I started to believe customer service was dead when I came across a couple of incidents that really bothered me. One example: I was getting lunch the other day at a cafeteria style restaurant and the woman in front of me was with her young daughter. The woman had a broken arm in a sling and was struggling to pay, I watched her then try to carry her tray while her small daughter tried to carry her own tray. I got out of line and asked the woman if I could carry her tray to her table. She smiled and said thank you no, she had it.” “Are you sure?” I asked but she declined again and did make it to a nearby table intact. I was so upset with the employees who were just standing there watching me. Why didn’t they offer to take her tray to her table? Isn’t that what they are getting paid for?
The next day in went to Publix to get some Salmon for my meal plan. The woman behind the counter was so nice to me, I wanted to stand there and talk to her for hours. Honestly I think she remembered me as I have been in so much buying salmon, but she asked if I wanted any shrimp today (another favorite). I laughed and said, “no not today, but thank you”. “OK” she said, “ but I want to see you in here again soon ok? Have a great day”, she said with a big smile. “ You too”, I said as I walked out to pay and of course the bag boy offered to take my groceries to my car, but I think I can handle a bag or two so I politely declined, but thanked the young man for the offer.
Then last night happened. I was so upset, but I really tried not to make a scene. In preparation for the new school year, I stopped by a local walk in hair shop to get my daughter’s straight, but very long hair trimmed. I was told it would be about a 10 minute wait. I said great and we sat down. Then, I suddenly remembered I had packages just to drop off at the UPS store at the end of the plaza. I asked my daughter just to wait for me when she got done and I would go ahead and drop the bags off before the store closed. I was able to drive to the other end of the plaza, wait in line for the next associate, and have my items scanned it. It took maybe ten-fifteen minutes.
I went back and found my daughter still waiting for her turn so we sat and talked. Several people came in and asked how long the wait was, they were told 30-45 minutes for a trim. They left disgruntled.
Finally I had been sitting there for 35 minutes, so I walked up to the girl behind the counter and said,” Excuse me, you told me for a trim for my daughter would be about 10 minutes and it has already been 40. I have already run an errand and come back and we are still waiting.” She looked horrified, “It’s going to be about 30 more minutes before we can get to you.” Now I was losing my patience, but I calmly said, “Wait: you said 10 minutes, it’s now been 40 and you are telling me another 30? If you had told me an hour in the beginning I would have come back at another time.” I walked away dissatisfied and tried to decide if I was going to leave or just stay, but my daughter literally needed two inches cut from her hair and we had already wasted almost an hour so what was another 30 minutes?
A stylist came from the back as she had heard what was going on and said she was sorry, but there was a woman in back that was almost done and we would be next. Apparently a couple of people who had gone before us had appointments. I took a deep breath, “ I have no problem with people having appointments. I thought this was strictly a walk in place, but if they had appointments, why was I told 10 minutes?” She just apologized; she really didn’t know what to say. Finally my daughter who was using the extra time to try to convince me to get color on her tips was up for her hair cut.
I watched a small huddle of the hair techs and saw one look at me. I thought for sure they thought I was rude and mean, but I had gone out of my way not to embarrass my daughter and tried to be patient or so I thought. I was definitely on my best behavior with my daughter sitting right there. I tend to get stressed easily and I know this about myself.
Then it came, a hair tech who had been watching the whole scene in silence while coloring someone’s hair came over to sit next to me. I apologized as I had my purse sitting on the empty chair. “No, you are fine”, she began. “My name is Chris and I am the Assistant Manager here and on behalf of our company, Hair Cuttery, I want to extend my apologies for the service you received here today and we would like to tell you that your services will be complimentary today.”
I sat there in disbelief. “ Thank you, but that’s not necessary,” I heard come out of my mouth. Why? I have no idea. Chris continued, “ Well I am very sorry and we really want to take care of your bill today for your patience.”
“OK, thank you so much” I replied. We sat and talked about the incident and I ended up laughing when I was done.
So I’m here to tell you that true customer service is not dead. Maybe stories like this will help more stores and personnel realize that we could have walked out as the other people did, but now after a simple recognition, I will be sure to go back. I saw some excellent color and cuts in my time there so who knows what we will have done next, but it’s a sure thing that we will be back the next time my daughter needs her hair cut.
Have you had a good customer service experience recently? If so, please let me know in the comments below.
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