Friday, 28 October 2011

Customer Services: They won the argument but lost the customer

Picture the scene: It is a branch of a major supermarket chain. A customer has a query. He believes that he has been over-charged by £2.50 so he seeks out the Customer Services point in the shop.

There used to be a proper Customer Services point with a Customer Services Manager who would be able to resolve problems quickly and efficiently.

However, someone decided it would be a good idea to get rid of the Customer Services point and the Customer Services Manager and have the Customer Services point as a cramped addition to the cigarette and lottery kiosk, so that customer service is carried out by whomever can be bothered to tear themselves away from either selling fags and Lotto tickets or skulking round the back chatting with colleagues about the latest soaps.

On this particular occasion the Customer Services point operator was someone who had joined the supermarket staff as a sulky and somewhat graceless teenager. Fifteen years later she has developed into a sulky and somewhat graceless woman. Only someone with a particularly dark sense of humour would have allowed her anywhere near a customer, let alone actually give her responsibility for customer services!

She rudely told the customer that he was wrong. He queried this and she responded in an ill-tempered (and graceless) way by saying: "I will fetch the supervisor!"

The supervisor arrived. And appeared to be a student of about 18. The wisdom of leaving an 18 year-old student responsible for a store of that size is open to debate. She confirmed that the answer that the customer had been given was right. She gave him this news in a way that was irritating in that she told him this in a rather triumphalist way. Both the student manager and the queen of sulk seemed to think that they had won against the customer.

And in a way, that was true. They had won the argument. But they had lost the customer. They had either lost the vision of excellence in customer service, or never had it in the first place.

No comments:

Post a Comment