Story | Finger in my pocket: Customer Service.
Here I am… Monday morning, my hair coiffed, my Frankie Goes to Hollywood TShirt clean as a whistle and cleaning shit out of the bird cage.
This is no easy feat Ladies and Gentleman, because at the same time I am trying to prevent the friggin birds from escaping and flying into KMART next door.
Then it happens… someone tapped me on the shoulder and asks if I am busy…..FUCK there goes two Budgies.
Now I have a decision to make, serve the Customer or go after the birds. Birds, Customer, birds, Customer, what time am I going for lunch, birds, Customer. I ended up dealing with the Customer but was extremely pissed which must have showed because ones face should not be turning bright red and have both eyes twitching at once. What did the Customer want? What they always wanted….an item that is right in front of their face. As my frustration and blood pressure grew,
I felt something happening in my pocket.
No it was not what you think, but something even stranger, my left hand started to quiver, my middle finger started to erect, and my hand decided itself to give The finger to the Customer without them ever knowing. – WHAT A RELEASE WITHOUT THE CLEANUP.
As my release came to a close, my pressure dropped, my will to kill dissapated, and my face stopped contorting. I took a deep breath, and asked them if there was anything else they needed? This olive branch transformed into a very surprising and actually fun conversation with someone who became a regular Customer.
Throughout the coming weeks, the Customers kept coming in, kept asking me the same retarded questions – ” If I put a Turtle in a Small Bowl will it grow? ” My answer was simple ” Ma’am if you put your FUGLY kid standing next to you Small Room will IT grow?” . OOOOPS….That was the answer that was in my head and was on the tip of my Toungue…
The real Answer was given in a professional and courteous manor because of THE FINGER IN MY POCKET. The Customer had no clue, but I did and that was all that mattered.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Yup, make sure to wear pants with pockets.
Seriously though. Customers are not our enemies they are there to pay our salaries, give us stories to tell our families, test our level of patience and teach us valuable lessons towards anger management.
Through out my Career I have met many types but I always stuck to the following mantra to enure their experience is as pleasurable as Fluffy Angora Rabbit nibbling on your pinky toe while you are stroking a Hairless Cat and wondering – Why in Gods name does this creature ever exist.
Mantra and Best Practices
– Customers are not your Enemy and DO NOT wake up in the morning with the agenda to Fuck Up your Day. It is NEVER personal.
– Serve ONLY one Customer at a time. Each Customer deserves your entire and focused attention. They are the ones paying your salary.
– Customers VOTE with their dollar if they were satisfied with your Service. They can easily close down your Store if they vote you off the island.
– Introduce yourself by name. It’s a little out there, but hey you are wearing your name tag. This will create a personal experience.
– If the ohone is Ringing…Leave it alone unless you are expecting a Call from the almighty North Korean Leader. In that Case please let him know I have some hairstyle idea for him.
– Try to understand their needs by asking questions. Try JEAPORDY Style – Always confuses the Customer, but brings a smile to their faces.
– They are a GUEST in your Store. Treat them as you would treat a Guest in your House.
– If you do not have or carry what they are looking for….Suggest the Competition. HUH? Hey, if you don’t have the product there is NOTHING wrong providing guidance for the Customer as you are in the service industry. The Customer will REMEMBER your unselfish help.
– Always make eye contact. Don’t stare, no Cookie Monster eyes, and definitely NO licking of the lips – that’s just plain creepy but may turn on someone you don’t want to be turned on.
– If you are with a GUEST, let the waiting Customer know you will be with them shortly or call your Co Worker to serve the Customer. Don’t YELL for help, no snapping of the fingers, No woop woops.
Have a difficult Customer?
Too bad and deal with it. To me this is the highlight of my day as it challenges my skills to turn this Customer away from the darkside. There are ways to do this but they ALL involve you remembering that
THIS IS NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK.
Don’t judge as you don’t know anything about this Customer. Did something happen to them today, did they receive bad news, did they just realize the high priced Escort from last night was actually a Guy and not what was advertised? WHO CARES. It is NOW your MISSION to diffuse this situation and turn it around with the following:
– Stay calm.
– Don’t fall into the trap of agreeing with the Customer. This is a JEDI MIND trick. Instead empathize with them. Nod your head, continue eye contact and DO NOT Keep your ARMS CROSSED. – This is a defensive pose.
Instead Raise your hands above your Head and Shake them Like you Dont Care. NO! Just keep them in Front of you.
– LISTEN to the Customer. The majority of the time they only want to be heard.
– Is your Customer a Banshee? If Yes, continue speaking to the GUEST and lower your voice until it is a whisper. This will FORCE the Customer to lower theirs so they can hear you.
– Continue showing interest. Continue to nod your head, place your FINGER IN THE POCKET to help you diffuse the situation internally.
If you cannot satisfy the Customers requests, demands, threats, proposals, lunch suggestions, there are MANY ways to deal with this.
– Let them know you cannot get them what they need. Plain and Simple, as you CANNOT be everything to everyone due to the high cost of Inventory. BUT as mentioned earlier, SUGGEST the Competition and other venues such as Amazon or the Trunk of your Uncle Marvins 1982 Cadillac Brougham.
– If you don’t have the product in inventory BUT have access to it, ask for their contact information to let them know you will contact them within a specified time frame to let them know if you were able to get the item for them. KEEP YOUR PROMISE to contact them. A broken promise is like a Urine Test Vial breaking and spilling all over your new Jordache jeans.
– Call your Manager (if you are not the Manager) for added support and suggestions. If your Manager is not present call another Store, Call your Manager, Call in for your pizza order…..but just DO SOMETHING. This shows the Customer that an effort is being made.
– Suggest an alternative product along the lines of what the Customer is looking for.
What happens if the Customer turns into the INCREDIBLE HULK and you don’t like him when he is angry. If you have tried all of the above and more…Ask the Customer to politely leave and apologize that you are unable to meet their needs since you don’t Sell Mexican Pottery detailing Hulk Hogans career in the WCW and not the WWE – Unfortunately this is a very specific ytem. To turn this experience into a win please let your Management Team know that a client was looking for this specific item and maybe we should carry It due to our Customers Demographics.
At the end of the day, this is the job you chose. If you are unable to cope with daily drama, changes, and uncertainty you may want to think of another career choice. To me I would not change this for the World as my A.D.D thrives on this action and constant fear of the unknown next Customer to enter the door.
As for the Budgies? Well, running around KMART with a water gun and net while covered in peanut butter is not the most pleasant thing to do, but I caught the Budgies by wetting down their wings with water and them falling onto my peanut butter laced body which enabled them to stick nicely to me.
Is that a Dog I see in the distance?
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