Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => The Ehell Guide to Never Behaving Badly => Topic started by: Lisbeth on March 09, 2009, 10:28:57 PM

Title: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Lisbeth on March 09, 2009, 10:28:57 PM
1.  Customers should not have to wait for prolonged periods of time before being served.  A staffer who is not otherwise occupied with work (not personal matters) should immediately attend to a newly arrived customer.

2.  Staffers have no business shouting at customers, making snide remarks to or about customers, or refusing to serve customers unless the customer's behavior is out of line (personal dislike of a customer does not qualify as "out of line behavior" on the customer's part). 

3. It is not the job of staffers to estimate the income of customers or their ability to afford the goods or services they are attempting to purchase.  The customers themselves should inform the staffers of their budgets.

4.  Once a customer has declared that s/he is not interested in what you are suggesting they buy, immediately cease and desist from attempting to sell that particular good or service to that customer.

5.  Staffers should greet all customers with a friendly, professional attitude and have sincerely pleasant looks on their faces (not necessarily big smiles but not frowns or scowls).  It is not appropriate to address a woman customer as "lady."  Children customers must not be patronized or given disrespectful treatment by staffers.  It is never appropriate to treat customers as though they are wasting your time, even when they are.

6.  Staffers should not "dump on" customers-it is not their business why something in one's personal or professional life isn't going well.

7.  If a customer indicates that s/he does not need assistance, the staffer should respect that and not foist unwanted attention on that customer.

8.  If a staffer has indicated that s/he will respond to a customer within a fixed period of time or otherwise follow up on a matter, s/he needs to do that and not leave the customer hanging.

9.  If it isn't possible to provide a customer with what s/he wants, the staffer needs to indicate this in a manner that is sympathetic to the customer.  Abruptness, brusqueness, curtness, or excessive terseness in manner, whether in person, in writing, on the telephone, or through E-mail is off-putting and can result in loss of business, as will appearing bored.

10.  Snide remarks and negative attitudes about one's business's competitors is inappropriate.

11.  When speaking to a customer on the telephone, it is not appropriate to put him/her on hold for a prolonged period of time or on a speakerphone without their permission.  Speaking clearly and not in a monotone is essential.

12.  A little empathy and understanding on the part of a customer service representative will go a long way.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: nekoro on March 09, 2009, 11:48:30 PM
The only one I have a problem with is number 4.  As much as I wish this weren't so, sometimes it's not my decision whether or not to take "no" for an answer.  Sometimes it's my bosses' decision, and my job can be in trouble if I disregard that.

So, maybe that one should be less for the face-to-face people in the stores, and more for the corporate bigwigs who seem to have forgotten that no means no.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: MaggieB on March 10, 2009, 01:13:52 AM
You're on a roll with these, Keen Reader!  The list looks great. 

The only one I have a problem with is number 4.  As much as I wish this weren't so, sometimes it's not my decision whether or not to take "no" for an answer.  Sometimes it's my bosses' decision, and my job can be in trouble if I disregard that.

So, maybe that one should be less for the face-to-face people in the stores, and more for the corporate bigwigs who seem to have forgotten that no means no.

I definitely understand where you're coming from, but your boss is still asking you to be rude.  I was going to say that I'm surprised this is actually policy, but I'm really not surprised at all.   ;)  You're right, this one should be aimed at whomever is making the rule, whether it's corporate policy or whether the salesperson feels he or she has better luck when putting on the pressure.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Lisbeth on March 10, 2009, 07:40:10 AM
KeenReader, did you want to add etiquette rules of how customers should treat CSRs in this thread, or did you plan to start another one? If you do, I will post in that one, but if not I have some suggestions for this thread. Let me know, because I don't want to start an avalanche on this one if that is not the purpose of it. Thanks  :).

Feel free to add your suggestions to this thread.  I'd like to see them, wherever they're posted!
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ginlyn32 on March 10, 2009, 07:53:39 AM
For the Customer:

*Do not treat the salesperson/CSR as if they are beneath you.

*Do not be verbally abusive to the salesperson/CSR. If you want to complain, contact a manager or supervisor.

*Do not waste the Salesperson/CSR's time by asking for the impossible. (i.e. a book that is not even published yet or an item that was discontinued) If the CSR tells you that the item you are looking for is no longer being produced, please respect the answer.

*When calling about an account or order, please have your account/order information handy. If you are calling about a particular item, please have the SKU number or item name. It is not helpful to the CSR to describe what you are looking for as "the book that was on Oprah last week".

*Please obey the payment methods rules and restrictions. If they say no checks, it means NO CHECKS!

*Please keep track of your children. If they do make a mess, please make a reasonable attempt to clean up after them.

ginlyn

Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: jais on March 10, 2009, 07:58:27 AM
For the Customer:


*When calling about an account or order, please have your account/order information handy. If you are calling about a particular item, please have the SKU number or item name. It is not helpful to the CSR to describe what you are looking for as "the book that was on Oprah last week".




POD! POD! POD!

And please, when calling your bank, don't get in a huff when asked for your account number or social security number.  Also, stating that you refuse to give that information over the phone won't help.  I need one or the other to help you.  You're not the only Bob or Jane Nelson out there.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on March 10, 2009, 08:01:30 AM
For the CSR

*Please tell the customer what you *can* do for them, and what their options are at the given moment.  Do *not* tell them what they cant do, and then fall silent.  This does not resolve anything, and only puts a stop to the interaction.  Your job is to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, according to your policies.  This means that you should offer them options based on the current situation.

Ginlyn covered mine for the customer, so I wont repeat them, but the above is a serious pet peeve of mine.  I cant tell you how many times I've had to say "Ok, what *can* we do in this situation then?" and it's like seriously? why am *I* asking this question??? 

[/soap box] 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: jais on March 10, 2009, 08:04:54 AM
For the CSR

*Please tell the customer what you *can* do for them, and what their options are at the given moment.  Do *not* tell them what they cant do, and then fall silent.  This does not resolve anything, and only puts a stop to the interaction.  Your job is to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, according to your policies.  This means that you should offer them options based on the current situation.

Ginlyn covered mine for the customer, so I wont repeat them, but the above is a serious pet peeve of mine.  I cant tell you how many times I've had to say "Ok, what *can* we do in this situation then?" and it's like seriously? why am *I* asking this question??? 
[/soap box] 


I agree in general, however some customers (not you, of course) ask the impossible.
Example:
I want you to credit my account $200 because I had to stand in line for 10 minutes and that's what my time is worth.  That's just not going to happen and there really isn't anything I CAN do.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snowball's chance on March 10, 2009, 08:06:48 AM
For the Customer:

U.S. retail stores are not a flea market or garage sale, where you bargain with the person behind the counter.  The product costs exactly what the price tag says.  If you are buying, say 6-10 units, the salesperson may be able to offer you about 10% off, even if in your eyes you are buying "so much".  
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ginlyn32 on March 10, 2009, 08:07:46 AM
Oh...for the CSR/Salesperson:

*At least offer to show the customer to the item they are looking for. Don't just point in a vague direction and then expect them to go on a scavenger hunt. A little effort goes a long way into building a relationship with your customer. As a customer, I really appreciate the time a Salesperson takes to show me where things are or to explain benefits/features of a product I am considering. (yeah, this shouldn't have to be said, but you have no idea how many times I've encountered this as a customer)

*I cannot express this more. Do not EVER make assumptions based on apperances. Do not judge a person based on how s/he is dressed or weigh.

ginlyn
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 10, 2009, 08:20:08 AM
Maybe this is a store policy thing, but it drives me nuts when I am at the register, paying for my purchase and the clerk stops serving me to answer the phone.  I mean, I'm here giving you my money now.  The person on the phone may never buy anything.

It is especially irksome when it becomes apparent that the call is personal, not business.

So for me:

* While serving a customer, finish the transaction before answering the phone.  Once you do answer, if the call is not business related (or a personal emergency) and you have customers waiting, tell the caller you will call them back when you next have a break.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on March 10, 2009, 08:22:20 AM
For the CSR

*Please tell the customer what you *can* do for them, and what their options are at the given moment.  Do *not* tell them what they cant do, and then fall silent.  This does not resolve anything, and only puts a stop to the interaction.  Your job is to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, according to your policies.  This means that you should offer them options based on the current situation.

Ginlyn covered mine for the customer, so I wont repeat them, but the above is a serious pet peeve of mine.  I cant tell you how many times I've had to say "Ok, what *can* we do in this situation then?" and it's like seriously? why am *I* asking this question??? 
[/soap box] 


I agree in general, however some customers (not you, of course) ask the impossible.
Example:
I want you to credit my account $200 because I had to stand in line for 10 minutes and that's what my time is worth.  That's just not going to happen and there really isn't anything I CAN do.

Sure there is!  So, in that situation, the appropriate response of the CSR is "I'm sorry sir/m'am that you had to wait.  What I can do is set you up to speak with a manager/give you a form to file a complaint, if you'd like."

See the emphasis? It's on what you *can* do, not on what you cant. I specifically didnt say that the CSR should honor or do whatever the customer wants - I *know* customers have ridiculous requests and treat CSRs unfairly sometimes.

However, a good CSR will say "This customer wants to be heard about their dissatisfaction with our services (even if what they really want is a freebie/discount).  These are our avenues to do that with. Let me offer them to the customer in order to facilitate the situation."  See the difference?
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snowball's chance on March 10, 2009, 08:45:13 AM
* While serving a customer, finish the transaction before answering the phone.  Once you do answer, if the call is not business related (or a personal emergency) and you have customers waiting, tell the caller you will call them back when you next have a break.

