Don’t Ask Me, I Just Work HereApril 26th, 2012 by Jennifer Vaughn
About a month ago, my spouse and I headed out to purchase new swimwear. We’d signed up for a parent and tot swimming class and the only suit I had was one I wore while pregnant so it was stretched and sagging in all of the wrong places. We loaded everyone into the car and drove to the nearest big-box sport retailer to look for replacements.
We wandered around the two storey store until we discovered the swimwear section. Looking over my options, I muttered a few choice words at the lack of selection in the womens’ suits – especially as compared to the mens’. There were easily 3-times more options for men than for women. Perhaps, I thought, there are suits somewhere else. After several minutes I was able to hunt down a store employee to ask. Nope, I was looking at it all.
The exchange between the store employee and me, went something like this.
Me: Hm. That sucks.
Employee: Well, but it’s not summer yet.
Me: Then why do you have so many mens’ suits?
Employee: (walking away) I don’t know it’s not my department.
Admittedly, I didn’t start the exchange off on great footing. However, that meant the employee had so much more opportunity to impress me. Instead, he basically told me that he didn’t care.
Three Alternate Answers The Employee Could Have Given
- Super-Hero Answer: I’m sorry you’re frustrated. Unfortunately, this isn’t my department so I don’t know a lot about stock. I’ll go and find an employee who works in this department and maybe they can tell you when new stock is arriving or help locate a store that has more stock.
- Hero Answer: I’m sorry you’re frustrated. I can give you a list of our other stores and you can see if they have better stock there.
- Regular Joe Answer: I’m sorry you’re frustrated. There are other stores in the mall that carry suits. If you stop by the mall information desk, I’m sure they can direct you to some.
Any one of those exchanges would have left me feeling more valued because they would have
- Acknowledged my frustration.
- Pointed me in the direction of a solution to my problem.
We are all representatives of our employers – whether we like it or not. From the highest ranking CEO to the unpaid summer intern. Every employee has an obligation to help customers – whether it’s explicitly in your job description or not. And, helping a customer doesn’t mean you have to solve their issue for them. Just acknowledge their challenge and get them on the right path.
It’s simple. But can be so easy to lose sight of.
When we the last time you were wowed or disappointed by customer service?
When was the last time you did the wowing?