Thursday, June 18, 2009

Customer service

Here is an account of my experience trying to buy a watch battery at Target today (inner dialogue in italics):

Sales clerk: "Can I help you?"
Me: "I need to get this battery."
Clerk: "I don't think we have that one."
Me: You have all the watch battery types memorized?
Clerk, after a pause of about 5 seconds to check in the cabinet: "No, we don't have that one. You can check in electronics."
Me: "That's strange, you had it the last time I was here."
Me: Which was only two weeks ago, but I don't want to admit that I was stupid and lost the battery I got then.
Clerk: "Sorry, we don't have it."

At about that time, an older clerk, whom I had seen during my previous visit, came over. I asked her, "You don't have this battery?" She and the other clerk looked in the cabinet and found it in about the same 5 seconds it took the first clerk to determine that they didn't have it the first time.

It's just Target, and I'm sure she doesn't get paid on commission (which wouldn't amount to anything on a $4 watch battery anyway). But it would be nice if people in sales made some vague effort to satisfy the customer, rather than beginning with a negative and only giving a cursory glance to test her initial assumption.

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