CUSTOMER SERVICE: Epilogue (for now)

I received an interesting email regarding customers abusing a stores generous Return Policy. I thought to myself, “Who would ever do that?” Then I thought to myself, “Have I ever abused a stores Return Policy?”
Let me think for a moment…have I, ever?
Yes, I think I have.
Egads! The truth.
But how…when…whose?
I think it was probably a return to Target, before they got so computer savvy. I don’t know what it was, but I think a golf shirt that I had popurchased there was well passed the days allowed for a return. I’m certain I made a convincing case for my desire to return the item. Was my well being threatened had they not taken the return? No. But is there soemthing to the art of getting a store to take a return, when you know that if it were your store, that you wouldn’t take that return? But we make a great case for our returns, and boy do we! We make such a good case that we actually start believing it ourselves!    
Never the mind! I’ve told the truth, I did it! Yes, I did!
Would I ever do it again? Absolutly not! Now I know what that means, and it is an abuse of a good, actually great, customer service operation. Perhaps my abuse was somewhat petty, but it was still wrong. If I did it, and hundreds of other peole did it, it could result in significant problems or even a loss for a store. I never really considered that others might do the same thing, and the cummulative effect is great when considering this is a national chain with hundreds of thousands of customers.
I shall endeavor to never abuse a Customer Return Policy as long as I live!
Whew, I feel better getting that off of my chest.

Now own with the epilogue!

I continue to get mail on customer service, and one of the emails alluded to the fact that there semed to be a pervasive sense of entitlement and a lack of repsect in our culture. Repect for one another, institutions, manners, and tradition. Here’s the story from a reader:
…your blogging is great!  If one more kid tells me “no problem!”  The other day I followed a 16 yr. girl into ________(name of restaurant deleted) to ask her if she really was handicapped, because she was driving a huge Cadillac with a blue (handicapped) sticker and parked in the (handicapped) zone.  After all of the disrespect (she gave me), I made her move the car, and made her cry (I guess I am becoming my mother). KM

Well KM,
Isn’t that the damned’ist! First of all, what’s a 16 year old doing drving a big Caddy? And worse, what made her think that it would be okay if she parked in the handicapped space just because she had the sticker? I must admit (here goes another confession), until I drove my wifes elderly grandparents, I didn’t truly understand what a problem it is when you need a handicap space and there isn’t one available. The inconvenience and hardship on the elderly is huge! Once I had to double park in the middle of the driveway in front of a restaurant entrance and get them out of the car and to the door, get them situated inside, and then leave them and to go out and park the car. I’m sure the other customers in the parking lot were inconvenienced by our double parked car, as were the grandparents. It was a problem and a hassle. That was several years ago, and there were far fewer handicapped parking spaces to be had anywhere. Now, with an aging poulation, we have an abundance of hanidcapped parking spaces and we have an abundance of elderly and/or handicapped drivers who need those spaces. We need to educate all drivers that those spaces are for those in need.
I’m sure the girl cried becasue she was embarrased by her actions…good! Maybe she will learn something from this experience. Or, would she simply say, it was no problem! UGH!

And this on customer service from Dr. Sheri Carder, a Florida college marketing prof:
From my marketing textbook:  Increasing customer retention by 2% can have the same effect on profits as reducing costs by 10% (and seems much easier to accomplish).

And this: Heard on one of my webinars the other day: “Retention is the new acquisition.”

Excellent Sis! Thanks for your emails


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