7.26.2008

the customer is not always right

Have you seen this website? Those of us who have worked in any service industry will appreciate it. Thanks to James. Great stuff.

13 comments:

James said...

Here is a nice entry where the clerk and the customer are right, and the jerk of a manager gets what he deserves...

L-girl said...

I saw that one on the main page - excellent!

Kim_in_TO said...

I'm really enjoying reading these. And it's suddenly occurred to me that this touches on the Canadian apology phenomenon once more. After reading a few pages, I'm struck by how blunt some of the staff are. Although Canadian sales/service staff can be incredibly rude (which is a different topic), when it comes to PR and dealing with difficult customers, all of the interactions I've witnessed or been involved in involve a much greater degree of politeness and deference to the customer. It usually takes a lot more before staff will be rude back to a rude customer.

L-girl said...

Although Canadian sales/service staff can be incredibly rude (which is a different topic),

I don't doubt your perception, as you've been here all your life and I've only been here 3 years. But in my time here, I've never seen this.

And I'm sure my perception of rudeness is coloured by the seemingly universal sullenness and rudeness of service people in the US. I know it's not 100% - it can't possibly be - but it often felt as if when you encountered a friendly, helpful service person, it was a minor miracle.

I assume this has something to do with working for sub-living wages, no health benefits, inhumane working conditions and the general shitty life such jobs afford. But it's so much more extreme in the US, that to me most service people in Canada seem so nice and helpful.

And this not a NYC observation. It's everywhere!

Joe Grav said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA amazing site.

Kim_in_TO said...

I don't doubt your perception, as you've been here all your life and I've only been here 3 years. But in my time here, I've never seen this.

Ain't that funny? We need to go shopping together. I'm wondering if at least a part of this phenomenon is differing perceptions of what constitutes rudeness, due to differences in upbringing and socialization. Also, let me take you to the Dominion on Gould St.

Canadians I know always come back from US vacations and talk about how friendly and professional the sales staff are in all the stores. (Of course, there could be a tourist factor in there...)

L-girl said...

Also, let me take you to the Dominion on Gould St.

:D

Canadians I know always come back from US vacations and talk about how friendly and professional the sales staff are in all the stores.

Do they??? Holy shit.

(Of course, there could be a tourist factor in there...)

I assumed the touristy places have similarly sullen, underpaid staff as everywhere else. But maybe not?

Wow, that is really funny to hear.

impudent strumpet said...

Maybe it's differing expectations? I've noticed some people in the world consider it perfectly adequate customer service to be treated like they're just as good as anyone else, while other people consider it bad customer service if they're treated like they're just as good as anyone else (because they aren't being treated like they're special).

A while back there was a big kerfluffle on craigslist of all places about how the employees of Noah's at Yonge & Eg are apparently so very rude. I shop there somewhat regularly, and I was always happy with how they treat me. The employees of the store and the target customers of the store are both way cooler than me (and the typical customer spends way more money than me) so I was happy to be treated like I'm just as good as anyone else. But all these people on craigslist were complaining, and shortly after all this complaining happened the employees at Noah's started getting a bit...I don't know...gushier, maybe? Putting on that phoney smily voice acting like they're actively happy to be serving you? And then everyone on craigslist started saying how customer service had improved SO MUCH, so it really seems to me that there were a lot of people who wanted to be gushed over and treated like they're special.

I don't know if that applies here, but that's my theory which is mine.

(And the link is brilliant, BTW. I wish that site existed back when I was working fast food.)

L-girl said...

I like your theory in theory. But in practice it would imply I need or want to be treated like I'm oh-so-special and be gushed over, which I totally don't.

I don't need to think I'm better than anyone. I just don't want to leave a store feeling like, Pardon me for trying to give you some of my money!

I'm talking about someone who can't be bothered to look up during a business transaction, doesn't say please or thank you, carelessly throws your stuff into a bag, holds your change out to you without looking (so their hand is waving in the air no where near you) while they talk to a co-worker or fiddle with something.

The best word to describe it is sullen.

That's in person. On the phone, it comes across as curt and impatient, like you are bothering them.

I found this regularly in the US, and never have in Canada (yet?).

L-girl said...

The employees of the store and the target customers of the store are both way cooler than me (and the typical customer spends way more money than me) so I was happy to be treated like I'm just as good as anyone else.

But you should certainly not be treated as less than anyone else because of that.

If I shop at a store or dine at a restaurant that is more upscale than my income (which we have always occasionally done), I think I should be treated the same way as every other customer is treated. Not with a "you don't belong here" attitude.

But just to clarify, this is not what I'm talking about. In upscale establishments, I have always been treated respectfully and like everyone else.

I'm talking about run-of-the-mill grocery stores, dept stores, banks - especially banks!!, the cable company, the utility company, etc.

Probably the biggest difference that I've found between the US and Canada, in terms of customer service, is banking.

We still can't get over how nice everyone at TD is - at every branch I've gone to. US bank employees are like sharks.

Ferdzy said...

Aaaah.

I have been dealing with a particular difficult tenant all week to the point that I feel queasy and am not sleeping at night.

Reading about all their "relatives" has calmed me down a lot, so thanks very much for this!

Kim_in_TO said...

Actually, I've experienced the same at banks, but it didn't used to be that way. I think because over the years Canadian banks have come to realize that they have a PR problem, they've really worked hard at improving customer service - which is easier now that the majority of customers never deal with tellers in person.

The no-eye-contact, no greeting, no thank-you type of transaction is what I am referring to when I say "rudeness". I see it often enough. A small improvement is the quick transaction which starts with "hello" and ends with "thank you" but sounds more like "go to hell" - which is understandable in a busy place with line-ups when it is clear that they just want to get you processed as quickly as possible, but is still not so pleasant.

Now we need a blog with stories of incompetent clerks and sales staff!

L-girl said...

It sounds like we define rudeness the same way, which I suspected.

Now I wonder if we differ on expectations, so that, being a Canadian, when you encounter rudeness, you are more focused on it and remember it more - whereas I come from a place where people are so much ruder, so much more frequently, that when I see rudeness in Canada, it seems like a tiny aberration and I barely notice it!

Does that make any sense??? :)

Now we need a blog with stories of incompetent clerks and sales staff!

I bet there are several out there.