I'll do a quick catch up post with some new, fun links here in a bit. But first, I need to vent about something.
So yesterday morning, I'm at the Retail day job and my store manager calls just to check in (he always does) and see how the day is going. After we chat, he says he forgot to mention something when he saw me yesterday--I had a customer complaint. Against me, specifically. And I knew exactly what he was talking about.
In seven and a half years with this Retail company, I've been witness to incidents that end up being reported to customer service by irate customers. And 99% of the time, the customer is irate of their own doing and we truly did do everything we could to appease/help them. Some people just love to bitch. But this is the first time I'd ever had a specific complaint about me.
I tell my manager I think I know what this is about, then proceed to tell him about a Customer who came in two Friday's ago. I remember it clearly, because I was so flabbergasted by this woman that I thought about it for hours afterward. I discussed it with both associates working with me that night, and we were all amazed and confused to be accused of giving "ghetto service" and that we shouldn't "treat people like that."
I still can't figure out what "ghetto service" means, but whatever.
I won't rehash the entire evening. Was the Customer treated badly? Absolutely not. Did she walk into the store and get ignored completely by all three of us? Absolutely not. Could we have been more attentive to her needs as she shopped? Yes, of course. We were doing some merchandise-related tasks that evening and were a little distracted by them, but we weren't hiding. And she wasn't there ten minutes before she told me she'd "never been so ignored in a COMPANY STORE before in my life." Er, huh?
Surprise Brain took over at that point. She wouldn't be more specific about her needs or how she thought she'd been ignored/received back service. She didn't accept any of my apologies (which were completely sincere because, hello, Surprise Brain goes on instinct here and doesn't lie). She said she'd been shopping at COMPANY STORES for years and had never received such terrible service. On her way out the door, she basically said the same thing to the associate who greeted her on her way in.
She left three very boggled people in her wake.
I had a funny feeling I'd hear from this lady again. And my store manager said, after I finished my accounting of events, that what I said was similar to what she said. But oh how perspective distorts things (this feels like it could be turned into a writing lesson, doesn't it?).
Everyone has the right to their opinion. If this Customer felt our service that night didn't meet her standards, fine. That didn't bother me at all. Upon reflection, I think we all (associates and the customer) could have done things differently in order to achieve a more positive outcome. We could have been more attentive to her needs; she could have been more specific about what she wanted from us (according to the email, she came in for a flower arrangement and wasn't assisted as she expected to be, but neither associate mentioned her asking them for help with flowers...what can you do?).
No, what pissed me off about her email is what I'll simply call WTF!. My first WTF! came at the beginning of her email, in which she felt the need to detail her career achievements (she's a doctor and a lawyer, apparently). She also felt the need to tell us how many homes she owned, that she has money, and that her father is a multi-millionaire.
Um, and? I don't give a flying fig if you're worth five bucks or five million, and I don't give a shit if you're a doctor, a lawyer, a star athlete, or the guy who changed my oil last week at Jiffy Lube. Everyone deserves the same amount of respect and consideration, and I don't alter my service standards based on your social status.
((Slight aside: to help a little bit, when I told another associate about the complaint and who was working with me, she said, "What? You're three of the nicest people who work here."))
Next WTF! item - "new employees." I'm assuming here she meant new to her, but in the context of the email, it sounded as if she meant new to the company. Which none of us are. But we are not only new, we are also "rude disrespectful employees."
WTF! item that really pissed me off to the point of being personally offended my own damned self - she felt the need to mention her race, and made comments that implied we assumed that because she was Jamaican/Puerto Rican we looked at her and assumed "I am on welfare and have NEVER been in a [redacted] store." (direct quote)
I do NOT like being accused of being racist. Not one fucking bit, and especially not in such a passive-aggressive manner. Do NOT put those kinds of words into my mouth or that ignorance in my heart. Because it only makes you look like a jerk.
Last WTF! item before the summation: she wants all three of us fired. Part of me feels as if I've reached a pinnacle in my retail career now that someone has requested me fired (I'm still unclear as to why, exactly, because she never does get around to being specific about our offensive actions against her). Don't worry, no one's getting fired over this.
So what have we learned today, class?
When you're writing a letter of complaint, be specific about what it is that occurred in the store. Note specific interactions or offenses, so that it can be understood by both parties what exactly went wrong. Do not include unnecessary backstory--it only clouds the issue at hand and has no relevance to what happened in the store. I have no way of knowing your entire life story when you enter the premises, so I cannot judge you by it (nor would I, even if I knew it). Do not make ignorant assumptions about why you felt you were treated as you were.
Because you know what assuming does.