OK … so I'm an idiot ….

…. but it’s not your job to remind me of that.

Got any good ‘customer service’ stories this Christmas?

I had an interesting experience on Saturday morning while shopping in Myer at the Galleria, although I suppose I should go back a little way to begin the story.

I can’t remember exactly when it was but possibly as long ago as a couple of weeks back I spotted something I thought would be perfect for Pauline for Christmas.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the money at the time. Last week I wandered past the same area and spotted it again. This time there was a sign telling me that the items on that table were discounted. Brilliant.

Unfortunately at that time I still didn’t have the money. (The household budget’s taken a bit of a battering lately.) I figured I’d grab one later. I walked past almost every day last week and two of the items were there. Even lunchtime Friday they were there.

Saturday morning … pay in the bank … off to Myer I went. Yep, they were both gone.

The lady behind the counter really wanted to help me but couldn’t. She asked another lady from the same department who was extremely dismissive. She might have used a nice voice and put things politely but she pretty much told me that it was only a couple of days before Christmas and that I was a bit of an idiot to think that I could get what I wanted. Behind her veneer of politeness it was obvious that she would rather I just disappear and stop bothering her.

Back to the first shop assistant. She apologised that she was out of stock. She offered to ring other stores and then call me back. She apologised that due to the Christmas rush she wouldn’t be able to do it immediately. She apologised that even if she did find one she wouldn’t be able to get it delivered to her store and that I would have to go to the other store (which I fully expected). All those apologies for something that was my own fault.

When she called me later she gave me the news that I knew was coming anyway. None of the other stores had what I wanted. She told me which stores had run out and which didn’t have the stock in the first place. She apologised again for something that was my own fault. I’m the one that should have grabbed it earlier.

She finished the call wishing me a happy Christmas. I thanked her profusely for all her efforts. I knew that it was unlikely that I’d find what I wanted but being treated with respect by someone who was willing to do everything possible to get a result helped me to get over the dissapointment.

Rita, thank you for your excellent customer service. Thanks to you I will certainly shop at Myer again. Oh, by the way, you might like to let your fellow worker know that it’s stupid customers like me who pay her wage.

(And no, I won’t tell you what it is I wanted to buy Pauline. I don’t want to spoil the surprise if I manage to find it for another occasion.)

Maybe the dismissive shop assistant should have read Seth Godin’s post, What’s the point of this interaction? Maybe then she would have realised what a bad job of marketing she was doing for her bosses.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Stories like that demonstrate a few things.
    Sometimes culture in staff is not dependent on what happens from the top…sometimes if comes down to individual people and how they are as people.

    With the increasing problem retail stores have with staff, the worse your first experience might become.

    And……..I am sure a lot of husbands can relate….but as I type, there are about 5 hourse left of shopping opportunities are left.

  • Hopefully that other lady just had a bad day/a lot of stress. Good thing Rita made up for a good feeling on Myer´s after all. Guess you found another great gift for Pauline – and if it´s “just” some great time you all spend together – Merry Christmas!

  • For a flasny store like Myer it’s quite dissapointing to read how some of their staff an be rude. That’s so sad. One thing I’m very peticular about too is customer service.
    I really can get hot under the collar if some check out girls don’t even say G’day. They don’t have to discuss any thing with me but a nice “hello” goes down a long way.
    Sorry to hear you didn’t get Pauline’s pressie, I do hope it pops up somewhere else.
    Good luck and thank you for the Christmas wishes.