I'd say excuse me, answer the phone and immediately ask the customer to hold if I'm the only one available to answer it.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: FoxPaws on March 10, 2009, 08:50:00 AM
For Customers:
- Do not talk on your cell phone, text, or play with your PDA while someone is trying to wait on you.

- Know what it is you want and state it up front. Do not make the CSR play 20 Questions to ascertain what it is you need.

- If you don't wish to give your ZIP code, phone number, etc. to the cashier or partake in the charity drive or additional goods or services offered, a polite "no" is all that's required. If it truly bothers you, write to corporate headquarters - the cashiers are simply following company policy and risk their jobs if they do not ask.

- Use common sense regarding turn around times, lengths of waits, or time needed to complete a transaction. If you're going to shop during peak hours, there will be a longer wait, period. If you are not sure when an establishment's rush hours are, call ahead and ask. Waiting until the last minute to do anything will limit your options.

- Apply that same common sense to Supply & Demand. If your child MUST have HotNewToy for Christmas, don't wait until December 21st to buy it and then make a donkey's rear end of yourself when there are no more available.

- Be ready to provide documentation when it's required: your ID when writing a check, the receipt when making a return, a written quote or advertisement for price matching specials, etc.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Outdoor Girl on March 10, 2009, 09:01:53 AM
Snowball, that makes sense.  I'd be OK with that, too.  I just feel that if I'm physically there, I should be the priority for service over someone on the phone.  Maybe that makes me a Special Snowflake.   :)
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: marcel on March 10, 2009, 09:05:06 AM
* While serving a customer, finish the transaction before answering the phone.  Once you do answer, if the call is not business related (or a personal emergency) and you have customers waiting, tell the caller you will call them back when you next have a break.

I'd say excuse me, answer the phone and immediately ask the customer to hold if I'm the only one available to answer it.
This is the appropriate way, because if you wait to long, the person on teh phone will hang up.

For the CSR

*Please tell the customer what you *can* do for them, and what their options are at the given moment.  Do *not* tell them what they cant do, and then fall silent.  This does not resolve anything, and only puts a stop to the interaction.  Your job is to resolve the situation to their satisfaction, according to your policies.  This means that you should offer them options based on the current situation.

Ginlyn covered mine for the customer, so I wont repeat them, but the above is a serious pet peeve of mine.  I cant tell you how many times I've had to say "Ok, what *can* we do in this situation then?" and it's like seriously? why am *I* asking this question??? 
[/soap box] 


I agree in general, however some customers (not you, of course) ask the impossible.
Example:
I want you to credit my account $200 because I had to stand in line for 10 minutes and that's what my time is worth.  That's just not going to happen and there really isn't anything I CAN do.

Sure there is!  So, in that situation, the appropriate response of the CSR is "I'm sorry sir/m'am that you had to wait.  What I can do is set you up to speak with a manager/give you a form to file a complaint, if you'd like."


I don't agree here, When I worked in a store I was not going to enable a SS to bother my manager, and my manager appreciated it if we could handle situations like this ourselves. It is very simple, if there is nothing I can do, there is nothing I can do, why should I call a manager to tell you the same thing?

Also if what you CAN do does not work for the customer and he keeps asking for something you can't do, then that is where it ends.


Back to the OP's no. 4, the one with the most discussion.
I worked in a DIY store and I would have people buy things that would not work in their situation. If this happened I tried to convince them to buy another product, even if they didn't want to. This way I would be covered if they came back to complain that the product they bought didn't work. And some people would believe what I told them and buy the right product.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on March 10, 2009, 09:14:31 AM
I don't agree here, When I worked in a store I was not going to enable a SS to bother my manager, and my manager appreciated it if we could handle situations like this ourselves. It is very simple, if there is nothing I can do, there is nothing I can do, why should I call a manager to tell you the same thing?

Also if what you CAN do does not work for the customer and he keeps asking for something you can't do, then that is where it ends.

On the first issue - your missing my point. I'm sure you have some sort of avenue for customer complaints, I'm suggesting you send them there.  Be proactive about their dissatisfaction, even if it's unreasonably felt. 

On the second, I never said you should acquiese to their demands. You can of course tell them "no" to things you cant do ("I'm sorry sir, we dont offer discounts for extended time in line.  But we can take care of you right now/set you up with our speedpass account so things will go faster in the future/show you how to use our online site to answer your questions/give you the number to our corporate office." etc.) But the conversation shouldnt end there on your part, you should keep offering them the alternatives that you *can* do.  It's about framing the conversation and being proactive about actually resolving something. 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Hawkwatcher on March 10, 2009, 09:18:26 AM
CSR

If a customer asks you where a product is, do not say it is aisle _____, the same place it has always been.  The customer may be new customer who has never stepped foot in your store.

If you job is to sell expensive items such as cars, please try to learn as much as possible about your product.  If you are unable to answer the customers' questions, find someone who can answer these questions.

Do not lie or intentionally mislead your customers.  If you cannot provide a certain item or service, tell your customer the truth.

Do not lecture your customers on etiquette or grammar.

[/u]customers[/u]  

1. Realize that your waitperson, cashier, and clerk are a captive audience.  Please do not engage them in conversations dealing with sensitive subjects such as politics or religion.  While you may enjoy talking about these topics, the person helping you cannot participate fully.  The person in question may also have different views.

2.  If you eat out at a restaurant and the service is acceptable, use cash to tip the waiter or waitress.  Religious tracts and other similar items are not acceptable.


Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: matf on March 10, 2009, 09:32:10 AM
*sigh* Stupid computer ate my post.

For customer:
* The customer service person did not make the policies of the establishment, and yelling at them will not enable them to change them. Ask nicely, and they may be able to offer you something else, or at least tell you how to complain about that policy to the management.

* Remember that you can bring either compliments or complaints to the manager. Managers love hearing compliments!
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: camlan on March 10, 2009, 10:18:05 AM
CSR:

Treat every client/customer/patron as if they were the CEO of your company. Don't discriminate based on age, gender, dress, appearance or speech. You can't really tell who you are dealing with based on externals.

If you are alone, busy with one customer or a task you can't stop in the middle of, and a customer approaches the desk, acknowledge that new customer's presence with a glance their way and a quick, "I'll be with you in a moment/I'll be with you as soon I have finished with this customer." People are usually much better about waiting if they feel their presence has been recognized and they know they aren't being ignored.

When the customer has a problem, always offer some sort of way to rectify it. It might not be exactly what the customer wants, but give them *something*, even if only a form to fill out a complaint. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with a CSR who keeps saying, "Nope, can't do that," without offering any possible way to fix things. IMO, it's this feeling of being stonewalled that causes people to get upset, moreso than the actual problem itself. A sense that the CSR is trying to help, even if they can't, goes a long way.

If you are allowed personal calls when things are slow, end them when a customer approaches. Don't turn your back and leave the customer waiting while you chat. Same with conversations with co-workers. You should put the conversation on hold while you deal with the customer, not ring the customer up with your head over your shoulder talking to someone else.

Bear in mind that any customer could be new to your store or service. You may be very familiar with the store, the company, the policies, but the person standing in front of you/on the phone may have no clue. Don't assume that the customer knows the jargon of your trade/company. Ask them if they understand what the next step is/where to go, etc.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ShadesOfGrey on March 10, 2009, 11:12:44 AM
When the customer has a problem, always offer some sort of way to rectify it. It might not be exactly what the customer wants, but give them *something*, even if only a form to fill out a complaint. It is incredibly frustrating to deal with a CSR who keeps saying, "Nope, can't do that," without offering any possible way to fix things. IMO, it's this feeling of being stonewalled that causes people to get upset, moreso than the actual problem itself. A sense that the CSR is trying to help, even if they can't, goes a long way.

yes yes yes! This is *exactly* what I was trying to say. 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: MrsJWine on March 10, 2009, 11:46:08 AM
If you make a request of a worker, and store or company policy prevents her from accommodating you, don't take it out on her.  She has NO control over such things.

In case that's not clearly stated, I'll give you an example:  I used to work in an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Takeout was not allowed AT ALL (except if someone had a cookie or ice cream cone on the way out).  If I did allow people to take food out, I could be fired on the spot.  But customers would press me to "just look the other way".  If they'd really wanted the rule to change, they could either take it up with a manager (who could "just look the other way" if he saw fit) or complain to corporate.  Ranting at an expendable waitress is not the way to do it.

1. Realize that your waitperson, cashier, and clerk are a captive audience.  Please do not engage them in conversations dealing with sensitive subjects such as politics or religion.  While you may enjoy talking about these topics, the person helping you cannot participate fully.  The person in question may also have different views.

Amen!  When I waited tables, I hated talking politics/religion even when I agreed with the people.  Other customers and coworkers can overhear, and it puts the employee in a very uncomfortable position.  Going on at length about any subject is probably not a good idea, either, unless you know for a fact that the employee has little work to do.  Just because she has a smile plastered on her face doesn't mean she isn't breaking into a cold sweat on the inside or trying not to glance around at the growing crowd of impatient customers behind you.

Quote
2.  If you eat out at a restaurant and the service is acceptable, use cash to tip the waiter or waitress.  Religious tracts and other similar items are not acceptable.

Or, if you must leave a tract, make sure it's not the only tip you leave.  Leaving a tract and no tip or a lousy tip speaks volumes about your religion, and it's not the kind of message you're trying to send.  I honestly never minded getting tracts, even if they were completely in opposition to my own religion; what I minded was getting a tract and no tip or lousy treatment.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ginlyn32 on March 10, 2009, 12:20:42 PM
For Customers:

*Please obey the Hours of Operation of the business. Do not walk into a sit-down restuarant 10 minutes until closing. Also do not show up at a business before opening and demand to be let in. At most businesses, once the computer is shut down for the day, it cannot be started up again until the day before.

