Caring Is Also… Not Caring

, , , , , | Right | August 20, 2019

My district manager has pushed “the customer is always right” for years now, so we managers are expected to do everything possible to keep a sale. We match competitor prices, we change the price if a customer argues that it rang up wrong, and we accept coupons even if they don’t apply to the purchase. Recently, the company has resumed its survey features, so a customer can fill out a survey about our store through the link sent to their email. The district manager reminds us again to do everything possible to keep a customer happy so we don’t get bad reviews.

About five minutes before closing one night, while I’m in the middle of shutting down a register, my cashier pages me to override a coupon that isn’t scanning. When I arrive, the customer shows me his phone, where there’s a barcode for $5 off a bag of [Brand] cat food. I recognize the coupon from earlier that day from when someone else tried to use the same coupon for [Slightly Different Brand] cat food. I assume that we have the same problem and start to explain it while I override the coupon, “The reason it’s not working is that it’s for [Slightly Different Brand], but I’ll go ahead and take care of that for you!”

The cashier gives me a funny look and points out that the food the customer is buying actually is the correct brand, and I didn’t look closely enough at the bag. I admit my mistake: “Oh, whoops. In that case, I’m not sure why the coupon isn’t working. But as I said, I went ahead and took care of it.”

Two days later, we get a negative survey from the customer, who is upset that I “didn’t care enough” about his coupon not scanning correctly, even though I overrode it and took $5 off his purchase anyway. I guess you can’t please some people!

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