Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Not complaining ... just observing

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Since being back from Canada where the people I encountered were generally polite and courteous (in shops and in public), it is almost glaring when met with the opposite. What struck me most was the beggars on the side of the street who cheerily said: "Thank you! Have a nice day and God bless you" even when someone told them "Sorry" (re giving money). When I commented on this, the friend I was with pointed out that it's a small neighbourhood and the same people will pass back. It struck me as being customer service. Be kind to your customers and they will come back. Even if they don't buy (give you money) now, one day they very well might because of your cheery disposition.
Meanwhile, back in Trinidad: Coming through Duty free I bought some large bars of chocolate. In giving the woman at the cash register the money, she grabbed it from me. I was a little taken aback. She then pushed the change at me, all the time looking down with a tight-lipped face. I said "Thank you." She did not even mumble and still has not looked up.
Yesterday at the gas station auto shop buying oil for my car, the man giving me change was looking down. He took my money (exact $16) and counted it, still looking down. I waited, as though expecting him to say something. When I realised he wasn't going to, I said "Thank you" and was going to walk away with the oil. He did not look up. I said it again, a bit louder, in case he hadn't heard: "Thank you!" He still did not look up, kept looking down, as though his neck was stuck in the position. The woman at the counter who was busy writing in a book mumbled, as if for him: "Okay den ..." I don't think he was mute or deaf. Some people just don't care how they are with customers. Maybe it's not necessary to treat customers with respect or politeness because they will come back anyway (for convenience, etc.) Maybe customers themselves don't care and don't say hello or thank you, so it doesn't matter.
HOWEVER ... not only these unrepsonsive and impolite customer service reps have been glaring to me. Those who have been friendly are standing out. Yesterday I called 6411 (Directory Inquiries) to get a number. Admittedly, feeling a bit lazy, not wanting to go and look for the phonebook. I had to keep spelling the name of the place I wanted for the woman on the other end to understand. She was still having trouble understanding and finding it. I began to feel frustrated, realising I would have spent less time looking for a phonebook and looking up the number myself. My tone began to develop a frustrated tinge, but hers remained constant and pleasant. I was just about to tell her not to bother when she said "Oh, here it is ..." She proudly called out the number for me in a sunny voice. I said "Thank you." She said: "Youuuuuuuuuuuu're welcommmmmmmmmmme" in such a warm, proud tone, like an old woman (even though she was young) speaking endearingly to a younger person. My frustration dissipated as I thought "What a pleasant person .. even though she took so long." I then called the number. It was the wrong one ...


Blogger tracy j said...

****clapping**** so on point!

7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...you just had to laugh at the ending...i was very amused.

3:31 PM  

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