*Do not complain about policies, hours, prices or items sold to the Sales Associate or cashier/CSR. They are not in charge of the prices or policies. If you have a problem with the way the business is run, write a letter to the president of the company or CEO.

*You know that saying that the "customer is always right?" well, it's NOT true! Sometimes you are wrong. Do not ask the CSR to break the law or store policy for you. (i.e. selling alcohol to minors/on Sunday, not checking for I.D.)

For CSR's:

*Please return phone calls to disgruntled customers in a timely fashion. It puts a bad taste in a customer's mouth to have to constantly get the run-around from a business. You can bet our word-of-mouth reports go far and wide.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snowball's chance on March 10, 2009, 01:20:05 PM
For customers/patrons/visitors/clients:

The young, attractive server, cashier, receptionist/front desk clerk, store clerk, bartender, or host(ess) is not being nice and friendly because s/he has a thing for you.  Well, s/he might have a thing for you, but it's part of her or his job.  Please don't take basic, friendly customer service as an invitation to flirt, b/c a lot of times s/he has to sit there and take it.  S/he doesn't want to reveal her or his relationship status, what kind of person they find attractive, what time he or she gets off work, or what he or she is "doing later".
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snowball's chance on March 10, 2009, 01:25:50 PM
CSR Managers (well, any manager, really):

Don't undermine your employees, especially in front of them.  If you have drilled a policy into your employees' heads as an Edict That Must Be Obeyed, and a customer doesn't like it, don't break your own rule by giving into the Special Snowflake if the SS whines enough.  And if you do break the rule, own it & tell the SS you are breaking your own rule, so the SS doesn't think your employee was giving him or her the runaround. If you do this, 1.) You reinforce entitled behavior, 2.) You make your employee look bad to someone outside the organization and 3.) You lose your employee's trust.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snowball's chance on March 10, 2009, 02:02:12 PM
When you tell me that you are old enough to drink, I believe you. I'm not calling you a liar, but unless you can prove it to me you have to leave.

& by prove, that means with your valid picture ID.  Your mom, brother, girlfriend or the other bartender who went to school with you and is off tonight can't vouch for you.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snowball's chance on March 10, 2009, 02:11:41 PM
When you tell me that you are old enough to drink, I believe you. I'm not calling you a liar, but unless you can prove it to me you have to leave.

& by prove, that means with your valid picture ID.  Your mom, brother, girlfriend or the other bartender who went to school with you and is off tonight can't vouch for you.

Yes, thank you snowball's chance. I should have put that in there.

No worries!  I was a gas station cashier 11 years ago (sold beer & cigarettes), so I remember the excuses well! 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: FoxPaws on March 10, 2009, 02:23:26 PM
Customers:
- Please don't tell me that Jane on the other shift never charges you for X, or Bob said you could get Y while you waited after I've told you otherwise. If you have "special arrangements" with another employee, please come when they're here and deal directly with them. Not only will I not help you, but I will be compelled to report them. Remember, they can't do you any favors if they're no longer employed here.

- When calling or making inquiries, get the name of the person you're speaking to - we'll usually volunteer it when we answer the phone, but please verify it for your records if you plan to call/come back. When you tell us, "I talked to some girl yesterday," we assume you're just making stuff up. Also, "the black guy" describes at least five people here. Seriously, get a name.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: KittyBass on March 10, 2009, 02:37:26 PM
Customers--

I know you might think that we're hoarding all of the sale items 'in the back', but I assure you, if they are in stock, they will be on the shelves.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: StaciNadia on March 13, 2009, 02:27:32 PM
Customers:

You know how when you go up to the registers, you get in a line?  It works the same way in the fitting room.  If you're coming out of the fitting room, and I'm helping a line of people trying to get in the fitting room, or there are people who left the fitting room before you I'm helping, please wait your turn.  Fitting room attendants are only one person, and we are required to count your items before you go in and when you leave.

ETA:
Customer service folks:
As an addendum to what KeenReader said in the first post, it is okay to be called "Lady" if you are dealing with people whose first language is not English.  I get called "Lady" a lot, but I know a lot of people in my area are from Spanish-speaking nations, and I guess they thought "Lady" was the best approximation for "Senora" (how do you make the n with the tilde?)
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Finduilas on March 13, 2009, 02:47:19 PM
" ˝ " is ALT + 164 on the numberpad for those using a PC.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Lisbeth on March 13, 2009, 04:28:28 PM
ETA:
Customer service folks:
As an addendum to what KeenReader said in the first post, it is okay to be called "Lady" if you are dealing with people whose first language is not English.  I get called "Lady" a lot, but I know a lot of people in my area are from Spanish-speaking nations, and I guess they thought "Lady" was the best approximation for "Senora" (how do you make the n with the tilde?)

I know "Do˝a" (respectful form of address for women in Spanish) translates into "Lady" in English, but unfortunately it doesn't have the same connotations in the situation in English that it does in Spanish.  I seriously advise against it. 

"Ma'am" is generally a more appropriate form of address, especially in the South, than "Lady."  Still, people claim to be offended by that.  I think that the important thing is to avoid "Lady."
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: StaciNadia on March 13, 2009, 05:43:06 PM
ETA:
Customer service folks:
As an addendum to what KeenReader said in the first post, it is okay to be called "Lady" if you are dealing with people whose first language is not English.  I get called "Lady" a lot, but I know a lot of people in my area are from Spanish-speaking nations, and I guess they thought "Lady" was the best approximation for "Senora" (how do you make the n with the tilde?)

I know "Do˝a" (respectful form of address for women in Spanish) translates into "Lady" in English, but unfortunately it doesn't have the same connotations in the situation in English that it does in Spanish.  I seriously advise against it. 

"Ma'am" is generally a more appropriate form of address, especially in the South, than "Lady."  Still, people claim to be offended by that.  I think that the important thing is to avoid "Lady."

Oh, I definitely prefer to be called "Ma'am", but if a Spanish speaker says "Lady", I don't mind, because I wouldn't feel right at all correcting their English.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Mopsy428 on March 17, 2009, 12:03:24 PM
Customers:

Do NOT interrupt me when I'm explaining something. WAIT until it's your turn to speak, and then voice your concerns. Chances are that I'm going to the heart of your question in a bit.

Ex. One customer wanted to what all the charges were on her bill because she never was charged for them in whatever state she lived in before. I started to say, "These charges aren't additional charges. Every utility company charges for these things, but..." and then I was interrupted with a rant. If the ranter had waited for me to finish, she would have found out that this state requires the company to break down the charges.

LISTEN to what I am saying. Asking the same question over and over is not going to change the answer.

If I call you back, asking you to call me back as soon as possible because it is important (sometimes numerous times), do not complain when something "bad" happens and say it is our fault. We try to do everything to help you, but we aren't your parents.

Do NOT call customer service and whine about how we should be keeping track of your account and notify you that your balance is low. Once again, we are not your parents. We have thousands and thousands of customers. You are responsible for your account.

Do not try to guilt trip me into doing something for you or demand that you should get special treatment because of your situation. It doesn't work.

Ex. When I worked at the utility company, a few times, I'd get calls from people who had their power shut off and DEMANDED that we turn them back on with no payment because they had a baby at home OR they had little kids at home who couldn't watch TV. Sorry. Having kids doesn't mean we have to bend over backwards for you.

Edited for grammar
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: geordicat on March 31, 2009, 01:20:22 PM
In interacting with CSR's... "Please/Thank you" go VERY far.  Trust me.

Also if you call a company and are upset about whatever, do not take it out on the CSR.  I have said more than once "I'm sorry, I'm not made *at you* I'm just upset over X.  I'd like to go over it slowly so I understand where the mistake is.  Can you help me?"  And it's like the clouds part and I get excellent service.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snoopygirl on April 01, 2009, 04:02:45 AM
In interacting with CSR's... "Please/Thank you" go VERY far.  Trust me.

Also if you call a company and are upset about whatever, do not take it out on the CSR.  I have said more than once "I'm sorry, I'm not made *at you* I'm just upset over X.  I'd like to go over it slowly so I understand where the mistake is.  Can you help me?"  And it's like the clouds part and I get excellent service.

And if you do tell somebody I am not mad at you don't then use it to justify being verbally abusive to the person on the other end of the phone. If you say it and are calm I will understand and will most likely tell you I understand that  it is fustrating to have no internet or have your flight be delayed. However, if you say it and then continue shouting at me I will be as polite as I have to be but I am not going to go out of my way for you. Yes this has happened. I have tried to help somebody fix their internet ( my company moved me to a new department doing tech support) and somebody says I am not mad at you but am upset that my internet has not worked since I switched to your provider. Fair enough. Then they go off at me for me making suggestions ( all suggestions I have to say mind you all the while I am thinking this is not going to work as they most likely tried these before) and trying to help them.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: MissRose on April 01, 2009, 04:55:18 AM
I know what you mean by that snoopygirl ... I work for an internet provider myself doing tech support, and I've heard just about everything good and bad regarding issues customers are having.  I would prefer a customer be calm as possible even though their situation is frustrating & causing issues for them.  Like you, I am more than willing to bend over backwards for a customer who is being nice to me vs. one who is directing their anger towards me for a situation me as a support person can't control.  I also have to check certain things for a reported issue we are asked to check with the customer before any trouble tickets are submitted, not all customer realize we need to check things and ask certain questions of them.  At my place of work, during training we were told approximately 85% of issues were something that the customer has some form of control over not us but that doesn't mean we will be thinking on every call all issues are a customer's fault.

