Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A few words on kindness

I had one of those experiences yesterday....where I wonder if I'm overreacting, or if I'm right.  I'll leave it up to you to decide. 

I had to call a business and ask a few questions before making a visit this case it was a bridal shop.  What they do is not important, though, I've had this experience before. 

What I wanted to ask went something like this:
"Hi, I'm __ and my sister in law is getting married this year.  She has picked out her dresses, and I'd like to know if you have a particular style in stock so I can come in a try it on."  That's it.  Two sentences.  Here's how the conversation actually went:

Me: "Hi, my sister in law is getting married
Lady: "What's her name."


Me: "Well, she hasn't been to your shop, but it's close to me, so I'm asking about the bridesmaid dresses
Lady: "What Style"


Me: "Jasmine" (insert dress number here)
Lady: "I have to check the internet to see if we have it in stock" *click*

and I'm on hold. 

As if this weren't bad enough....after being on hold for awhile (a minute?) I hear a series of clicks, intermittent talking, then a long pause.  No one's there.  Then a repeat.  I am assuming that whoever I was talking to didn't understand how to get the phone off of hold.  I hung infuriated...but I called back to try again. 

Here's what I wanted to say: "Hi, I just called, but I think I got cut off.  I was asking about a dress, to see if I could come try it on"

Here's what I got out of my mouth... "Hi, I just called" when I was interrupted with "you were talking to ___ hold on"*click*  And I'm on hold again.  For about two minutes.  At this point I hung up and called the other shops on my list. 

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I was taught not to interrupt when talking to someone.  And I know I still do it, when I"m in a conversation with someone and we're really excited about what we're talking about.  But I try really hard not to; you know why?  BECAUSE IT'S ANNOYING.  I can't stand being interrupted!  I hate it!  It is so incredibly rude!  The thing is, I rarely notice it in family and friends (though sometimes I do), but it really gets under my skin when I'm trying to talk to a service provider of some kind.  99% Of the time the question they interrupt me with will be answered if they just LISTEN to what I want to say. 

In this case, the story I related above, I called back again later, and was told that she "had other customers" and she would have to call me back about my question.  I told her not to bother.  The problem with starting off like this is that I get the impression that you won't listen to ANYTHING I want or say when I actually meet you  in person!  So after this exchange on the phone, do you actually think I'm going to come in and be bullied through trying on a dress and talking about alterations?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

To make a larger statement, in economic times like this, when people do less business because of their budget, and more of the business they do have over the internet, do you really think that this kind of phone manner is going to get you a whole lot of customers?  To put it another way, how's this working for you? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is one of those times where after calling back a third time, put on your business voice and ask; "May I speak to the store manager, please?" Then, if connected, tell her/him that you will now tell EVERYONE you know not to frequent their store, and will spread the word throughout the WWW. D.