Thursday, May 7, 2015

How not to suck at customer service

Well, you certainly can't get any more sucky than the baboon that I met in Lowes in Red Bank, South Carolina yesterday. Well, maybe I'll take that back. This is South Carolina where customer service isn't so much a lost art but more one that's not been purchased by the big stores.

I walked into Lowes, looking for an electric shower. This is something that's simply plugged into both the electric and the cold water supply. The result is a nice, hot shower. They are available on the Lowes website and quite possibly in stores too. Not having much idea where to look, I approached two Lowes staff members, one of whom asked if he could help. The other took the opportunity to slink away.

Picture this - the customer asks a question and the Lowes baboon is standing right beside a computer with the Lowes search page on the screen. I asked about where I could find an electric shower and he shrugged his shoulders and started to walk away turning his back on me, the customer, while muttering over his shoulder that he'd never heard of one and Lowes didn't sell them.

What's wrong with this scene? More, what's right with it? Its horrible customer service! Most of the problem comes from the low caliber of staff that the stores drag out from skid row. There is a definite link between low wages and poor service. American stores in general are scared to raise prices and give the customer a good experience from well trained, happy, valued, well paid staff. They seem to prefer to give low prices with products hurled at customers by surly, sullen, rude and disengaged staff. As they say - pay peanuts and get monkeys!

What should have happened is that the staff member should have asked questions to ascertain what I was looking for. Then they should have tried it in their computer system. Had they not found it, a manager should have been summoned and the customer offered a cup of coffee while they waited for resolution. Had the manager been unable to find the item then corporate office should have been contacted - all in the presence of the customer. Now that's good customer service. Of course, this will never be seen in South Carolina because nobody cares.

Needless to say, I was so pissed off by the insolent customer service that I simply walked out of the store without buying any of the things I needed. I'll have to start shopping online since the stores are getting so unbearable.

In other news, I carried on with cutting the supports for the bathroom-dinette partition. I've got it pretty close but I'm not yet 100% satisfied with the fit. As I progress with my bus I seem to be becoming much better at getting things to fit.

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