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Customer Service Adviser
Member Name: lulu2004
Customer Service Adviser
Date: 29/03/04, updated on 29/03/04 (487 review reads)
Advantages: can be fun
Disadvantages: can be taxing
For the past four years i have been a Customer Service advisor/ assistant on the desk of a busy retail store. This is not the same type of customer service that the other reviews in this section refer to, but it is another career in the same vein as call centres: I deal with complaints, compliments and returns, and it is not the easiest job in the world, but i really enjoy it! (Yes I am sadistic!)
I'm a student, but throughout my degree i've worked part-time in a very busy store. Because there are always large queues at the cash registers, the store needs a separate desk to deal with the returns of clothes, and any other problems the customers may have. The size of the store means that my queue never wanes, but when you're kept busy the day flies in.
*** The Procedure ***
Should a customer encounter a rude sales assistant, or be unhappy with their purchase, or even want to report problems with the store itself, they join my queue and tell me about it. Depending on the seriousness of the complaint I can usually deal with it. Generally this is acceptable to the customer, but if the customer is still unhappy, or getting abusive towards me, i have 2 "secret buttons" (very James Bond!) one contacts the security guard, and the other contacts the manager.
Sounds simple enough? Usually it is... but there are a few stories to tell!
*** Your Job as CS Advisor ***
The customer Service operator, is usually the fall guy for the store when a customer has a complaint. Being the first in the line of fire from an irate customer is not the most pleasant thing in the world. Especially since angry customers usually come at you with an attitude, before you even try to help.
?I want my money back now!?
?I?m sorry there?s a problem with my purchase, and I?d like to get a refund?
this usually rubs a sales assistant up the wrong way. If someone is going to be ru
de to me personally, I?d tend to try and find some reason to hold them up in the queue. Whereas, if a customer approaches me politely, I?ll try to do everything within my power to help them. I think that?s human nature. Politeness does not cost anything, and at the end of the day, I?m not standing there to be shouted at, I?m trying to help.
The second most common scenario:
Angry customer: ?I know my rights!?
Usually when a customer says this to you, they have just been refused a refund for a specific reason. Unfortunately for them, our Customer Service Reps receive regular Consumer Rights training, and know all the ins and outs. I?ll give you two examples:
One pair of suede shoes are plopped on my desk. Note that these suede shoes are now completely BALD!
Woman: ?I want my money back- these shoes are faulty; I washed them, and now look at them?
Lou: ?How exactly did you wash them madam??
Woman: ?I washed them at at 60 degree wash in my machine at home. Look at them.?
Lou: (bewildered that someone would be daft enough to wash suede shoes in machine)
?I?m afraid these cannot be refunded, it is not the companies fault. These
shoes are provided with cleaning instructions?
Woman: (getting angry) I want to see the manager now. Stupid girl, I know my rights!
(lou goes and finds manager, who refuses to refund shoes. Woman leaves threatening legal action. So far no letter receivedm and this was over a year ago!)
We do not exchange underwear unless faulty. This is store policy, afterall, who?d want to wear briefs that have been returned? It is also within our rights to refuse.
Bikinis prove a problem however, and so we have hygiene seals in the pants, stuck on very securely, so if a customer wants to return a bikini, the seal must be intact.
One customer arrived at my desk, threw a bikini in front of me
: no hangar, no kimball tags and no hygiene seal and no receipt, and from the tone of her voice I knew she?d be a nightmare from the beginning.
Woman: ?I demand a refund?
Lou picks up bikini, ?Madam, there are no tags, no hygiene seal and no receipt. I cant give money back for this?
Woman: ?I know my rights- it was unsuitable I am etitled to a refund?
Lou: ?Actually madam, you are not. You have no proof of purchase, and the seal has been taken off. The signs clearly state that the seal is not to be removed on the bikinis?
(After fifteen more minutes of argument, and a queue forming behind her, the manager comes to diffuse the situation. My manager is no pushover, and the lady left with her tail between her legs. I stifled a giggle: she even threatened to beat up the manager!?)
*** Harder Aspects of CS ***
I find the harder aspects of customer service are dealing with complaints about your colleagues. Sometimes complaints are made about a certain individual being unhelpful, when truthfully the person is probably run off their feet. It?s difficult to know what to do in those situations: report to a manager, or not.
It?s also difficult when you refuse a customer something, on the grounds of your training, and then a manager comes along and undermines you, by saying yes to the same customer.
*** Tips I?ve picked up ***
* After a few years of dealing with people face to face, you can usually scan your queue, and pick out the people who are going to give you trouble. Usually their attitude is visible through their facial expression, so when you come to these people it?s best to make eye contact, and flash your biggest smile at them, before they launch into rage! Somehow greeting these customers with a smile seems to diffuse the situation a little before they begin.
* Be careful of the language you chose, if you are rude this will give customers further reason to dislike you. And further
reason to complain. Also most people find it difficult to be rude to someone who is being polite to them.
* Pass difficult cases on to supervisors or mangers. This way you don?t make yourself look rude or unhelpful to other customers who may be watching.
* Be wary of the items people are bringing back. If there are no tags on the item, before you accept it back, be sure to check the pockets: If an item is worn it is not uncommon to find crumpled up tissues in the pockets! (this happens regularly with us!- and your boss won?t thank you for accepting used goods back!)
* It also helps to remember regular customers names: they tend to like you more!
* Learn where you stand on consumer rights, and make sure its correct.
* And whatever you do, despite spending a full day in the firing line, and hearing complaint after complaint, leave it all behind you the minute you walk out of work. Otherwise your home life will suffer.
*** As a Career? ***
This isn?t the type of job I want as a career, but it is certainly an excellent job for learning people skills. My own confidence has soared since I began this job, and I am a lot better at dealing with people than I ever was before.
It?s most certainly a people-person job!
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