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How to Fire Companies with a Customer Disservice Department

 

With the coming of spring, the time change, the wonderful weather and new addition to the family, my wife was recently stricken with a disease that no husband wants to see his wife get…

The medical term is "fixthebackpatioitis", but translated into husbandese means, "Go spend a ton of dough so we can have family time on the back patio".

Doesn't matter that we have "family time" every waking moment that we are together – but that is the subject for another time.

Dutifully, I headed out the door with my wallet in hand, marketing pieces from local stores and my eye on a new grill – so I can get rid of the three old ones I have – and patio furniture.

First stop, a well-known national retailer, and I am walking around with a lost look on my face, marketing piece from today's paper and wallet in my hand, in the department that is selling what I am looking for…

No salespeople to help me.

I go to the front of the store (and it is a loooong way because I'm at one of those big retailers) and get a guy who is alone at the register, attempting to check out a line five deep AND do the customer disservice.  I tell him what I am looking for and he tells me to wait while he helps other customers (instead of getting another person to come help me so he can focus.)  I think, "Hey. it's okay; it is only Saturday and it is early, I have time."

Thirty minutes later, I am still un-helped.  When the guy finally gets free, he looks in the computer at the four items I want and says, "No problem; we have four of all of these things – I'll go get them."

Sheepishly, he comes shuffling back about twenty minutes later.  "Uh, Sir…our computers only update every four days and apparently we sold all of these items and didn't update the system."

He scours the store-wide system and gives me the location of the nearest four other stores whose computers say they have the items, but their systems might not be accurate as well.  He says, "Why don't you call and check before you go to make sure."

Well – I'm down an hour of time now, still don't have patio furniture and still have money burning a whole in my pocket.  A better idea might be if HE got on the phone and did the legwork for me, since I am standing RIGHT THERE and if he does it and they have the furniture, I probably will go and buy everything RIGHT THEN.

He didn't, so I left and DID NOT go schlepping about for the furniture.  I was now slightly peeved because I didn't get what I wanted.  Strike One.

I now go after the outdoor carpet and new grill.  I go to another national, well-know retailer and walk in – wallet in my hand again – and proceed directly to the grill department.

Ghost town.  Nobody in their color-coordinated outfits to get any help.  I look around for thirty minutes before deciding on a grill, now I just need to know if it is able to be modified for natural gas.  I dig around for another ten minutes before I have to go two departments over – to the paint guys – to get someone to come help me.  He doesn't know where anyone is and doesn't know anything about if the grill I want is convertible or not.

Strike Two.

Now I am getting more than slightly peeved and I am on to annoyed.  I go to the flooring department and get a nice lady – who I am sure meant well – but knew n-o-t-h-i-n-g about flooring, including how to multiple length times width to get square footage.

I explained several times, "I need ten foot six inches by seven foot nine inches please " to which she would reply, "Yes!  Ten foot by six foot! And seven foot by nine foot!" 

"No, I"m sorry; maybe I misspoke.  I need a piece ten foot six inches by seven foot nine inches please."

"Right!  Ten foot by six foot! And seven foot by nine foot!"

I tried one more time before I threw in the towel.  I had gone beyond slightly peeved and annoyed to amused.  This was now funny.

I had tried to spend over a thousand dollars to keep my wife happy – which is as guaranteed of sale as you are going to get; I had my wallet in my hand, for chrissakes – and NO ONE could pull off the sale.

Strike Three – you are all out.

I went home two and a half hours later, money still in my wallet, back patio still in need of help and me, laughing and shaking my head in disbelief.

In this economy, with all the challenges, joblessness and more, you would think that companies would be hopping on the Customer Service & Experience Bandwagon…

Sadly, that is not the case.

Companies and individuals got lazy and complacent during the good times because you could put a monkey in charge of sales and there was so much money flying around, the monkey could still get sales.

Not anymore.

Now, the customer is much more careful about how they are spending their money and how they are treated in the process.  I am just one guy, and I don't know what the average ticket sales is at the two locations where this happened, but if ten percent of the customers are like me – and they all want to drop a grand while they are there – that is thousands and thousands of dollars A DAY that is walking out the door, wallet in hand.

Much like having the right attitude when dealing with your bullying boss or a bully in your life, a proper attitude is a MUST when dealing with companies that have a Customer Disservice Department.

Fire them.  Don't spend your money.  If you are not too annoyed at the waste of time, go somewhere else that does take care of you and let them earn your money.

If you can only get what you want from one place, start to work your way up the leadership chain and let them know what it is you want, how you tried to get it and how you have been trying to give them your money but they don't seem to want to take it.

You will be amazed at how quickly things start to happen for you.

But -  in order for that to happen – you have to DECIDE that you will not tolerate being sent to the Customer Disservice Department.

To your best,

Sensei Harrison Huff

P.S. – It is always amazing and rewarding when people I meet and work with tell me, "Sensei, the principles that you use to stand up to bullies, energy suckers and negative B.S. in your life apply to everything."  That is why I am adding material regarding business and other topics to the new harrisonhuff.com site, which is being finished up as we speak.  Stay tuned for the announcements on what's new and coming down the pike soon.

P.P.S. – I did eventually get everything for the back patio.  I just got it from two other national, well-known retailers.  Do you know how they got the business?  While I was standing in the aisle, looking lost with wallet in hand – an employee saw me, walked up and actually asked if there was anything I needed help with.  Over a thousand dollars later, I was on the way home with everything I needed and a smile on my face.  Amazing what a simple question will do in business…

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