Changing the capri pants – a reminder on customer service

I recently visited the Vero Moda boutique in Kamppi, Helsinki on an errand to change a pair of pants unfit for my wife. The affair was done accordingly to their change/return policy, except for one thing: the missing original price tag.

The lovely salesperson decided to give me hard time on this one. Despite the fact that the conditions indicated a nigh-zero chance of an attempt to cheat, she immediately started by stating “I really can’t help you here”. Which is, basically, quite fine. She was correct: their policy said no returns without the receipt and the price tag, and it’s not an unreasonable policy. I could’ve understood that.

However, the next step was that she begrudgingly admitted to taking them back, after closely examining them for possible wear and tear. Finding nothing, she felt almost disappointed as she told me she’d make an exception this time. “Just remember to keep the tag attached the next time”. I seemed to need this reminder for a couple of times, even.

Yeah yeah, we will remember.

If your customer is wrong, swallow it

The worst thing is that we do this all the time in IT as well. A customer rolls in a ridiculous-sounding request. We tell him it’s a no, but then turn our heads due to one reason or another. And while we are working on the request, we whine about how things should be differently, how the customer has no clue and so on.

For your deity’s sake, if you decide to comply with your customers’ wishes, don’t make him feel bad about it. Once you make the call of going one way, focus on making the situation a customer service victory. Perhaps you did expose your company to a risk of a few extra man-hours of unbillable work, or perhaps there is a slight chance that those pants were used and somebody gained unjust advantage. But once you decided your course of action, you couldn’t retreat anyway.

Perhaps there is a time for politics, but the it is almost never when you’re actually working with an immediate customer problem.

Well, I got my (or my wife’s, actually) pants changed. However, I’m left puzzled: It’s almost like I felt worse than I did at the first phase when my request for a change was reasonably and politely denied.

June 29, 2010 · Jouni Heikniemi · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: General

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