Hello, everyone. You’re here today because it has come to the attention of the public that you are in dire need of training in the area of “Customer.” No, no, not training in customer service, but in actually being a customer. Your records of interaction with those of the retail and service industry have been rated at sub-par levels; this training will equip you with the skills you need to interact successfully and politely with retail/service employees.
To help you recognize that all Retail/Service Industry employees are, in fact, members of society, their job titles will be capitalized, suggesting that they are humans with names and feelings.
Please open your binder to the blue tab entitled “Consumer Myths.” We’ve all heard the following phrase: “The customer is always right.” This is false. There are times when you, the Customer, are in fact wrong. Please see the example below for clarification.
Customer: (leaning in to double check items on screen) You rang up the shampoo wrong.
Cashier: Excuse me?
Customer: The V05. It’s supposed to be buy one, get one free.
Cashier: Oh, ok. Let me send someone back to check the aisle.
Customer: I know what the tag said! It’s BOGO!
Cashier sends Bagboy to check the price. Customer visibly becomes agitated at the cashier, avoids eye contact, and taps finger impatiently. Bagboy returns and states that the Suave shampoo was buy one, get one free, not the V05.
Customer: I want to speak with a manager. The tag was in the wrong place, and I demand the deal be given to me.
Cashier turns on blinking overhead light to indicate she needs a manager’s assistance. Customers behind in line start to become agitated.
Now, let’s examine the correct way to interact with the cashier in the same situation.
Customer: Excuse me, I think the shampoo was rung up incorrectly (notice how the Customer blames the computer system rather than the Cashier).
Cashier: Oh, I’m sorry. What’s it supposed to be?
Customer: I thought I saw a tag that said the V05 was buy one, get one free.
Cashier: Ok, I’ll send someone to go check that for you.
Bag Boy runs and checks while Customer waits patiently.
Cashier: I’m sorry ma’am, but the sale applies only to the Suave products. Would you like me to put these back for you?
Customer: Oh, my mistake. I’ll still purchase them as they’re only 90 cents a bottle anyway. (Turns to Bag Boy) Thank you for checking the price.
As we can see, this interaction was much smoother, resulting in good moods for the Customer, Cashier, Bag Boy, and Others behind in line. Everybody wins!
Guys, you’re doing great. Let’s continue on to the next section of our training entitled “How to Treat Restaurant Servers.” It can be found under the green tab.
Restaurants can be tough for Customers. Granted, there are times when a server isn’t doing what you might consider “a good job” (i.e. not refilling drinks the second you’re finished, or it appears that they are ignoring you and only talking to the six other full tables in their section). However, it is your job as a fellow citizen and human being to reflect on the following before retaliating against your server.
- Your server may not visit your table within the first 30 seconds of your seating. You may feel the compulsion to wave or snap your fingers at your server to get their attention. DO NOT DO THIS. Please refrain from calling your server in the same manner you would call your dog.
- Tipping can be tricky for some and a reluctance for others. The following may help you as you decide what to tip:
- In some states, servers make less than $3 per hour as tips are automatically factored in as part of their income. Viewing tipping as optional may keep your server from having food on their own tables at home.
- Some customers feel that leaving religious paraphernalia is of much more value than money. If you feel the compulsion to leave religious tracts, please ALSO leave a tip. The server will be much more inclined to convert if there is cash attached to the pamphlets.
I can see that we are making great strides today. Please turn to the yellow tab labeled “How to Talk to Customer Service Reps over the Phone.” This is the hardest section of Customer Training as many issues will never be solved by calling an automated system that is deliberately designed to deter customers from actually solving a problem or receiving a refund.
Often, the need to call customer service is a result of things going wrong at home or the office, which can lead you, the Customer, to become understandably irate (i.e. router stops working for no apparent reason, Cable is out although weather is sunny and 75 degrees, etc.). Although this is righteous anger, you, as the Customer, must remember that the faulty appliances and systems in your home are malfunctioning due to shoddy workmanship and NOT because your Customer Service Rep deliberately broke these things.
When you are (hopefully) connected to a human, remember to remain calm. The Rep is instructed to deter you from speaking to their Manager by penalty of death; insist to speak with one, but please refrain from screaming/hollering/cursing at the person at the other end of the phone. When they put you on hold for minutes at a time only to return to the phone with a suggestion that you have tried three dozen times, remind yourself: “This problem is not the Rep’s fault; their Manager and ceo are hoping that I will simply hang up the phone and purchase a new product rather than fix the broken one.” Again, you may request to speak to the manager and/or person in charge. If you find yourself inhaling/exhaling 200+ times per minute and/or your temperature rising past 102 degrees, please thank the Rep for their time, hang up the phone, scream into a pillow, denounce technological advances, and declare that you are “getting off the grid.”
You’re doing great! We’ve covered many aspects of Customer-Retailer/Server Interactions. Please review the last few hints and tips on how to successfully engage in public shopping arenas.
- When looking for an item of clothing in a neatly folded pile, please carefully select your size rather than rifling through the pile and dismantling the entire display.
- Do not comment on your Cashier/Salesperson’s tattoos, hair color, or choice of clothing. It is not your job as the Customer to pontificate on your expectations of all people in society.
- If you find that the prices of products are outrageous or astronomical, do not complain about this to the Cashier; again, this is not their fault.
- After using a shopping cart to bring purchased items to your car, please return the cart to the designated areas rather than parking them on curbs or in-between cars in parking spaces. This seems obvious and logical, but surprisingly, many Customers fail to complete this simple task.
Congratulations! You’ve successfully been trained in how to respectfully treat those who work in jobs that you assume take no skill or aptitude. If you find yourself wanting to lash out at an Employee, just remember: when you’re rude to your Barista, there’s a chance your double-shot, tall latte that you need “to get you through the morning” just became decaf.
Happy Interacting in Society!