{a lesson in customer service}

I want to share two stories with you regarding customer service.  As a business owner I strive to provide great service to my customers, and find myself paying more attention to my personal experiences. I take mental notes of what to do, and what not to do.  I want to tell you about both a recent negative experience and positive experience, and share what I've learned from both of them.

Now, I have a really hard time throwing companies (or people) under the bus because as a business owner, and someone who has worked a billion service & retail jobs, I know that people make mistakes and people have bad days.  Some behavior, however, is inexcusable. I try very hard not to bitch and complain as I am someone who is easily dragged down by negativity, but I do want to share this recent example of indefensible behavior.

The Department Store:

My husband recently started a new job.  For the past 3 years he has been able to wear whatever he wants to work - mostly shorts & t-shirts.  His new office is based out of our home (so it will be mostly the same), but he will have to dress up for travel and meetings.  We went through his old business wardrobe and found things either didn't fit, didn't match or were just not his style anymore.  We (read: I) decided on a mini-shopping spree!  It was pretty exciting to head out to the big department store, and reward my hard working hubby with some brand new, nice business clothes.  We strolled into the men's department and walked up to the table filled with rows upon rows of colorful, crisp dress shirts.  We were immediately approached by a salesman.  "How nice," I thought. "He is coming to help us."  I was wrong.  He was there to tell us...and I quote, "I don't mean to be rude but, please don't try on more than like two of these shirts, it makes a lot of work for me to have to fold them back up." We were appalled.  We were there to spend money. Yes we want to buy your crazy overpriced shirts, and we probably will buy more than two of them. This guy is telling us we can't try on the ones we want?  I was livid and shocked.  We both just laughed in his face and rolled our eyes. How else do you respond to that?

Now, we should have walked out right then, but my husband really needed these shirts. And, they were on sale, so we stayed.  I am not proud about this next part...I proceeded to pick out every single dress shirt my husband would possibly want or need to try on and drag him by the hand to the dressing rooms. I pulled out all of the pins, and I unfolded all the shirts.  My husband rolled his eyes, smiled and tried on the shirts all the while thinking, "buddy, you messed with the wrong woman."  When he was done, we left the dressing room and went to check out.  We handed the salesman the shirts we were going to purchase, and then I asked him where I could go to help him refold the shirts that we were not buying. Having finally realized his idiotic behavior, he blushed and said, "Oh, I'll do that, it's no problem at all."  Ugh! Not my finest hour, but I hope I taught him a lesson.  I definitely learned to never make a customer feel they were inconveniencing me in any way. I am there to provide them goods and services, that is what they are paying me to do!

And, finally, for the story I am really excited to share with you, my recent positive customer service experience.

The Etsy Shop:

I recently moved my studio and laptop into another area of the house, and, when I was setting my computer on my white desk, I realized I was going to need a mouse pad. I never needed one before, in fact, I haven't used one in years.  Where the heck do you get a cute mouse pad?  The ones at office stores are ugly.  Aha...Etsy of course!  I stumbled upon this beauty from Gilmore Creations...

Rose Bouquet Round MousePad/Trivet

Adorable right?  The price was good, so I ordered right away.  I stuck a book under my mouse, and waited...patiently...for a long time...it never came.  I honestly forgot about it until my mom came over and made fun of my ghetto book as mouse pad contraption. I realized I needed to check on my order!

I hopped on etsy and saw that it shipped awhile ago.  I convo'd Kim at Gilmore Creations immediately to find out what was up.  She responded promptly, and sent me the delivery confirmation info promptly.  According to the post office, it had been delivered weeks before. The problem was they were wrong.  I feared I would have to live without my precious mouse pad or re-order it. I was bummed. Kim, however, was not going to let me go unsatisfied.  She sent me another one right away - no questions asked.  Even though it was not at all her fault, she made up for it and came through big time.  As we speak, I am rolling my pretty pink mouse on my pretty floral mouse pad.  It's just darling!

Kim went above and beyond to make something right that wasn't her wrong. Just look at this packaging...

Adorably wrapped with a bonus book mark AND a hand written note apologizing for the mix up. Amazing I tell you! Business owners take note, that is how customer service is done right!  I am grateful to Kim for making sure my mouse pad needs were met, and I will be a repeat customer for sure. So, lessons learned, and notes taken.  This is also a great example of how indie biz owners like Etsy sellers rock and big department stores stink.  

Have you had a great (or crappy) customer experience lately? Please do share!

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