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Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Complain

After yesterday's post, I though I should provide something a little more helpful to my readers. Here are some tips I've developed from answering customer service calls and emails from time to time. You may have some other extremely helpful tips, feel free to leave them in the comments so we can all benefit!

  • Be Specific. This is definitely my number one tip. If you aren't specific it means that the person on the other end doesn't know details that can be used to rectify the situation. Also, the more details you provide the more credibility you lend to the situation. If it is a reoccurring incident call each time it happens. From a customer service standpoint, we would rather rectify the situation now than find about it in two days when it has happened two more times.
  • Don't Rant, Yell, or Scream. Tell someone you would like to complain and then do it with a cool head. This may mean that you need to write an email complaint versus getting on the phone. Keep in mind that often the person taking the complaint is not the one who is responsible. (One time a man called the school where I was working to complain about the automated parent calling system. This older man did not have children, let alone ones that went to the school and was mad about phone calls. He yelled and screamed at me for a solid five minutes. I had nothing to do with the program, but was left in tears.)
  • Give Your Information. The man I was just talking about, did not at any point give me his phone number and we didn't have caller ID. His number could not be taken out of the system without us knowing it. When I take a phone call I generally always ask for a name and phone number in case we need more information. When I relay the message to the proper person I am able to give them the info so that they can get any questions answered. This also gives credibility to your complaint.
  • Don't threaten. When someone is complaining and they get hostile, either with words or body language, the person listening to you has stopped listening and is instead focused on getting you out of their face and away from them. Fight or flight kicks in. No complaint is important enough for you get so riled that the cops get called on you. If it is that important, notify proper authorities. Call the Better Business Bureau, the City or the authorities if the situation is that messed-up.
  • Confirm your Contact. I have heard complaints on all sorts of other businesses. In fact, most of the complaints I answer go something like this. "I'm so sorry about that, but I am not _enter other business name here_. I have their phone number as ______________ and would recommend that you call them." If they have already called I send them to the BBB or other authority that can actually help them. Meanwhile, I've wasted my time listening to them rant. All I want is my time back since most often reading the internet would have provided them the correct answer (that's where I got it).
  • Clarify. If someone has been writing down what you've been telling them they will have questions for you. This isn't because you were unclear, it is because they want to make sure they have the details. Give them a chance to ask questions and make it a conversation. This allows a solution to be reached.
  • Move on. When you have done all of the above and are satisfied that your very specific, calm, and clear complaint has been heard let the person move on it. Often I have taken a complaint and need to communicate it to someone else before it can be resolved. If the complainer stays on the line or continues talking to me then I can't relay the information as quickly as I need to. I am not putting you off, I am just trying to get my work done. If you really need additional closure I would suggest that you tell the person you will call them back in an appropriate amount of time and then do it. 
I know this is something a little random, but consider it my free advice to you. Those with customers want to know how to meet their needs and complaints provide a road-map. Whenever someone calls or emails me to complain I always thank them. They can give me invaluable insight.

Psst... You can follow me on facebook and twitter, if you want to, that is!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

This One Time...

Not to long ago I was telling Pop Rocks about a horrible customer service experience I had many years ago at a certain home improvement warehouse. I don't want to name names, but you should know that I absolutely love Lowe's and have had great experiences with Ace Hardware.

This particular incident involved me trying to take back something that I had not purchased. It was for my job at the time and a co-worker had purchased something. When we started using it there were only about 50 feet of wire in the box versus the 250 feet we had purchased. (This part isn't the point.)

Well I showed up at customer service and explained what had happened. I wasn't actually returning anything, because we had already used what little was actually in the box. I explained my situation to the cashier, fully expecting to be taken care of in a courteous manner. And I was, by the cashier, but he explained that because it was a refund of over a certain amount he would have to get it approved. 

I fully understood. My other job at the time was in retail and I wasn't concerned. I knew I was right and I was being honest so it didn't bother me.

The "manager" that came to approve the transaction walked up with her arms folded across her chest. She looked at me with a smug look and said, "I'm sorry we can't help you." 

I had not told her anything about what I was doing. I hadn't had a chance to explain. She just walked up and gave me a rude, haughty answer. Had she been kind and understanding towards me I probably would have taken what she said and left. But I was not going to be treated like scum.

I proceeded to tell her the entire story over again. After which she called the associate from the department who came over and backed her up. She never uncrossed her arms. So I did what my mother told me to do if ever I felt I wasn't being heard. I asked for the manager. 

She said, "Well, I'm the head cashier. I can make this decision." 

I said that I would still like to speak to the manager. She explained that they were all in a meeting.

This is the part that Pop Rocks couldn't believe, but it really did happen. I looked her in the eye and said, "Well, you can go get one out of the meeting or I can stand here and wait until they are done." She huffed and she puffed and she walked away to get a manager.

I guess that in the time she took to get said manager she told him my story with her commentary. The manager walked up and basically said the same thing. "We can't help you." He also didn't want to listen to my story and he refused to budge from his stance. I don't know if he had his arms crossed the whole time, but his facial expressions told me he wouldn't help me.

