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  • Writer's pictureJason Thomsen Voice Actor

Avoidable bad experience?

Today I was a customer at a supply store that I will keep anonymous. We are in the process of fixing our basement and needed some items (sandpaper, brushes, broom handle, masks to name a few of the items- you get the idea).

As I approached the self checkout, I did a bit of a double take. The bags at the one I was looking at were VERY small. For a store that sells tools and supplies, it seemed like an incredibly small bag. I suppose you could put a box of nails or screws. Anything larger would be a stretch.

Glancing over at the other checkouts, they all had these small bags. I am sure I had a very confused look on my face. The attendant told me that those were the only bags there were.

Okay.....

While I was a bit perplexed, this was a minor thing. Certainly not anything I would complain about. Little did I know this was perhaps foreshadowing the pretty bad customer service I was about to experience.

I went about scanning my items in and placing them in several of the small gift bags. I got to my final item, a long broom handle. It didn't scan. Oh well, need to wait for the attendant.

The attendant first did the usual searches on the computer looking for the item. Couldn't seem to find it. Another attendant came over to help. Did the exact same searches even though the first guy told him he had already done them. They went to another terminal to search again. No luck.

I wasn't sure of the price, so the attendant begrudgingly asked me where I had found it. I explained to him the area and the specific aisle I had found it.

About 5-10 minutes passed. Just as I was about to look for him, I saw him come back with a handle. It wasn't the handle that I had chosen. In fact it wasn't even in the same ballpark as the handle I had selected. He told he that the one I had was the only one left (which was not true) and was handing me this other handle to try to scan into the system instead.

I was dumbfounded. I knew it wasn't the only one left. Perhaps he couldn't find it- but why did he not return with the handle I had before? He didn't even ask me to show him where I found it.

I told him I didn't want that handle. The handle that he gave me wasn't even the same type of handle that I needed. He appeared irritated.

I thought at this point a manager or someone would have gotten involved or they would have asked for someone higher up to fix this. But he just stood there holding the broom handle out to me. I told him I didn't want it. He tilted his head as if to say 'Come on, dude, just take it so we can all just go on with our lives.'

My dumbfounded feeling quickly turned into disgust. "I'll just buy what I need elsewhere." I paid for my other items and left.

On my way out, lying next to the automatic doors, was a small stack of regular sized bags. The fact that I couldn't laugh about that quickly summarized how irritated I became.

I was mad. I made a vow that I was never going back to that store. I would just let my house fall apart before I set foot back into that place.


Thinking back, it still irritates me.

There are so many moments where this went wrong.

There are so many moments that could have been avoided.

There are so many moments that did not have to happen.


And yet, they did.

As a customer, I don't think I was asking for much. I selected an item. I wanted to buy the item.

They didn't let me buy the item.

The store lost money.

And the experience was so poor the store has lost a lot of money that will go to a competitor.


Customer service is such a large part of the experience. A business can have an awesome product and do everything right. But a poor experience with someone that works there can ruin it. And that bad experience can lead to word of mouth. The poor experiences stack on top of themselves and more and more people avoid the awesome product. They tell other people not to buy the awesome product. And they do avoid it. And before they know it, they are losing lots of money.


That isn't always the case with a large business.


What happens when you are a small business? A single instance cannot be overlooked. Every customer is precious.


Customer service is not something that should ever be overlooked.


In my experience I felt like it was missed in so many ways. I didn't feel like they cared. I was just another guy that was buying stuff that they might have to interact with. They lied and they wanted me gone.


As a small business owner, we should really embrace the opportunity of providing customer service. We shouldn't see it as something we should do or have to do. It should be something we WANT to do.


It is an opportunity to make someone feel important and care about them as a person. That's really what customer service is: caring about the person. Nobody should be seen as "what they can do for you". They should been seen as "what can I do for them?"


Does it help your business? Sure. But that's not why you should do it.


It's an opportunity to affect a person's life for the better. As a result they may feel better about their day. They may treat others better as a result.


And as a result, you have made people feel better that you had absolutely no connection with otherwise!


Isn't that cool?!


I hope you say yes.




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