice and body language are completely wrong. She’s acting fearful, combative, and offering no solutions, simply repeating what already had been said. She’s looking at me with a blank stare as if I’m the one who’s supposed to figure out a solution.

What she could/should have done differently is to add to her statement and say,

“We can’t take checks unless you have an account. Do you? What’s your number or name and I can look it up for you? I’m sorry for the inconvenience, some people ruin it for everyone!

  • Statement of the fact (no longer can accept checks)
  • Statement of empathy (this is inconvenient for you)
  • Offering a solution (looking up account)

I proceeded to read the notice and see that it says one can have manager approval to write a check so I ask to see a manager. Surely SOMEONE will recognize me as a regular, non-check bouncing customer and let me buy my $10 item.

While I’m waiting I step aside so the gentleman behind me can check out. This SAME checker that gave me blank looks, no greeting or smile, and acted as if I were an insult changed demeanor instantly like Jekyll and Hyde. She called him by name, (she could see my name when/if she looked up my number), asked about his foot, (must have had an injury as it looked fine to me), flirted, and chatted him up. He was cute yes. I’m guessing single too?

Back to me. Hyde.

Out comes the manager and I have my driver’s license, two separate business cards, and my punch card for the local ice cream store out on the counter for her.

The manager gave the a-ok and off we went. Suffice it to say that the rest of the experience was equally uplifting as I got to hear Checker Hyde tell me how she had to put the purchase under this certain business name for some reason blah blah blah. I wasn’t listening. I was irritated. I’m TRYING to give a store money. I’m feeling like a criminal and inconvenience rather than a regular patron.

What’s the lesson here?

It’s about the training. Is the checker to blame for the experience? Partially yes. But the lion’s share of responsibility is squarely set on managements shoulders. Their lack of customer experience training is obvious.

If management is passionate about giving excellent experiences and knows the financial impact of doing so, then they’ll make training a priority. Attitudes trickle down. Customers notice.

Time to get the bad mojo off and focus on the positive. Tell me your awesome customer experience. I’d love to hear your story.

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