The cashier, who was so kind, felt horrible that I was being treated that way. I went back to work and explained what had happened to my boss. He told me to find the stores phone number which was easily done with the receipt for the item I had to purchase while I was there. He immediately got on the phone and asked for the manager. The manager was the same one that I had talked to and my boss gave him a very stern talking to. They refunded our money. 

That is why I prefer Lowe's. I have always been treated kindly there and have never felt like I was stupid because of my age or gender. I felt like I should share this story here for you to know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Oh, Hello There!

Hello there! I've missed you. I really have. I've had some posts bumping around in my head, but I haven't taken the time to write them down for you. 

The truth is, I've been busy. Like, really busy. The other part is that I've been a little bit worn down, so I just haven't made it to a post. 

A friend asked me a couple of weeks if I updated this blog lately. When I tried to explain myself, all I could say was that I haven't had anything to say. Several times I would come to write and couldn't find anything to write. So instead I would stare.

Stare at the blank box with that little blinking cursor. So here I am finally telling you that I've been struggling to find the words to say, well, anything!

I have a post idea in my head and I've kept taking pictures for Merry Mary Mondays. I just haven't managed to get them posted before I go to bed on Mondays. Like this picture from a post-Father's day post that never got written or posted. 

Aren't they cute? This was what I found that Sunday morning when I walked out of the back of our house to go to church. So anyway, hopefully I will be back soon with something far more interesting to say! Until then...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mall Fashion

Pop Rocks and I were at the mall to see a movie over the weekend. We got a snack at the food court and I had mine well before PR had his. I had some time to people watch and realized that I am so not into the fashion that I saw. Here are some of the highlights:

  • There was lots and lots of neon. Mostly on middle school girls. It would only really be cute on them it seems.
  • Shorts for girls are really short. (And unfortunately many women too!) Walking behind girls in these shorts is very irritating. There was one mom and daughter who met up in the food court to review what the daughter had purchased. There were three pairs of shorts in the bag. All ridiculously short. Also, one was neon yellow. NEON YELLOW SHORT SHORTS! As I watched the mom got more and more upset looking at these shorts. I saw her mouth the price to her daughter followed by a very upset phrase. When we passed the store, the shorts were on sale for $35! There wasn't even $5 worth of fabric on them!
  • There was one lady wearing all white from her draping sweater over white tank with a white bohemian skirt and white espadrilles. I am serious. It was so bad.
  • There was lots of hair dyed crazy colors. Mostly it was just the tips or a stripe. I like this look and wish I could pull it off without looking like I was trying to hard. Also, there was a Journey's concert thing going on so it could've had to do with all the skater kids at the mall.
  • There were tattoos every where. PR and I noticed this when we were in Jamaica as well, but it seems that I see tattoos on more that 50% of grown people anymore. Even people who don't fit the typical has a tattoo stereotype.
  • I saw a pair of high waisted leopard print pants. I hope I never see such a sight again. It was awful.
  • The funniest to me was a classy looking older lady. She was wearing a nice white shirt with a good looking khaki skirt. But then, she had on a pair of PURPLE Tom's' shoes. It just didn't fit. 

All in all it made me thankful that I don't care that much about fashion. To each their own. As long as it isn't offensive (I would argue that short shorts are) I'm fine with it. It is just interesting to sit back and observe.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Movie Review: Snow White and the Huntsman

So Pop Rocks and I were eagerly awaiting the premier of Snow White and the Huntsman. We don't often go to movies, so we were excited to get to the show. Some of our good friends came with us, the four of us go to lots of movies together it seems!

P.R. and I were the first ones in the very large theater. I think it was the largest theater in the cinema, so we were expecting a crowd. It was fun to get what we deemed the best seats in the house. The attendance in the theater was sparse. 

I really enjoyed the movie. It was a different twist on the classic fairy tale we all love. As you know, I love Once Upon A Time, so it was fun to see Snow White's story in another, completely different way.

I am not going to tell you the story, because I don't want to spoil it for you and there are trailers you can watch online. 

On our drive home that evening I realized how clean the movie was, in comparison to normal Hollywood fare. I decided to look it up on Focus on the Family's website. There I realized I was right. What I noticed most was the lack of cuss words. There were three, to be exact. The violence in it wasn't gory and offending, but was somewhat necessary to the story line. Though not quite as clean, it reminded me of Disney's Prince of Persia. It goes to prove that you don't need the tremendous amounts of blood and gore that many flicks use to tell their stories. 

I don't recommend taking the kids unless you've already seen it. It is rate PG-13 and it got that rating for good reason. There are other elements to the movie that could be scary for children. Its a fairy tale so there is a lot of magic, both good and dark.

Overall though, I was impressed.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Merry Mary Monday: 6.4.12

I took some photos of Mary this morning. She was huddled up with the blanket to protect her from the menacing winds of the ceiling fan.

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