I deleted my last post that I wrote on customer service and here’s why: I completely FAILED in that area the day after I wrote it.
It’s kind- of ironic really. Here I am patting myself on the back for knowing what good customer service is and judging others for failing in this area. Then here I am falling off my high horse!
Monday was one of those “no filter” days. You know what I mean? Woke up with a bad attitude, was letting circumstances control my mood instead of taking a deep breath and and gaining a proper perspective so I could wisely RESPOND instead of REACT. So I spent the morning REACTING to everything that happened, including two ladies who walked in my door for the first time.
I knew what was about to happen as soon as I saw the bags in their hands. They wanted to return merchandise. This was merchandise that was purchased at an outside event. I had set up a booth and invited two Colorado artists to display their talents in my booth since I sold their products in my store. It was a fun night and the ladies were all drinking and spending money like crazy. Even though it was a busy night I barely broke even, but I was hoping it would pay off in the long run with good exposure.
Now I had two ladies who had never been in my store wanting to return merchandise. Problem is I have an “EXCHANGES OR STORE-CREDIT ONLY” policy and they were not happy about that. Once I explained our policy they immediately began their list of complaints: the product was crappy, they would have never bought from me in the first place if they knew that, blah, blah, blah. My B.S. radar exploded in my head and since I was having a “no filter” moment it was all I could do to call them out on their bogus excuses.
I get it. Everyone was having a good time, drinking lots of free alcohol and getting caught up in the hysteria of spending money they may or may-not have had. This was a case of classic “buyer’s remorse” or their checkbooks having a hangover. But now it had become my problem and I didn’t appreciate it. In a small, family business returns are a big deal. We don’t have the luxury of large reserves. There have been a few times I have had to pull money out of my personal bank account to cover a return. It hurts our business, which is why when you are in my store I never push for a sale when I feel the customer is unsure. I tell ladies all the time when they are trying on boots that I want to make sure they are going to wear them because it doesn’t do either of us any good if it is just going to sit in their closet unworn. If that happens they are unlikely to ever shop with me again.
Anyway, back to the B.S. radar. I knew I did not have it in me to handle this graciously so I agreed to return their money. (There went any profit I had. waaaa! Cue the violin music.) I wanted them out of my store asap. They had no intention of ever being my customer. They didn’t even give me the courtesy of seeing if we had other products that they would enjoy – the only thing they were focused on was my register. Plus, they continued to complain about the quality of the product – even as I was processing their return. I could hardly contain myself. The quality was great. The price point was excellent. I was just listening to excuses. I processed their return with a scowl on my face I’m sure. I handed them their refund and bid them good day (more like there-ya-go. There’s-the-door attitude).
After they left I sat there contemplating how I handled that event and I wasn’t proud. Even as I was grumbling about what just happened and throwing a mighty-fine pity party, I just couldn’t stand the thought of the blog post I had just finished the day before. Hypocrisy at it’s finest! So I immediately deleted it.
So what was my take-away from this? ===> 1) Well, I have a long way to go yet in customer service and in improving my attitude 2) I am the first step in excellent customer service. It’s not about the customer’s attitude, it’s about mine.
>>> Tell me tales about good or bad experiences with customer service and what you learned! <<<