And if you do tell somebody I am not mad at you don't then use it to justify being verbally abusive to the person on the other end of the phone. If you say it and are calm I will understand and will most likely tell you I understand that  it is fustrating to have no internet or have your flight be delayed. However, if you say it and then continue shouting at me I will be as polite as I have to be but I am not going to go out of my way for you. Yes this has happened. I have tried to help somebody fix their internet ( my company moved me to a new department doing tech support) and somebody says I am not mad at you but am upset that my internet has not worked since I switched to your provider. Fair enough. Then they go off at me for me making suggestions ( all suggestions I have to say mind you all the while I am thinking this is not going to work as they most likely tried these before) and trying to help them.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Mopsy428 on August 27, 2009, 08:30:41 PM
Here's another one for customers:

If there is a new person at the bank or other place where you generally need ID, but don't show it because the workers recognize you, don't throw a hissy fit because the new person asks you for ID, and then proceed to claim that "everyone here" knows you, and you've been coming here for over 10 years. Do not ask, "Don't you know who I am?!" Sorry, I don't. That's why I'm asking you for ID. Also, it doesn't matter if you have been here 50 years or 1 month. I just started and can't tell you apart from Adam, so you are going to have to show me some ID.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: JoW on September 12, 2009, 10:47:11 PM
.... it is okay to be called "Lady" if you are dealing with people whose first language is not English.  I get called "Lady" a lot, but I know a lot of people in my area are from Spanish-speaking nations, and I guess they thought "Lady" was the best approximation for "Senora" ...

I wondered about that.  We have a new guy at work cleaning the offices, and he often calls me "lady".  Apparently he is using a polite greeting translated from his native language.  Its much less annoying now.  Thanks. 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Fluffy Cat on September 25, 2009, 05:03:11 PM
13.  If you are obligated by your company policy to disregard one of these rules, attempt to do so with as much politeness as possible.  In that case, it is the policy (and those who decide the policy) that is rude.  If the option is available, please feel free to point any dissatisfied customer toward the appropriate department regarding policy complaints and be apologetic while doing so.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: MasterofSquirrels on November 13, 2009, 11:10:06 AM
customers:
Please don't lie. there is a reason the policy is the way it is.. it may be because unscrupulous customers before you lied, or the CEO just likes to make our (employees) lives difficult. either way... it's not up to me. lying won't help either of us. 
and if you are upset with service and you complain, don't make up details to make your situation sound worse than it really was. getting someone fired because they didn't smile doesn't help anyone... and if every complaint recieved is *That Heinous* corporate won't take any complaints seriously.. (at least i hope) 

CSRs/Cashiers:
I know that i am not a "somebody" to you, please though, when i am in your lane/line/table/whatever.. make me feel like i am. at the very least smile and say "hello"
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Mopsy428 on November 15, 2009, 10:00:49 PM
Quote
CSRs/Cashiers:
I know that i am not a "somebody" to you, please though, when i am in your lane/line/table/whatever.. make me feel like i am. at the very least smile and say "hello"

And please don't continue on your conversation with the employee next to you.

I'm not sure if this is a recent trend, but now it seems like everywhere I go, cashiers do this. I find it *so* rude. If I did that when I worked in retail, my boss would have written me up--or fired me!
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: kitty-cat on November 16, 2009, 08:11:27 AM
This one is my fantasy for retail...

Customers:  If buying alchohol at my store, please have your ID out and waiting-yes I need your ID even if you were in here yesterday buying the same item.  And it doesn't matter if you are 21 or 101, I still need it.  I have to card my own mom if she comes in.  And no, I can't sell you the alchohol without an ID, and I won't.

Please have your money out and waiting.  Don't wait until I have finished scanning all of your items before STARTING to dig for your wallet.  Or to pull out the checkbook.  Doing either one of those things really messes with my time score and I don't want to get in trouble for a low score because you (generic) take 5 minutes to write a check.  (I'm not bitter, nooooo......)

If you have reusable bags with you, don't bury them under everything.  Please keep them up in the seat of the buggy so I don't start putting your stuff in plastic bags. And yes, I do know how to pack a reusable bag, and no, you don't get the reusable bag discount if I don't put the stuff directly in the bag.  (One person had me put stuff in plastic so she could put into the reusable.)

Please for the love of diety, if you are getting multiple types of apples, please put each type in a seperate bag.  They might cost the same per pound, but inventory needs to know how many we need during restock.  On the same note, please don't roll your eyes when I reach for the fruit/veggie code sheet.  I haven't been here long and I'm still learning them.

If the manager says we can't price match this, please don't argue with her.  That only makes her upset, and I have to close the store-she says when we go home.

Please don't mess up the folded displays.  I understand that you might need to lift a few to get to your size, or to grab a few sizes. But please don't just ball it up and drop it back on the table.  If anything, give it to the person working in the fitting room-much easier to fold 10 over the course of the day than 10 when we are closing and want to go home. 

If I tell you your card has been declined, please don't get angry with me.  I have no control over your card working or not. This may sound rude, but it is your duty to make sure that you either have the money in your bank acct. or to pay the bill in a timley manner.  (one guy put his store card payment in the mail on veterans day, and it still wasn't in on Sunday- not my fault....)

Sorry this is so long, it's been an interesting month.  Oh, and yes, those frozen turkeys are heavy-this is the 20th one I have lifted today...
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Switcher on November 16, 2009, 02:31:56 PM
This is kind of a pet peeve for me. Sales People- Please come to work well groomed. This is really particularly important for people in food service. I'm not asking for a full updo, but deodorant and clean hands please.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: camlan on November 17, 2009, 08:16:02 AM
This one is my fantasy for retail...



Please have your money out and waiting.  Don't wait until I have finished scanning all of your items before STARTING to dig for your wallet.  Or to pull out the checkbook.  Doing either one of those things really messes with my time score and I don't want to get in trouble for a low score because you (generic) take 5 minutes to write a check.  (I'm not bitter, nooooo......)

Please don't mess up the folded displays.  I understand that you might need to lift a few to get to your size, or to grab a few sizes. But please don't just ball it up and drop it back on the table.  If anything, give it to the person working in the fitting room-much easier to fold 10 over the course of the day than 10 when we are closing and want to go home. 



Kitty-Cat, I agree with most of what you wrote. But the two items above--the fishing for a wallet and the folded displays. I'm going to argue that the real problem with those two is not the customer, but the store management.

I did not realize until I read your post that a cashier might be timed on each transaction. (My mind is still boggling at this.) There are so many things that can delay a transaction. I'm just amazed that your company feels the need to do this. But, and I speak as someone who almost always has her wallet or debit card out and ready to go, it's a bit hard to blame the customer, who has no idea that there's a time limit for each transaction. In fact, knowing this would make me want never to shop at that store again.

And the folded clothes? Again, the management. While the display might look pretty, it's an inefficient system all around. It's hard to find the right size and color and you pretty much have to mess up the display in order to do so. If the clothes were either hung up, or folded and stacked in clearly marked piles by size, life would be easier for both shoppers and store personnel. And I never would have thought to take the shirt or whatever to the person at the fitting-room. I thought the item needed to stay at its own proper little table. I'll keep that in mind next time I shop at such a store.

Adding two more things to my "What I learned on E-Hell" list.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: kitty-cat on November 17, 2009, 11:12:21 AM
It's not so much a time limit, as a "nothing is going on for 5 minutes".  Usually if nothing is going on for a while it means that the cashier is taking a really long time to scan in items.  If I am continuously scanning items for 30 minutes, I'm good.  If I scan in your 10 items, hit total and then you (all generic you's)  want to flip-flop about wanting something, and then want me to void stuff out, but then change that price, and then this coupon is acting up, that is what messes with my score.

I think this is because we are supposed to be "FAST, fun and friendly."  Scan each guest as quickly as possible so that a giant line doesn't form.

And the way we fold our shirts and the such, you can see the color and the size sticker is very visable.  (if folded correctly....)

And camlan, thank you for always having your money ready to go :)  I love it when people do that. :-*
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Switcher on November 18, 2009, 09:03:29 AM
Bill Maher actually pointed this out, but I do agree.

Customers- If you know you are going to use a check, fill in the name of the store and the date before handing it over. Don't be surprised, you always have to write that information. All you should have to do if you are paying by check is write the amount of the purchase and sign it.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Mopsy428 on November 18, 2009, 12:37:11 PM
This one is my fantasy for retail...



Please have your money out and waiting.  Don't wait until I have finished scanning all of your items before STARTING to dig for your wallet.  Or to pull out the checkbook.  Doing either one of those things really messes with my time score and I don't want to get in trouble for a low score because you (generic) take 5 minutes to write a check.  (I'm not bitter, nooooo......)

Please don't mess up the folded displays.  I understand that you might need to lift a few to get to your size, or to grab a few sizes. But please don't just ball it up and drop it back on the table.  If anything, give it to the person working in the fitting room-much easier to fold 10 over the course of the day than 10 when we are closing and want to go home. 



Kitty-Cat, I agree with most of what you wrote. But the two items above--the fishing for a wallet and the folded displays. I'm going to argue that the real problem with those two is not the customer, but the store management.

I did not realize until I read your post that a cashier might be timed on each transaction. (My mind is still boggling at this.) There are so many things that can delay a transaction. I'm just amazed that your company feels the need to do this. But, and I speak as someone who almost always has her wallet or debit card out and ready to go, it's a bit hard to blame the customer, who has no idea that there's a time limit for each transaction. In fact, knowing this would make me want never to shop at that store again.

And the folded clothes? Again, the management. While the display might look pretty, it's an inefficient system all around. It's hard to find the right size and color and you pretty much have to mess up the display in order to do so. If the clothes were either hung up, or folded and stacked in clearly marked piles by size, life would be easier for both shoppers and store personnel. And I never would have thought to take the shirt or whatever to the person at the fitting-room. I thought the item needed to stay at its own proper little table. I'll keep that in mind next time I shop at such a store.

