To retain or not to retain…

I’m talking about customer service. As important as acquiring new customers is, retaining them is just or even MORE important. If you have one loyal customer you’ve basically got free PR in terms of spreading the word to others. I know if I like something I’ll stop at nothing to get everyone around me to start liking it too. And if I don’t like something…wow, watch out. Now that I’ve introduced the topic of this post please allow me to continue on with my grumbling.

There’s a stationary store in Bath that I often use to print, photocopy, and scan. I went into Woods The Stationers on Bond St. yesterday to print out some documents. When I handed my USB key to the clerk he slipped downstairs to print off the paperwork and there I was left waiting by the counter. I’m not sure if my glancing around my surroundings caused reason for suspicion but within 30 seconds of the clerk leaving an older lady who also worked at the store came in to “monitor” me. I’m not sure if there was racial profiling…or ageism (clearly I believe I don’t look a day over 18) and feel free to call me overly paranoid. Maybe she would’ve come regardless of who was left at the counter, which is totally fine. I’ve worked retail. I know you have to keep an eye on things but there’s a right way to do it and there’s a wrong way to do it.

Right way:

-Just speak to the customer and have a light chat. I was the only one in the store and I wasn’t doing anything but waiting.

-Look busy. Straighten up products, pretend to do some book-keeping…whatever, I don’t care!

Wrong way:

-Stand by the side of the store and stare at the customer. Talk about an awkward situation for both parties. Well, maybe she didn’t feel awkward, but I certainly did.

As soon as the guy came back with my paperwork she disappeared, confirming my suspicion of being watched. Maybe I’m blowing things out of proportion but it really PISSED ME OFF! I felt like a thief and felt so put on the spot that she may as well have just pulled out a camcorder to start videotaping me or ask me to hand over my bag.

Point is, I did not get any sense of customer satisfaction and I have no plans of visiting that store again unless I’m desperate. And when I say desperate I’m talking about a life or death situation here. So here’s a tip for you, Woods The Stationers: shape up your staff and how they treat customers before you start to lose more. This is the last time I will provide any kind of service to you.


Abandoned customer


Multi-level confusion

When I first started thinking about this post it started off as a general musing. But the more  time I spent musing the more annoyed I got. Enough to stick this post in my griping section. Yes, it’s that serious. I’ve been living in England since September now and there are so many things here that are just completely non-sensical. But if you try pointing out the absence of logic to them and you’ll only be blasted at full force with patriotic love.

I suppose you want to know the premise of my ranting and raving so let me rewind back a little bit.

I finally figured out why my pizza deliveries have never arrived, why I’ve been paying incorrect amounts for my utility bills, and why I’ve been shot dirty looks by visitors who have come to my flat after giving them directions. APPARENTLY (and I really did just find out about this very recently), the way the English define stories/levels of buildings is very different from the North American way (thereby, obviously wrong). Since moving into my current flat I’ve been telling everyone that I live on the 3rd floor. Why? Because my flat is on the third level of the building. Simple. So when a plumber called me up to see if he could come by to check in on our plumbing (we had an issue involving a broken pipe) I told him no problem. Here’s how the conversation went:

Plumber: Is it alright if I pop on over to check your pipes?

Me: Of course! Not a problem, I will prepare some tea and biscuits for you.

Plumber: That sounds absolutely smashing. You are on the 2nd story, is that right?

Me: Oh, no, kind sir, we’re on the 3rd floor.

Plumber: Well this is quite curious indeed. I have here that Sarah is on the 1st floor, you are on the second, and Alfred is on the 3rd.

Me: I have been living here for 5 months and can tell you quite confidently that we are on the- *lightbulb goes off*– …ohhhhh….wait…I think what I call the 3rd floor is what is the 2nd floor in England…

Plumber: You’re from America, are you?

Me: Excuse me, I’m from CANADA, but…close enough. So yes, I’m on the 2nd story. I’m so sorry about the confusion. Really, really sorry about that. I cannot apologize enough.

Plumber: That’s quite alright. I’ll pop by in a jiffy.

Me: That sounds great. Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry……sorry sorry sorry………

So as an FYI, buildings here start off on the GROUND FLOOR and work their way up (ground floor –> first floor –> second floor etc). When I asked my friends about this nonsense they were quick to point out that the North American way was backwards, which I would have happily accepted if only they hadn`t sounded so unsure of their answer when I asked:

Me: How many floors does this building have?

Friends: 6

Me: What floor would you call the top one?

Friends: …the top flat. Me: Ok what else? What floor/story/level would be the top flat of this 6 story building?

Friends: …the 5th floor…it just makes sense! Your way doesn’t make sense!

Our friendship now ceases to exist…

No _____ for you!!

I’d describe my job searching experience as being similar to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi episode (Season 7, Episode 6). You wait in line, hoping to taste the best soup of your life (i.e. You fill out applications, go to job interviews) only to get to the front of the line to hear “No SOUP JOB for you!