Monday, 28 May 2012

This one time I should have said something and acted concerned.

This post is about the yin and the yang of customer service.  Because I'm so spiritual.

Every Monday morning I drop Mike's shirts off at the newsagency to be dry cleaned.  Not because I am under the mistaken impression that that's what a newsagency does, but they are in cahoots with the dry cleaners and it's not as far to drive and I'm lazy.

They are lovely people, and very kind to the kids, Issy especially always seems to some away with a little treat or useless toy left over from a promotion.

This morning an elderly lady was in there, very upset because her paper had not been delivered on Sunday or this morning, she had been away on holidays and had asked for delivery to be suspended and resume when she returned.

A sterling idea which I would do more often, if we ever went on holidays.

image photo : NewspaperThe staff said their advice came in via fax (aahh, so that's who's still using faxes) and according to their details she was not due to receive a paper delivery until the 29th, not the 27th.  She told them her email confirmation was for the 27th.  They were at a stalemate.

The lady was not being ultra nice, but she certainly wasn't being rude, she was more frustrated than anything else.

She asked if she could take a paper anyway, as to the best of her knowledge, she was due one and had paid for it.  And the staff (there were two of them by now) said no, because Fairfax hadn't paid them.

She walked out, pretty unhappy.  She will probably stew over it all day.

So here's the thing.  Should they have just given her the paper in the spirit of keeping a customer happy, for the sake of $2 Fairfax hadn't paid them?  Or were they right to refuse her?

And furthermore, it was on the tip of my tongue to suggest this to them as a bit of customer service advice (cause I'm like, an expert) but really, it was none of my business and I just stood there feeling uncomfortable with a bag of dirty business shirts.

Or was it?  I know what I would have done if I had been behind the counter.  And it would have been a small act which made a huge positive difference to the customer.

Instead, I handed my shirts over, and slunk around the corner to the most excellent Fruit Shop Guy.  He's called Pete.

But wait, there's a backstory (of course).

On Friday night I needed some dill for my smoked salmon nibbly bits, which I was taking to a party.  The IGA (hereafter known as 'The Robbers') had none, I ran across the road to Pete, who was closing,  and did a commando roll under the roller door as his pulled it down a la Indiana Jones (this is how desperate I was for the dill).

Not only did he have dill, he gave it to me for FREE!  I think he just wanted me out of there so he could have a beer and a ciggie.  And who can blame him really.

Xerochrysum bracteatum - mixed
These are the flowers I bought, they are called Everlasting Daisies.  
So this morning I went back and bought flowers and some veg from him.  And I will do that at least once or twice a week.  Because he deserves the business and he's working damn hard to get it.  I'll tell people about him too, like I'm telling you (helloooo out there).

image photo : Colourful fruit and veg
This is not the veg I bought, it is much more colourful.  
So there you have it, the yin and yang of customer service.  One unhappy lady with no newspaper and one happy fruit shop customer.  All in the space of 5 minutes.

I wish I could find that lady and give her a paper. For me, it's a no brainer.  So should I have said something?  Probably.  Damn.  Sometimes saying nothing and acting casual doesn't work.  Revelation.