Adding two more things to my "What I learned on E-Hell" list.
I do agree that it is an inefficient system and that I never take back the shirt to the fitting room person unless I actually go to the fitting room to try it on. But I do think it's a tad rude for the customer to leave the pile of clothes looking like it was an obstacle on a Double Dare obstacle course.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Allyson on December 16, 2009, 02:49:52 AM
Customers: If you are ordering food at a fast-food or similar place, and you need to look at the menu for a few minutes, that's cool! But please let the customer behind you, who knows exactly what she wants, go first. Most people are good about this, but there are enough exceptions to aggravate both customer behind you and sales person!

Salespeople: please don't talk about inappropriate topics when there are customers in the store! When I was shift supervisor I had to get on people for discussing all sorts of unnecessary topics. You are working with food! People come here to eat! They really don't want to hear about your nausea-related complaints, health issues, or really anything that might put them off their food, regardless if you are talking to them or your co-worker.

Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: CinnamonGirl on January 10, 2010, 07:27:11 PM
If you're at a busy bar waiting to get serve don't wave your arms at me/bang on the bar/shout at me. It just makes me want to ignore you.
I think that some people need to learn some manners before being let out in public.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Alida on January 10, 2010, 07:57:52 PM
Bill Maher actually pointed this out, but I do agree.

Customers- If you know you are going to use a check, fill in the name of the store and the date before handing it over. Don't be surprised, you always have to write that information. All you should have to do if you are paying by check is write the amount of the purchase and sign it.

Actually, most of the stores I go to these days do that for you.  All I have to do is sign the check, the computer prints the store name, the date and the amount.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: AmethystAnne on January 11, 2010, 08:08:41 PM
To fast food restaurant counter workers: If a customer comes into your store and stands near the door to read the menu, don't keep saying "May I take your order" over and over again.

Please wait until she/he walks up and and stands next to the counter.

Eating in a fast food place is commonplace to alot of people but not to everyone.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: JD5351 on January 12, 2010, 09:26:44 PM
When calling customer service, please realize that what you may think is fair may really not be.

I work for a prescription benefit manager. We MANAGE the prescription benefit. We do not make the rules. (Most of them anyway.)

Your benefits office along with your insurance company created your plan with the following in mind:

Your company has "X" amount of employees with "X" amount of dollars to spend. They have to create a plan to benefit the majority of it's members while still being affordable. If your plan were to cover every drug on the planet with no restrictions your premiums would go up and/or your copays would go up. No matter how many times you scream the F word at me, it will not change. And no, I'm not "playing doctor" when I tell you that your plan does not cover the medication. Your doctor can write a prescription for a Ferrari, but that doesn't mean your plan has to pay for it. I know that sounds awful, but it's the way it works. Again, your employer/group only has a certain amount of money to spend..They have to draw the line somewhere.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ccpb1214 on January 21, 2010, 09:20:56 PM
I used to work at Starbucks, so here are some things:


Customers, if you're ordering a coffee type drink and you want it iced, please tell the cashier when you're ordering at the register or just before the Barista starts to make it.

Don't stand there watching them make your drink, only to say "Oh! I'm sorry! I wanted it iced" when they're just about finished making it.




If it's early in the morning and it's a long line, don't ask if you could "just" get your drink right now. No, you can't. The Barista knows it's early in the morning and they know it's a long line. They know you want your coffee, but so does everyone else and if the Barista lets you "just" get your coffee, it's not fair to the people who have been waiting.




Last thing: on a busy day, don't just grab the first cup you see. That might not be your drink. Wait for the Barista to call your drink/name.

What would happen is people would grab the cup only to come back and say "This isn't what I ordered."
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Emmy on January 23, 2010, 07:55:04 AM
Quote
CSRs/Cashiers:
I know that i am not a "somebody" to you, please though, when i am in your lane/line/table/whatever.. make me feel like i am. at the very least smile and say "hello"

And please don't continue on your conversation with the employee next to you.

I'm not sure if this is a recent trend, but now it seems like everywhere I go, cashiers do this. I find it *so* rude. If I did that when I worked in retail, my boss would have written me up--or fired me!

Very rude, especially when the employees do not acknowledge your existence in any way except to take your money.  Even if the employee is talking with customer A about work related stuff while ringing up customer B, it is very rude for the employee not to acknowledge customer B in any way.

For appointment based customer service.  If a doctor, real estate agent, or whoever made the appointment will not be able to make the appointment due to a schedule conflict, illness or emergency, they should really let people who scheduled an appointment know instead of waiting until they show up for the appointment.  I also feel a doctor's staff should notify patients if a doctor is running more than an hour late.  (I showed up for a doctor's appt. one time and the doctor was running 2.5 hours late.  Several people with an appointment with the same doctor actually left after waiting hours because they had other obligations.  The staff, who knew about the doctor running late should have called people or at the very least, let people know about their wait when they arrived.)   
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Lisbeth on January 23, 2010, 09:10:08 AM
Customer service staff, especially cashiers:  Make eye contact with the customer, please!  We are not mannequins or computer-generated graphics going through your line, we are flesh-and-blood human beings just like you.  Please give us the courtesy of treating us as such.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: iridaceae on January 24, 2010, 07:54:41 AM
Tapping or drumming your fingers to get the customer service person working faster is very rude.

The customer service person is not responsible for your credit card declining; do not blame them.

If a customer comes into the store and says "no, thanks, I'm just browsing" after they've been greeted and asked if they need help, don't hang around them and keep asking if they need help.






Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Reika on January 31, 2010, 10:48:57 PM
If you call a customer service line and the rep says something along the lines that they're pulling up your file, please don't start humming hold music. I'm sure you find that funny, but over my headset it's incredibly annoying and painful.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Black Delphinium on November 25, 2010, 09:41:07 AM
-Please do not ask me to confirm/deny anything in the Leaked Holiday Ad. Until it is officially released to the public, I could lose my job for commenting on it.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Ponytail_Palm on November 30, 2010, 05:07:35 PM
Customers:

Please don't rip signs off shelves or fixtures to "prove" that something is supposed to be on sale. An employee needs to verify that the price you cite actually refers to the item you're buying, and it's much easier for them to walk back with you than to replace the sign after you've torn it off.

Please, please do not say "you look too young to work here!" to the cashier. If she's working here, she isn't.

Do not expect employees to watch your children while you shop.

Not every employee in the store is able to do the job you want done. Employees folding clothes or stocking shelves might not be trained on register, and even if they are they might get in trouble were their numbers to show up in the register system. Cashiers may also not be allowed to leave their stations to help you find something (but of course, they should promptly find you someone who can!).

As annoying as it is, cashiers are often required to ask customers a set - sometimes an excessively long set - of questions. Not asking for zip codes, customer service surveys, charity donations, and especially credit card sign-ups may lose the cashier his job. Cashiers understand all too well that this can be incredibly frustrating for the customer, but there's nothing they can do about it. If you find it to be a hassle, most cashiers will gladly tell you where to direct your complaints.***

Keep in mind that cashiers may work in every department of a large store and thus may not know everything about Product X. Don't be nasty or imply that the cashier doesn't know how to do his job because he says "I don't know, but let me find you someone who does." I was often assigned to run register in a commission area of the department store where I worked, and anything I knew about the products in the area (quite a lot by the time I was done, but not everything) was purely bonus and not required by my job description.

This should go without saying, but sadly it can't: never make assumptions about the cashier's knowledge or skill set based on his or her gender!

If an employee doesn't understand what you want or doesn't know how to help you, never assume that she's an idiot. She might be new.

In many stores you are not allowed to use someone else's credit card. Period. It is usually a violation of both the terms and conditions of the card and store policy. Many cashiers disregard this policy for the sake of speed and customer satisfaction, but just because "that lady who was here yesterday accepted the card" does not mean your current cashier can't refuse to do so. In these days of identity theft, do you really want someone to be able to walk into a store and buy things on your dime?

Remember the golden rule of being a customer: you can ALWAYS catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar! ;)

***If you only remember one thing from this post, remember this. I can't tell you how much verbal abuse I and my fellow cashiers had to endure because corporate didn't have a clue how annoying customers find endless questioning. I counted once and I think I determined that I was required to ask customers up to 11 questions before they could pay for their items. And if I skipped a single one I'd get in trouble.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Orisha on December 01, 2010, 07:46:15 PM
Customers:

Please don't rip signs off shelves or fixtures to "prove" that something is supposed to be on sale. An employee needs to verify that the price you cite actually refers to the item you're buying, and it's much easier for them to walk back with you than to replace the sign after you've torn it off.

POD.  Add to that, when the cashier asks someone to verify a sale, it's not an attack on your character.  It's company policy...and if there is a mistake, we need to let management know to correct the signs.

Also to Customers:

1.) If you have an extensive or complicated return, please try to avoid peak hours, like lunchtime or just after work gets out if you can avoid it. 

2.) Do not make derogatory presumptions about a CSR's education level because of their job.  Some people don't go to college either because they can't afford it or they know it's not for them...doesn't mean they're stupid.  Not only that, there are plenty of people with advanced degrees who are working retail and waiting tables these days with the economy such as it is. 

3.) Retail stores are busy.  Please do not call us with a 20-item list and demand that we gather all these items and have them waiting for you when you get there.  We are not your merry little elves.  (And yes, this has happened numerous times.)

4.) Do not EVER touch a CSR.  "Excuse me" is more than sufficient to get our attention.

5.) If there is CSR up on a ladder, please give the ladder a safe berth.  If the ladder is blocking something you need, just let the person on the ladder know.  Most times, we're happy to get down and get that item for you.

