Monday, 19 October 2009

Customer Service, the good, the bad and the ignorer

I think I may have a fixed computer.  Well, have identified the problem which means there is a solution!  I have had to remove everything though so I am missing photo software at the moment.  I'll sort that this afternoon hopefully, as I wanted to do a lips of the day picture.

Anyway, I thought I would raise the issue of customer service.  I used to be very weak at complaining and returning items, but the older I get, the more vocal I get!

If I need to contact a company I prefer to do it my email, as it is the cheapest option and I can prepare what I want to say.  I ofter find their telephone lines are VERY expensive to ring, and don't get me started on the hold music!!  Why should I pay to contact them- especially if there is a fault?  I have put a few stories into 3 classes.

The Ignorer: At the moment I am waiting for a reply from a largish company, after finding a fault a month ago.  I have emailed them twice and their website says they reply within a week.  I waited 2 weeks and emailed again.  Nadda.  I am not very happy at all that I have to contact them a third time, and will be writting a very strong letter.  The problem may not be easy or relevant to solve, but the least they can do is acknowlege my emails.  I find this very poor service and will have no problem in revealing the company here if I get no response again.  The ignorance!

I experienced this sort of treatment at a Bobbi Brown counter on Saturday.  There were two assistants.  One was making over a client and chatting away, the other was reading papers.  She looked up at me and ignored me.  I was the only person at the counter!!  I waited... and then walked off.  Their loss!

The bad: Yes ignorance is bad, but there are other ways customer service can be bad.  I had one male shoe shop assistance proudly  proclaim- "OH YES! THOSE SHOES ARE BETTER, THEY MAKE YOUR FEET LOOK SMALLER!"... Great, you think I have big feet and are trying to sell me a solution to a problem that I had previously thought no-one had noticed!  Needless to say I didnt buy the shoes! In fact I think I bought chocolate!

What about people who don't give you a bag.  I am all for saving bags, but sometimes a bag is needed.

Another experience that made me wince was when I was getting a hat fitted, and the young male SA tried on one size and then loudly said "Your hairs too slippy, I'll get a smaller size"... Slippy implies greasy, which it wasnt.  He could have just said "I think you'll need a smaller one".. but I'll forgive him as he looked scared!

The good:
I had a lovely experience in Boots the other day when the cashier paid me a complement on my necklace and gave me some advice on my purchases.  This friendly human contact is really welcome when I shop.  It makes it a much more personal experience.  Obviously there was no queue, or I would have not chatted so much!

The company I love the most is Lush.  I have contacted them regarding a few things and always found they respond quickly and pleasantly.  This is exactly the same as their in store services.  All the sales staff know about each product and always want to demonstrate and help.

Elf have always been friendly, responded quickly and sorted out any queries or problems.  I have also found Space NK helpful and friendly, although I would have perhaps liked a sample, or for the information to be written down.

Now on to some specifics

I know lots of people swear by MAC, but I have had two very different experiences.  Both of them involved me being in a store on my own, although there were about 3-4 other shoppers in the store and 4 sales assistants.

Experience 1, I walked in and browsed.  I was approched after about 2 minutes and offered help, and then given general help- including directions to a local SpaceNK to weigh up other make-up.  The assistant gave me a make-up wipe and tissue for use if I swatched colours.

Experience 2, I walked in and stood by a counter for over 10 minutes.  I swatched and eventually had to interupt a make over to ask for a make-up wipe.  Half the products were missing and moved around the store.  No one approached me at all, despite 2 assistants being free and one standing right by me.  I have to ask for some help, and when I asked about one product the girl just looked a bit confused and said she didnt know what I was talking about and that they just didnt have it.  No referal to the website, or no confirmation that it was part of a collection (Fluidline in sage- I wanted to swatch it).

When I have emailed Mac I normally get a response within 2 days though.

I tried on an item which was 1 size too big, and the assistant asked if it fitted.  I said no I needed a smaller size but there wasnt one anywhere.  She said they only had size 14 and up in the stockroom and that that was it, and they were all out.  Luckily I went to the stand and then asked a younger assistant.  She went and looked in the stockroom and they did have smaller sizes, but not the one I wanted.  She rung the central warehouse (which was very busy) so she then gave me all the information on a piece of paper with a number I could ring.  I rung from home, and guess what..yes... they had my size and everything.  Ha! Take that assistant 1. You were wrong! 

I know that customer service gets harder the more customers there are, but taking a little bit of time to approach a customer and be friendly can make all the difference.  Also knowing the companies stock is invaluable.

