4 Responses to “When Common Sense and Customer Service Collide”


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  1. Amy Rosenberg

    Interesting story! And good points about the system that the management set up. I am really surprised that the salesclerk was honest enough to tell you the truth. That is actually a little germ of GOOD customer service in a story about bad overall customer service. Usually, in such a situation, the “worker” will not tell you anything like that, because he/she might get in trouble for giving you that information. It could be used against her.
    OK, I can’t resist. Here is MY bookstore story… I was at Cody’s Books in Berkeley, CA, and, I stood in the line for about 20 minutes (usual holiday rush). When I got to the front, I asked for the book on special order. They pointed to a nearby counter and said, “THAT’S where you pick up special orders.” It had never occurred to me that the special order books were at another counter — I was just used to how Borders always held them at the register. The “special order counter” had no line, and I saw I could just pick up my book in about 20 seconds. I asked the salesclerk, “Can I just run over and get it and come right back?” (Even if they take one other customer in the intervening time.) The answer: NO, I’d have to get BACK at the end of the 20 minute line! I asked for the supervisor, and she at first said no, then finally DID let me do it, but yelled at me saying, “FINE!! Go get in front of everyone!” But at least I didn’t have to wait in the line again, so… in that sense, it WAS good customer service, I guess.

  2. I just wonder if she even realized her actions/reactions constituted idiocy or poor customer service??? (and is an idiot in the eye of the beholder??)

    When there is no thought process (aka creativity), there is no realization that the situation is stupid and may have an alternate intervention….

    Wishing luck to all of us—

  3. avishp

    Thanks Amy!

    The “poorly indicated multi-line” fiasco is annoying. I guess it ended up being kind of good service, but good service delivered with an attitude can still hurt your bussines. I am assuming you would hesitate to go back if you found another store that had what you needed…

  4. avishp

    In this case I actually think she did get that it was bad service, but she was completely unwilling to go against policy. My issue was more with he policy than with her actions (i.e. systems that don’t allow people to thinkor use their creativity…)

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