6.) If the closing announcement has been made, gather your stuff and get to the register.  Do not expect the staff to sit around waiting for you to finish shopping and do not give a CSR attitude if they politely remind you that the store is closing and you need to bring your purchase up to a register.  When it's closing time, it's time to go. 

7.) If a CSR approaches you and you don't need help, a polite, no thanks is sufficient.  There's no need to be rude or to shush us. 

8.) Take note of who helped you if you had a question about a sale, return policy, etc.  If an issue comes up, saying "they said" or "employees told me" will get you no where.  If anything, it usually sends up a red flag.

Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ginlyn32 on December 02, 2010, 10:11:34 AM
*If you have a coupon granting you a percentage off your entire purchase, please read the exclusions before trying to use the coupon. The store I work for has a very long list of exclusions for all of their coupons, most of the time it is on the side of the mechandise being excluded. For example, if I am ringing you up and you present me with several Everyday Value items and a 20% off coupon, I will tell you that your items are excluded from the coupon.

No it's not because we, the cashiers, are being mean. Yes I can still scan the coupon, but it'll be excluded. No, yelling at me will not help. Yes, even if the item is Everyday Value and it's on Clearance, the coupon is STILL excluded.

*There is no Double Dipping when it comes to coupons and Card Rewards Discounts. You can use one or the other, not both. If you use your coupon, you do not get the Use Your Card Discount (usually 15% off).

And yes, please if you have complaints about the way the sale sign is worded or the way the store runs it's business, contact the Store Manager or Corporate Headquarters. Yelling at the cashier accomplishes nothing except making you look like an idiot.

*Please be aware that while you may have been able to return items to any dept in the past, this has now changed. Now you must take the item back to the dept where it was purchased. This is to avoid people ripping off tags and putting new tags on their items and basically stealing from the store.

ginlyn
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Orisha on December 02, 2010, 05:20:29 PM
If you live in a home where there is a heavy smoker, please keep any clothing items carefully wrapped and away from the main smoking area until you're sure you're keeping it.  The store cannot resell smokey clothing.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: iridaceae on December 06, 2010, 06:10:16 AM
Threatening someone's job because the answer is not what you want to hear is a truly soulless thing to do.  Do you understand how this makes an employee feel?

Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: camlan on December 06, 2010, 07:35:37 AM
Threatening someone's job because the answer is not what you want to hear is a truly soulless thing to do.  Do you understand how this makes an employee feel?



When I worked at the translation agency, we hired high school students to work part-time after school. It was a program run by the local high school, to help the kids learn basic job skills. One girl I hired was the sweetest, smartest, most willing worker I've ever met. She was quick to learn, always on time, willing to take on any task. Prior to working with us, she'd been working at a supermarket, first as a cashier, then as a clerk at the customer service desk.

At her one month review, I asked her how she felt about working with us. "No one yells at me," she said. "You don't know how good that feels." Cue me astonished to discover that people yell at supermarket employees--doing this had simply never occurred to me. I mean, the big problems are usually corporate policy or a mistake that someone else would have made. Yelling at the person at the CS desk probably isn't going to help much. But now I know why, sometimes, when I go to the desk with a problem, the clerk seems relieved when I state my business--because it's probably clear that I'm not going to start screaming and yelling at them. And this girl, well, she was so sweet and helpful, it was hard for me to imagine that people would start yelling at her--it was clearly not her personality to be snarky and unhelpful.

I'm very, very grateful that my parents taught me both manners and that I should use them all the time.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: JonGirl on December 07, 2010, 01:57:35 AM


To the women who work with my dh at major department store at major shopping centre:
DO NOT FLIRT WITH HIM IN FRONT OF ME!!  :o  >:(
That is one of the reasons why I don't shop in your nasty store anymore.
And grunting at a customer who asks you a question is not the right way about it either.  >:(
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Muffin on December 07, 2010, 01:25:46 PM
To the women who work with my dh at major department store at major shopping centre:
DO NOT FLIRT WITH HIM IN FRONT OF ME!!  :o  >:(

Ohhhh, POD! My boyfriend works at Banana Republic-- which sells mens clothing, but he's one of maybe TWO straight men. The flirting is incessant. He has a lot of girl friends too, so saying to me when I come to visit, "Wow, he's in here with a different girl every day..." makes me not want to shop in your store.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Orisha on January 02, 2011, 10:21:07 AM

Threatening someone's job because the answer is not what you want to hear is a truly soulless thing to do.  Do you understand how this makes an employee feel?



I think they know exactly how that feels, but don't care.  Then again, only really small people think it's ok to verbally or physically abuse staff.  We've had the police come pretty much on a daily basis because some customer was screaming in a cashier's face, shoved or hit an associate or even spat on them.  And they back off right quick when the cop approaches them.  The only way this is going to change is if staffers who are spat on or hit press charges for assault and if employeers are willing to ban violent people from the store.  I swear, so many retailers are more concerned with alienating even a single customer than caring whether their employees have a safe work environment.

Also, for customers:

1.) If a cream or lotion isn't explicitedly marked as a tester, please do not use it.  It's absolutely reasonable to go to a member of staff and ask if a tester is available, but using a non-tester means that a store can no longer sell it to another customer.  In other words, it's stealing.  (We had a customer help herself to use of a $16 tube of handcream yesterday, and then had to damage it out because no one wants to buy a pre-used lotion with product missing...especially for $16!)

2.) If a product is recalled, you need to go to the product's manufacturer.  It's their faulty product and their responsibility to make it right.  The one exception is if the item is something that was recently purchased at our store, proved defective and you still have the receipt.  Then we will gladly issue a refund or make an exchange in accordance with our store policy.  Otherwise, do not scream at us and demand a free *item* or a coupon. 

For Stores:

If you have a loyal guest program that involves sending out coupons in support of special promotions, it is corporate's responsibility to make sure that each and every member of said program receives the coupons to which they are entitled.  Especially if you aren't going to give us extra coupons to have in store. 

Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Ponytail_Palm on January 02, 2011, 03:29:09 PM
That reminds me:

Customers, stores are not obligated to keep extra coupons on hand. Some do, some don't, but generally it's a good idea to make sure you bring your own. Screaming at me that you "left it at home and home is 20 miles away!" will not make me disregard store policy. The reason many stores require you to bring your own is that they are intended to be distributed one per customer, and if you pull that spiel at every register (which sadly, some people try to do, so stores have to assume that everyone might) you could be getting more of a discount than you're supposed to.

Bring receipts, too. Many stores cannot do a return without a receipt, period.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Orisha on January 04, 2011, 08:18:22 PM
That reminds me:

Customers, stores are not obligated to keep extra coupons on hand. Some do, some don't, but generally it's a good idea to make sure you bring your own. Screaming at me that you "left it at home and home is 20 miles away!" will not make me disregard store policy. The reason many stores require you to bring your own is that they are intended to be distributed one per customer, and if you pull that spiel at every register (which sadly, some people try to do, so stores have to assume that everyone might) you could be getting more of a discount than you're supposed to.

Bring receipts, too. Many stores cannot do a return without a receipt, period.

I hate that.  So many customers throw huge hissy-fits when coupons aren't automatically supplied for them.  Talk about entitlement.   Why do those types of customers always decide that their lack of organization is the associate's problem? 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Winterlight on January 06, 2011, 03:25:27 PM
For mail-order CSRs, if your company has screwed up, apologize! "Ma'am, I'm so sorry this order didn't go out on time" goes a long way. It may not fix the problem, but it recognizes that there is one and doesn't blame the customer.

Likewise, customers who are irritated, remember it's not the fault of the person on the phone. Unless it's a tiny business, that person didn't pack or ship the order.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: judecat on January 07, 2011, 02:14:14 AM
I don't agree here, When I worked in a store I was not going to enable a SS to bother my manager, and my manager appreciated it if we could handle situations like this ourselves. It is very simple, if there is nothing I can do, there is nothing I can do, why should I call a manager to tell you the same thing?

Also if what you CAN do does not work for the customer and he keeps asking for something you can't do, then that is where it ends.


On the second, I never said you should acquiese to their demands. You can of course tell them "no" to things you cant do ("I'm sorry sir, we dont offer discounts for extended time in line.  But we can take care of you right now/set you up with our speedpass account so things will go faster in the future/show you how to use our online site to answer your questions/give you the number to our corporate office." etc.) But the conversation shouldnt end there on your part, you should keep offering them the alternatives that you *can* do.  It's about framing the conversation and being proactive about actually resolving something. 
And by the time I've done all that for one customer,  I've lost 5 customers I could have helped.   In other words customers need to realize they are not the only customer in the store,  while I may in fact be the only covering lunches for 3 departments.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ginlyn32 on January 07, 2011, 12:51:54 PM
Customers:

*Do not yell at me, the CSR, because the Men's Dept. is located in a different part of the mall. I did not make this decision. In fact, it's been set up this way for at least 2 years.

*Do not ask the CSR what to do because the item you wanted is either out of stock or needs to be ordered. If you knew you wanted this item by Christmas, you should have planned better!

*When you buy an item with a $10 off coupon, you forfeit the coupon upon purchase. You do not get the coupon back should you decide to return the item. You get back what you paid for the item!

*Telling me that the item you are purchasing is a gift does not make boxes magically appear. We usually only carry boxes during Christmas (Nov, Dec). Please plan ahead.

*Do not demand a coupon because the lady in front of you had/has a coupon. Those are for Star Rewards Card holders. You also must use your Store CC when using these coupons. Sometimes we have coupons at the registers but it's not a guarrantee.

*Do not expect employees of one dept. store to know about sales or inventory OF OTHER STORES! Or their policies, hours or if they are in the Mall. Well, I can tell you if they are in the mall or not, but other than that...I haven't a clue.


