Doing A Disservice To Customer Service

| USA | Working | December 11, 2013

(I am stocking shelves in the general merchandise side of a large store. A customer comes up to me to ask a question.)

Customer: “Can you tell me where this [Brand] of laundry soap is?”

Me: “Sure. It can be tricky since the clothespins and laundry baskets are over here. It’s actually on the grocery side of the store in aisle 13.”

(The customer suddenly looks very dejected and turns to go that way.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’d be happy to show you if you would like.”

Customer: “Oh! That would be wonderful!”

(The customer actually hugs me and goes off towards the grocery side. I follow her, and show her exactly where to find her exact product.)

Me: “Is there anything else you would like me to help you find?”

(The customer pulls out a list and very sheepishly starts listing off multiple products.)

Customer: “I’ve just moved here and never been in this store before. I can’t seem to find anything. This place is so big.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. I understand. I’ll help you find it or I’ll find someone who can.”

(I help her for the next hour and a half. I miss my lunch break. At the end we’re talking about how she can organize her list so that she can start at one end of the store and go to the other, without having to backtrack, for her next shopping trip. My manager notices that I’m talking to her. He thinks she’s a friend, or something, and starts yelling at me.)

Manager: “You’ve missed your lunch break! Now I’m going to have to overlap you with another worker! It will mess up everyone’s schedule!”

Customer: “Excuse me, young man. This woman just spent more than an hour helping me to find all my purchases for today. When I was done shopping I was going to ask to speak with her manager about her wonderful conduct, but I think I’ll have to also talk to the store owner about your improper conduct. How dare you berate an employee in front of a perfect stranger!”

(The customer hugs me. She thanks me again before going off to check out. The customer informed our store owner that her husband is a wealthy lawyer and their daughter is expecting triplets. They were also remodeling their new house; she would be spending a lot of money on baby furniture and supplies for their house. She said if the owner allowed managers to yell at employees like that for no reason she would take her business elsewhere. I found out the next day my department manager was fired and I received a raise. She and her daughter came in the next month. They bought $8,000 worth of baby clothes, car seats, strollers, cribs, toys, diapers, and everything else you could want for a baby (or three!). She called and made sure I worked that day so that I could help her pick out the stuff she wanted. I got a $100 tip.)

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