Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trust Me, I'm a Customer

I'm often surprised by how many customers seem to think that there is no such thing as dishonesty in this world. Either that, or they think that because THEY are being honest, we should automatically know that somehow and believe them. They wonder why we won't accept a return of a product without a receipt, for example. But do you have any idea how many people come into a store, pick something right up off the shelf, and take it to the customer service counter to ask for a refund? Or maybe they'll put something in their pocket, jacket, harness, or whatever other contraption they've devised (I've got a funny harness story about a computer theft - but that'll be another time) and then take that item to another store within the company to try to get a refund? It happens. A LOT.

That's just one example of dishonesty. There are lots of different schemes I've seen over the years, but you get the idea. Suffice to say, we have to always be on alert with every customer.

So we had an older guy come into the store one night to pick up his delivery order. We asked for his receipt, but he had none. We asked for his I.D., but he had none. Order number? Nope. Confirmation email? Nope.



When we told him we needed SOME sort of proof that he was who he claimed to be, he got all upset. Of course. He uttered all of the typical lines.

"I can tell you exactly what I ordered!"

"Where's ? He put the order through. He can verify it!"

"Why would I lie to you about this?"

"Give me your customer service number! They'll hear about this!"

For obvious reasons, we can't just release an order to a customer, regardless of its value. We place customer orders in store in plain view of everyone, so just about anyone could watch as a product is ordered and paid for then come in the next day claiming to be that person. Our customer service number would tell him the same thing. As for asking for the employee who placed the order, it's unlikely that he or she will remember. We interact with so many people a day that faces often blur together. I've had customers come in claiming that I'd helped them on the previous day who I don't recognize.

So as he's getting set to leave, a woman appears claiming to be his daughter. She was much more reasonable. "You'll have to excuse him. We've never done this sort of thing before. What is it that we need to bring?" She was pretty understanding, though completing a conversation with her was difficult with her father whining, complaining, and shouting in the background.

Shopping Tip of the Day for 11/8/09: If you see an employee wearing his jacket and carrying a lunch bag, there's a good chance he's either just arriving or leaving for the day. Either way, he's most likely NOT on the clock, so don't ask him for help. A quick question like, "Where can I find this product?" is fine, but don't ask him to show you to them and expect him to answer 100 questions. It ain't right.

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