Store Management:

For the love of all that is holy, please stop moving stuff around the store! It confuses the employees and the customers! THen the customers get mad (and rightly so!) when they are told the item they are searching for is in 3 different locations!

ginlyn
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: heathert on January 19, 2011, 05:22:58 PM
For legality reasons, we can not, and I emphasize NOT, give out your policy information or make changes on your insurance policy for anyone who did not sign your insurance contract unless they have power of attorney for you AND we have a copy of that.  Otherwise, YOU have to give us permission each and every time someone else calls for that information or to make that change. I do sympathize when you have an 80 year old mother, father, cousin, friend, etc, and they need assistance, or may even be incapacitated,  but legally we can't help you if you did not sign up for the insurance. And yes, that means all refunds will also only go out in your name as well.

If you disagree with this, please contact the department of insurance in your state.

Heather
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ═korna on March 24, 2011, 02:07:57 PM
Customers:

* Sometimes the employees are new and still learning how to do things. If they explain that to you that they're going to need to call another employee over, there's no need to roll your eyes and get sarcastic. It would be much more of a problem if they tried to do something they still needed help with and messed it up completely, wouldn't it?
* Speaking of new employees, if you're served by an employee that's clearly learning the ropes (Being assisted by another worker, for example) and they do a good job, let them know! On my first day as a cashier so many people stopped to tell me that I'd done a good job and that I was learning quickly that it really brightened my day and helped with my nerves.
* If you need assistance, just let the employee know. Standing there expecting him or her to somehow read your mind isn't going to do much good, and most employees are happy to help you find what you need.
* Most cashiers/clerks are not in charge of keeping items stocked, that's a completely different job. There's no need to be rude and sarcastic with them when something is out of stock, they have nothing to do with what is ordered and when it is done.


Employees:

* I've found from my experiences working in customer service that a smile really does make a difference. It's not a fun job, and dealing with rude customers can be a hassle, but making the customer feel welcome and appreciated can not only brighten their day but keep you in a good mood as well.
* If you don't know what you're doing, don't pretend that you do! I found this out the hard way by trying to use the Lotto machine when I wasn't fully comfortable with it yet. I messed up a customer's order and almost had to pay for it out of pocket. Most customers will understand if you call over a coworker and explain that you're new and still learning.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: marcel on March 24, 2011, 04:55:36 PM
Customers:

* Sometimes the employees are new and still learning how to do things. If they explain that to you that they're going to need to call another employee over, there's no need to roll your eyes and get sarcastic. It would be much more of a problem if they tried to do something they still needed help with and messed it up completely, wouldn't it?

the year the store I worked for got the highest rating in our province from the secret shopper test was the year when the relatively new employee was not sure about the question and brought in an experienced coworker to help out (The latter off course gave the perfect answer.)
This showed the tester that there were professionals working there, who were aware of their limits in knowledge.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: camlan on March 26, 2011, 10:31:13 AM

* Speaking of new employees, if you're served by an employee that's clearly learning the ropes (Being assisted by another worker, for example) and they do a good job, let them know! On my first day as a cashier so many people stopped to tell me that I'd done a good job and that I was learning quickly that it really brightened my day and helped with my nerves.


Thanks for posting this. I never know what to do when the cashier at the supermarket is clearly brand new and being trained. I'm always patient and polite and give them a big smile and "Thank you!" at the end of the transaction, but I was afraid I'd embarrass them if I said anything about them being new. But now I'll add in a word or two of encouragement.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Maujer on March 26, 2011, 10:57:50 AM
I just escaped retail after almost 13 years on and off. Phew.

I worked in large chain stores and I managed a small luxury boutique. In the boutique, it was fairly easy to put things back in their correct place after a customer left the store as long as it wasn't busy. But in the very large discount clothing/home goods store I worked at in high school, the store was too big and the customers out numbered the employees. It was impossible to follow every single customer around the store to make sure they didn't put a shirt on the wrong rack. We made several passes through the departments each day to make sure everything was in the correct place, but it takes a while.

Our state's law says everything item mut be labeled with it's price. So when you come along a rack with 10 neon green dresses with price tags and a sign on top that says "$9.99" and mixed in is ONE man's navy blue designer shirt with a price tag $39.99", please do not berate the cashier and tell her she is doing a bad job because the shirt was in the wrong place. I KNOW it's irritating, it's happened to me as a customer too . . . but the men's department is on the other side of the store. Did you really think that shirt was supposed to be there? We were the top rated store in our section of the USA, we were exceptionally organized for the most part so it was usually pretty obvious when a customer misplaced an item.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: heathert on April 28, 2011, 07:49:23 PM
This may have been mentioned but I think it bears another reminder. Please do not aimlessly chat with telephone CSRs. We ARE being timed on our calls and once your issue is resolved, we need to move onto to the next customer. If you were at checkout, I *hope* you wouldn't just stand there after your transaction is done, preventing the casher from doing her job,  right?

Heather
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Daffodil on May 03, 2011, 04:09:06 PM
For customers :

-If the associate that is serving you is a trainee, be patient. Don't stand there and berate the senior associate for allowing them on the register, thats part of the training.

-If you're wrong, you're wrong. Even the manager will tell you that. Arguing with me makes you look stupid and it will not get you your way. I once had a lady misread a sign and then become snarky and say "I hate to tell you, but you HAVE to give it to me for this price. It's the law." Um, no, it's not. I told her "The only way I would have to honor that price is if the sign said *this* instead of *this*. The sign specifies exactly what is on sale, which is capri pants, and this is a shirt". The manager told her the same.

Also, if you have an issue, don't start off by screaming at me. Talk, like a normal person. So much more can be resolved if you treat me like a human being.

For Sale's Associates / Csr's

-Please have respect for your coworkers. If you're allotted break time is 30 minutes and someone has to go to break right after you, please only be gone for 30 minutes. We can't leave until you're back.  And don't ditch me when it's the two of us in one department and there are 20 customers wanting assistance.

-When I'm busy with a customer and others are there wanting help, don't hide in the stock room texting on your phone. I'm drowning out here, you could at *least* help.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: ═korna on May 03, 2011, 06:49:21 PM
* Please treat the person assisting you with the same kindness and respect you would treat any other person. When they greet you, don't ignore or glare at them; after all, when you say hello to someone do you enjoy being treated like you're invisible?
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: needsadvice on August 01, 2011, 04:09:16 AM
CSRs, please do not chastise a customer when he/she asks for a refund due to being overcharged. Yesterday, I was overcharged by $1.50 and the CSR actually said, "It's not that much money." I informed her that to some people, it is. How rude and insensitive, especially when so many are unemployed!
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: MrTango on August 01, 2011, 02:30:54 PM
For legality reasons, we can not, and I emphasize NOT, give out your policy information or make changes on your insurance policy for anyone who did not sign your insurance contract unless they have power of attorney for you AND we have a copy of that.  Otherwise, YOU have to give us permission each and every time someone else calls for that information or to make that change. I do sympathize when you have an 80 year old mother, father, cousin, friend, etc, and they need assistance, or may even be incapacitated,  but legally we can't help you if you did not sign up for the insurance. And yes, that means all refunds will also only go out in your name as well.

If you disagree with this, please contact the department of insurance in your state.

Heather

As a CSR who works in the insurance industry, POD to this!

Also, I'd like to add:

I'll take a fair amount of abuse, but the moment you start swearing at me, you get one warning and then the call is disconnected.  If I see your phone number on the caller ID within a few minutes after I hang up on you for repeatedly swearing, you will get my voicemail.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Bijou on August 11, 2011, 12:08:48 PM
Don't give poor customer service to me because you are mad at your husband/wife ( previous customer, boss, child, sister, mom, dad, dog, cat, etc.) 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Daffodil on August 11, 2011, 01:07:31 PM
Don't give poor customer service to me because you are mad at your husband/wife ( previous customer, boss, child, sister, mom, dad, dog, cat, etc.)

POD, yes. And same for customers - don't treat us like dirt because you're having a bad day. It's unacceptable.

Also, (and this happened to me) as my coworker - if you had a crappy customer who really upset you - you can wait to tell me about it in the stock room when no one is around, or on break. But please, do not follow me around and go on about how previous customer was a female dog, etc. while I'm serving another customer. It puts me in an incredibly awkward spot as well as the customer. Oh, and don't go on about it to the customer either. That's so unprofessional. 
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Bijou on August 11, 2011, 03:00:49 PM
Don't give poor customer service to me because you are mad at your husband/wife ( previous customer, boss, child, sister, mom, dad, dog, cat, etc.)

POD, yes. And same for customers - don't treat us like dirt because you're having a bad day. It's unacceptable.

Also, (and this happened to me) as my coworker - if you had a crappy customer who really upset you - you can wait to tell me about it in the stock room when no one is around, or on break. But please, do not follow me around and go on about how previous customer was a female dog, etc. while I'm serving another customer. It puts me in an incredibly awkward spot as well as the customer. Oh, and don't go on about it to the customer either. That's so unprofessional.
And don't discuss it with the next customer in line.  i don't want to have you tell me how you put that woman in her place or have to listen to you tell the customer in front of me about it.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Daffodil on August 11, 2011, 04:54:25 PM
Don't give poor customer service to me because you are mad at your husband/wife ( previous customer, boss, child, sister, mom, dad, dog, cat, etc.)

POD, yes. And same for customers - don't treat us like dirt because you're having a bad day. It's unacceptable.

