My mother is obviously elderly. She doesn’t look her 93 years, but she is obviously elderly. I make this point because when she was at the beauty school for a pedicure and tried to sit in the chair, she actually sat in the water! Her rear was soaked, so they gave her a towel to sit on. After the pedicure, they offered another towel to use in the car, but she declined.
It’s a funny story that Mom tells on herself. She didn’t get hurt, just wet.
I say all that to say this: No one offered to help her into that weirdo chair with the water hazard.
Good customer service is hard to find. When Alice was about 12 years old, she said I ought to teach a class on how to go about pleasing the customer who is standing right there in front of you.
She made this astute remark every time we went shopping because on each trip I would rant and rave all the way home at how awful the clerks were. I loudly pointed out every detail of every failure I had seen.
This may be why Alice was such a good retail clerk as she helped pay her way through college. She probably heard my voice pounding in her head, saying things like, “Don’t ignore the customer,” and “If you’re on the phone and a customer walks up – and I can’t emphasize this too much – HANG UP THE PHONE!”
What I really do not understand is their misperception that I am not vital to their job. It makes sense when you think about it. Tick off enough people and they will stop coming to your employer’s store, the place will go out of business and then – guess what? YOU LOSE YOUR JOB! This concept puts the customer at the highest level, with the employee there to serve them, make them happy, let them believe that you are grateful for their participation in this little slice of your life.
But let me be clear about this. I know there are lots of wonderful clerks out there; it’s just that I rarely find one.
The blame lies with the employers. They are either not training their people well, or they’re not supervising them closely enough. I know it takes a lot of effort to effectively train someone. I have heard that some places just stick a new clerk on a cash register, tell them what all the buttons mean, and then they are on their own. With stores frequently cutting personnel, they don’t have enough supervisory folks to watch everything. I understand that.
So how does Chick-Fil-A do it? Have you been to their place? If not, here’s what your experience will be:
Every employee will seem genuinely happy to see you. If they catch your eye, they will give you a big smile, even though they may not be the clerk that takes your order. That clerk will ask you what you’d like to eat. If you hesitate, they will gently suggest different ways you can buy your chicken. They do not appear to be in any hurry whatsoever. They are not talking to someone else while you stand there trying to decide. They competently answer all questions. They do all this with a smile. After you have paid for your meal, they wish you a good day. When you say “Thank you,” they say “My pleasure.”
“My pleasure.” What a great comeback. What a wonderful way to show that you value your customer. Even if I don’t particularly like what I’ve ordered, I still feel good because I’ve been treated so well.
Being a retired clerk, I know that there can be some stinkers out there who can be a royal pain. But I’m not one of them – usually.
All I’m asking for is some respect, and that should do the trick.