Customer service is one of those things I demand absolute perfection in - in a previous life, one of my job titles was "Customer Experience Manager" so my standards are high. And funny enough in the last 7 days I have had 2 examples of extremely good and extremely poor customer service. Humour me for a moment.
I was in an underwear store attempting to buy a piece of underwear for a tricky top I have that doesn't seem to conform to normal underwear designs. Ok, I don't know about you but for me this is a stressful, embarrassing process and thanks to having breastfed 3 children and being in my 40's, there isn't that much to (ahem) arrange any more. So noting the young shop assistant was on a phone call (are they still called that or has this job title morphed into something else like the "air hostess" title), I browsed while waiting. The phone call continued. By now she had managed to serve another customer while still chatting on the telephone. And avoiding any sort of eye contact with me. I waited and I waited and I browsed. You could tell it was the kind of phone call that was not going to finish any time soon. I looked point blank at her. She turned away from me. Red, raw fury boiled over. Enough. I walked out of the shop thinking I'd take my custom and my $50 or whatever, somewhere else. And as I left I gave her one last look, it was a kind of Julia Roberts - "Pretty Women" look "Big mistake lady, big mistake". She held eye contact with me for a moment and then once again turned her back on me. And she hadn't missed a beat on her phone call.
I had a phonecall to make myself now.
Back at home I called the shop's Head Office advising I wanted to make a customer complaint. Suddenly I became "Most Valuable Customer" and was fast tracked straight to the CEO, who wasn't there but who had the most amazing staff who listened and advised the CEO would want to talk to me and that customer service was a priority for them. Impressed I left my details thinking, "well that was nice" but not expecting to hear from them. But I did. Two missed calls and messages to me FROM the CEO. And then a third attempt from the offsider, advising that the CEO had to go overseas but still wanted to hear my story. So this poor man listened to me ramble and spout on about service expectations, brand fit, little old ladies who may not have had the nerve to speak up so I was doing it on their behalf and basically provided him an identikit image of the "accused". I pulled out all the stops and let him have it. He agreed, sympathised, apologised and said it would be followed up. There wasn't much else he could do (how about a years supply of free undies huh?) so subject closed. And as my clever husband concluded "It's the putting right that counts".
Problem is though, I still need to buy underwear.
And funny enough I was at my local shops today and glanced in that underwear shop as I walked past. The same shop assistant was there, but she wasn't on the phone. This time she was reading a magazine.
It is the putting right that counts.