Also, (and this happened to me) as my coworker - if you had a crappy customer who really upset you - you can wait to tell me about it in the stock room when no one is around, or on break. But please, do not follow me around and go on about how previous customer was a female dog, etc. while I'm serving another customer. It puts me in an incredibly awkward spot as well as the customer. Oh, and don't go on about it to the customer either. That's so unprofessional.
And don't discuss it with the next customer in line.  i don't want to have you tell me how you put that woman in her place or have to listen to you tell the customer in front of me about it.

I had a coworker [same one] that did that. I felt bad for the customer  :( They clearly didn't want to hear about it, plus coworker was wrong anyway. The customer she was complaining about was actually quite nice, but had a thick accent that made her sound angry. I was a newer employee at the time, so I wouldn't say anything to her (she was incredibly bossy to me, even though she had no authority in any way). She was awful for complaining to customers about other customers.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Black Delphinium on January 25, 2012, 11:24:37 AM
Resurrecting this to mention something I saw the other day- cashiers, please be careful when keeping scented lotions/hand sanitizers to use during your shift.  I understand that hands get dirty and dry, but I was very unhappy that my package of chicken thighs smelled like flowers, even 2 days after I bought them.
Fortunately, the chicken itself did not smell.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Lady Snowdon on April 22, 2012, 09:11:22 PM
For legality reasons, we can not, and I emphasize NOT, give out your policy information or make changes on your insurance policy for anyone who did not sign your insurance contract unless they have power of attorney for you AND we have a copy of that.  Otherwise, YOU have to give us permission each and every time someone else calls for that information or to make that change. I do sympathize when you have an 80 year old mother, father, cousin, friend, etc, and they need assistance, or may even be incapacitated,  but legally we can't help you if you did not sign up for the insurance. And yes, that means all refunds will also only go out in your name as well.

If you disagree with this, please contact the department of insurance in your state.

Heather

As a CSR who works in the insurance industry, POD to this!


Double POD to this! 

Also, please don't try and guilt-trip me by mentioning your kids/wife/mother/dog who are slowly starving due to whatever payment you want not being paid out yet.  It makes me feel terrible, especially if there's nothing I can do about what you want.  I've come home and cried from the stories people have told me, and felt terrible about myself because I can't do as they asked. 

For CSR's:
I know by the end of the day or week, it can get tough to pick up the phone one more time.  But answering the phone in a dead, dull, depressed sounding voice is about as encouraging to the person on the other line as finding a dead fish in your shoes.  I have one coworker who constantly answers the phone with a tone implying that she hates the world (think of the perpetually depressed robot in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy).  She always seems to be getting complaints about how she handles her clients, and I truly think part of it is that she never sounds happy to talk to anyone!
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Trellia on April 23, 2012, 08:27:25 AM
This for loans, too! I can't tell you how many times I was insulted for not being able to talk to a spouse who wasn't on the loan. Usually the other spouse was working, and of course had submitted no documents giving us permission to talk to anyone. If I don't have that, I legally can't talk to you and have no way of telling if you're truly their spouse or an outraged stalker or a scammer phishing for information.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: MsApril on April 26, 2012, 07:48:20 PM
Parent, when I call you regarding one of your children's medical appointments, please step away from the screaming child, don't put me on speaker phone, don't talk to other people/yell at your children/pets. I will be here if now is not a good time for you to take this call. If I am not here, please leave me a voice mail and I will call you back within one business day.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: kareng57 on April 26, 2012, 08:23:22 PM
This for loans, too! I can't tell you how many times I was insulted for not being able to talk to a spouse who wasn't on the loan. Usually the other spouse was working, and of course had submitted no documents giving us permission to talk to anyone. If I don't have that, I legally can't talk to you and have no way of telling if you're truly their spouse or an outraged stalker or a scammer phishing for information.


As an aside to this (I've been on both sides ) - if the CSR asks for additional documentation such as a death certificate, don't start sobbing or screaming at them that they're trying to make your life even more difficult at this sad time.  They're not, they're sympathetic, but business is business.  They can't be expected to just take your word for it that  "my husband has died, please cancel his credit card" - for all they know, you could be an ex out for revenge.

When my Dh died, a handful of CSRs seemed a bit surprised when I said something along the lines of "that's fine, I'll fax it in tomorrow" - they seemed to be prepared to deal with a protest.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: Reika on April 26, 2012, 09:18:32 PM


As an aside to this (I've been on both sides ) - if the CSR asks for additional documentation such as a death certificate, don't start sobbing or screaming at them that they're trying to make your life even more difficult at this sad time.  They're not, they're sympathetic, but business is business.  They can't be expected to just take your word for it that  "my husband has died, please cancel his credit card" - for all they know, you could be an ex out for revenge.


I actually did get a call a month or so ago from a very confused policyholder wanting to know why we send a letter to his house with our condolences about his death with a claim form for his beneficiary to fill out.

He'd forgotten he had his ex-fiance as the beneficiary, but because the woman wouldn't give the rep who took the call her address, they sent it to the address on the policy. He changed his beneficiary really quickly after that.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snugglegirl05 on May 08, 2012, 08:27:38 AM
As for giving customers options...the client supervisor at the university I work at as a contract Visitor parking attendant told me not to do that for visitors who do not have a reservation to park in Visitor parking.

Background:The parking office is over Visitor parking. The parking office makes the parking arrangements for guests arriving at the university based on the information that the department or university employee making the request e-mails them. Parking arrangements  *a reserved parking spot* can be made for visitors arriving for a meeting, a job interview, to speak to a class, & so on. For these visitors, their parking is validated by the dept. That information is posted on the Outlook calendar by the Parking office  personnel, & I have access to that calendar.

For visitors who do have a reserved spot, I have to tell them that they have to pay the parking fee. According to the client supervisor, I cannot tell them to ask the dept. for a validated ticket. I have dealt with customers who were surprised that they had to pay for their parking. The reason for this is because visitors who were upset that their parking was not validated complained to the parking office.  There have been visitors who asked the parking office to validate their parking when that happened, but the client supervisor told me that the parking office rarely does this.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: snugglegirl05 on May 17, 2012, 11:20:27 AM
I work at a university as a contract Visitor parking attendant. The cost to park is $5.00. Part of my job is to greet the customer to find out what their needs are. But I cannot determine what your needs are if you do not tell me anything.

So customers...please tell me what your needs are when I greet you.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: camlan on May 20, 2012, 10:12:43 AM
I work at a university as a contract Visitor parking attendant. The cost to park is $5.00. Part of my job is to greet the customer to find out what their needs are. But I cannot determine what your needs are if you do not tell me anything.

So customers...please tell me what your needs are when I greet you.

If this is a common problem, like half the customers don't tell you what they need, then good customer service would indicate changing your greeting to reflect this.

Some suggestions, which reflect guesses I've made about your job:

"Good morning! Are you looking for reserved or free parking today?"
"Good afternoon! Are you looking for student, faculty or visitor parking?"
"Good morning! Do you have a reserved parking spot today or are you looking for paid or free parking?"

or even just,
"Good day! What type of parking are you looking for today?" (I would hope that the university has provided a sign with a list of the options. If they haven't, that's something you could ask for.)
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: emeraldsage85 on May 29, 2012, 05:46:30 PM
Retail Customers:

Don't make stupid jokes like, "It's free!" when something doesn't scan. The cashier hears that joke hundreds of times a day. It gets old after awhile.

Don't accuse the cashier of personally trying to rip you off when something scans at a higher price than it's supposed to.

Don't leave your basket on the end of the belt. Don't leave your cart in a random place. Please put them back where they belong.

Don't leave garbage on the belt.

Don't hide something if you don't want to buy it. Just tell the cashier you don't want it anymore and they'll see that it gets back on the shelf.

If a cashier has put up a closed sign don't ignore it and start putting your things on the belt.

If you're having a spat with your spouse or children don't do it in front of store employees. Go somewhere private.

If you bring reusable bags, make sure they're clean.

When an employee speaks to you, please respond like a human being. Complete silence or grunting is rude.
Title: Re: Customer service etiquette
Post by: White Lotus on October 03, 2012, 10:31:44 AM
Clueless category: CSR. When a person using an assistive device asks where something is, please don't just hare off in a sprint and make them chase you all over the store. Try, "Would you like me to show you or would you like me to get it for you?" If you can go get me that particular brand and size of hot sauce, it will be so much faster.  If the person says, "I need to see it, thanks," let them set the pace, not you.

Clueless category: CSR.  If I introduce myself as Dr. Lotus, this is a clue by four that, even though I know you will need my given name and I will give it to you, I have made my preferred form of address clear, and it is NOT OK to call me Whitey.  And it is White, not Whitey, anyway.

Clueless category: CSR.  Don't just read your script in a monotone.  At least pretend you are having a real conversation with a real human being.  If you can't do that, the customer will think you aren't very bright and things will go slowly.

Malicious category: corporate.  Making life double difficult for your employees by requiring mandatory charity or credit card solicitations, making "Excellent" the only acceptable feedback -- now that I know this happens, I always ask -- making unreasonable time demands, and otherwise treating them as droids who are out to rob you blind.  Treat them as people. Nice people.

Malicious or maybe clueless category: corporate.  When you are buying those carts for disabled people, ride in them for a while.  They are jerky, bumpy, and don't turn in an aisle (mostly).  Do YOUR shopping from one for a month.  Then decide.  Mobility issues caused by obesity are not the only reasons people need these carts now and again. (Those people aren't as affected by the jerking and bumping, it seems.  No judgment on them.)  The person using an assistive device should always be offered help by passing staff members: nothing I ever want to buy is at eye level.  "Can I reach something for you?" when I am clearly struggling, is something I appreciate.

These are all I can think of right now, but there are more.  Mostly they all have to do with putting one's self in the other's shoes, being polite, and recognizing the limits of the position the person is working in.

Can you tell I had an injury not all that long ago? <g>