Saturday, March 21, 2009

Good Customer Service Is Key

About a Year ago, I needed a memory card for my camera. I walked into a major electronics store. I looked at other things first, an then went to find the camera section. I found the cameras, but couldn't see where they had the memory cards. So, I had to seek out a salesperson. He told me where the camera section was. I told him I new where that was, but I was having trouble finding the memory cards. He looked at me like I was stupid and then told me they were on the wall. When I got there, I discovered that they had made it so that they had to unlock something for me to get one. So, I had to look for an employee to unlock it, and that employee looked like I was bothering him.

And then the cashier was too busy talking to a coworker about her date the night before to acknowledge me during the transaction. To top it all off, I found out that I could have saved 10% by going down the street.

The company is no longer in business.

I work in customer service. I have learned over the years that putting the needs of the customer first will eventually help you get your needs as a business met.

Take he story from my friend Misty:

Almost anytime my 9 and (almost) 11 year old sons get extra money, they can’t wait to head to Play N Trade to spend it. They can trade in games they don’t want anymore, because the store sells both new and used video games. One of my biggest reasons for using this business is that when my boys go into the store, they are treated with respect. The employees aren’t dismissive of them, and they are happy to answer all of the kids’ questions. They let them try almost any game before they buy it, which has helped the boys to make good decisions on what games to buy.

Last fall, we moved across town, so the Sugar House store isn’t around the corner from me, anymore. Preston, my 9 year old, wanted to buy Nintendogs for his DS. Since there was a national chain nearby, we went there. I immediately saw the difference between the national chain, and my Sugar House PNT. When we were finally greeted, the employees talked to me. I let them know my son had some questions.


So, Preston begins to ask about the game he wanted. The employee gave him a short answer and then, as Preston began to ask another question, the guy turned around and walked away. Preston went browsing, because he wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to spend his money on. He came back a few minutes later, hoping to play the game, to see if he wanted it for sure. We waited patiently while another customer was helped, and then the employees again walked away. I called them over, and Preston asked to try the game. He was told they don’t do that there.

There were actually 2 employees, but because I wasn’t the customer, and my son was, I guess the second employee had better things to do.

This sort of thing continued, and we were in the store for about 20 minutes. I finally pointed out to Preston how rude they were being to him, and told him that I didn’t want to spend money at a store like that. I reminded him of how the PNT employees treat him, and asked if he would wait a day, so we could go there, instead. Being a kid with money burning a hole in his pocket, Preston decided to buy Nintendogs anyway.

A couple of weeks later, after Preston’s birthday, he again had some money to spend, and some games to trade in. So, we headed off to Sugar House to Play N Trade. The owner, Patrick Murphy, was in, and recognized us. He asked how the games we had bought for Preston’s birthday turned out, and we chatted. One of the employees greeted both Preston and Drake, and patiently let them try what seemed like a bazillion different games. Sometimes one of the boys would ask the employee about a game, and the employee would tell them that they didn’t think he’d have much fun with that game, and suggest a different one instead.

Thinking back over my experiences, I recall one time that I was considering letting Drake (my older son) get a Play Station Portable (PSP). The guy advised me that, while there were kid games available, that most of the games were aimed at adults for that system, and that he’d be better off buying the Nintendo DS, even though that was less expensive. Another time, I was considering a game that the boys had been asking about, and mentioned it to an employee. I was told there’s no way I should let them have that game, because it was had graphic violence and was gory.

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