  • To be approached within 5-10 minutes and told "I'm here if you need any help.  Are you looking for anything special or just browsing?". That way I know I have been noticed.
  • To be left alone when I say I am happy just browsing on my own.  I do not wish to be followed to told what products are great.  Please let me make my own mind up in peace!
  • To not be shown other products, regardless of how much I insist I just want an eye pencil (etc).  I know you have great eyeshadows that go with it, but I just want the eye pencil.
  • To be asked to excuse you if you need to serve someone else or take a telephone call.  Don't just walk off.
  • To not hear you giggling and talking to the other assistants about me or any other customer.  It is rude and false.
  • For you to at least try and find me an item.
  • If you are unsure, then say you are unsure but that you will try to find out from a co-worker or the internet or something.  DO NOT make it up or just say 'I don't know and walk off'.
  • To be applogized to if I had a long wait in the queue.
  • To be asked if I found everything I was looking for today.
  • To get a good customer service AFTER purchase.  It doesn't stop after you take my money.
  • To know how to contact you when I get home.  It is amazing how companies hide this information.
  • To get a 'hello' and 'goodbye' where possible, but especially at the till.  Yes you may have been there for 4 hours, but a cheery hello can make all the difference.
  • For you to not stare off into the distance chewing your lip while you are serving me.  Even if it is telephone service- I can tell you know!

 Remember, I pay your wages and will encourage my friends to visit- or stay away!

What customer service stories have you got?  Where do you like to shop/stay away from?


  1. I always find superdrugs sales assistants to be the worst! they always look so annoyed and snotty so I never like to ask for help, boots is always better

    jelly pong pong's custoemr service is great! one of the items them sent out to me was completely broken so they sent me a replacment straight away free of charge

    I've just emailed sally hansen with a problem, jsut have to wait to see what their like!

  2. I worked in shops as a student and have worked in Customer Service in one form or another since leaving Uni. I have a list as long as my arm about what I want and don't want. Far too much to put in a comment box! ;)

    Working with the public is rough I know, people can be awful and rude. I totally get how it can wear people down. It's hard to turn the other cheek and still be up beat and polite. There was many a time where I wanted to scream at people for their behaviour. That said some people should NOT work in retail. If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen. More people should complain when CS is poor.

    Great post.


  3. @Katy, yeah I hav found that a bit. I walked past an american lady trying to get on of the sales assistants to help her choose products for her skin the other day and it was painful to overhear. Let us know how you get on with Sally Hansen!

    @Eliza, yes I have worked in customer service too, I guess that is why I have some opinions about it. I can sympathise with some points, but some are a strict no! I worked in complaints deps inth past and it does waer you down, but retail isn't always about complaints.

    I just know that if I feel looked after then I'll be more likely to spend. I hate walking into a place and seeing snooty SA looking down at me!! Or even ignoring me while they play with the make-up and apply it on each other (that has happend too!).

    You should share some storied as I feel like I'm ranting now!! x

  4. You know what I really really hate? When you get trailed around by security, even when you go around and around the same display 5 times just to see if they are following you. Sephora used to be the worst for this, I remember actually telling the security guard that it was so irritating to be followed so obviously and he just ignored me and carried on!

  5. I just feel that some people shouldn't be working in CS. I get angry about it all as even when I was having a crap day I always fought to cover that up and treat every customer equality.
    I never understood the snobby attitude. After all they could be working for a designer shop but they are still just working in a shop. They aint saving lives or have any right to be looking down their noses. They need our cash to stay in a job. It might just be getting old or the working in that field for so long but now I refuse to give my cash to these types of people. I speak up a LOT more now.

    Plus with web shopping you would think that shops would up their game to get us tripping into their doors.
    LUSH is a perfect example of good service (from my experience). The peeps that work there always know their stuff are helpful and polite.
    Sorry that went a bit ranty!


  6. I'm so picky about customer service! If the service isn't friendly I refuse to buy anything and will walk right out. Love this post!


  7. @Sarah LOL! I guess it stopped you from a life of crime and ending up in prison!! (Joke!) Yes Security must get a bit bored- it always makes me laugh when I see an old lady asking a security guard for an item of clothing in another size!

    @Eliza Yes, some people really shouldnt deal with the public ever in their life time. Lush has a big thumbs up from me too. Money does speak.

    @Juliana Hello! I wish more people would do that, then companies would actually HAVE to take notice. Thanks for stoppin by and welcome to my log family!!

  8. I completely agree - I think ignoring a customer because of paperwork is even worse than doing so because of a makeover! We should all do what Juliana does - I do this if the service is extremely bad, and there are brands that I just won't buy from because of the service.


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