Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Customer Service--complaints

There was a training meeting for work this morning. So not only did I have to get up way early (well, compared to when I usually get up) to be there on time, it has now left me feeling guilty and frustrated. But mostly frustrated.

We talked about customer service at the meeting. The store has started this new program thingy they call "secret shoppers". Basically, they hire (I'm actually not sure whether they're paid...) people to shop here and report back on what they thought of the customer service.

Basically, the General Book department has gotten some very bad reviews. No names were named, but they read off some of the comments. Some of them were things of which I was guilty--like focusing on shelving books when there was a customer in the area, telling them I couldn't tell them whether we carried the book they wanted unless they could tell me a title or author... things like that. I felt very bad, because I really should and can do better. And I will.

But the secret shoppers comments are not an extremely accurate representation of the customer service in our department in general, in my opinion. Firstly, usually they're in there just to do the secret shopper thing and so they're not actually looking for any specific book. So instead of saying "I'm looking for A Certain Book by So-And-So" they'll just say, "Do you have any books about Random Subject?" And the problem is, the computer program we use to look up books in our computer doesn't have a subject search. Apparently there were alot of complaints when secret shoppers asked if we had a book on a certain subject and we told them, completely honestly, that they would have to give us a title or author, or even just a word of the title, for us to find anything specific.

But thats when the secret shopper actually gets to the desk with a question, which they don't always. Again, because they're not really looking for anything specific, they'll just hang around in the area, browsing, waiting to see if anyone will ask them if they're looking for something specific--which they're not. The vast majority of the times I've asked a customer if they need help finding something when they're just hanging around in the area, they'll just say, "No, I'm just browsing." I've even had some who seem annoyed with me for asking. I admit I've kind of slacked off on asking them because of this and because I've found that when people are actually looking for something specific they don't just hang around, glancing over the shelves. They will actually go find a desk or someone with a lanyard on and ask them for what they want. (Wow, what a novel idea.)

And lastly, just so I can have three things, these secret shoppers seem to be coming in to look for anything that is bad/wrong. So of course they find it.

End of rant.


Jocelyn said...

They actually pay people to come and criticize bookstore employees? Dang! That is really annoying. The only time I didn't much enjoy finding a book was one time when I told some kid what I was looking for, and then when they looked it up on the computer, they said they didn't carry any copies of it. Only I could see part of the computer screen as well, and it showed that they had seven copies of the book. So I asked the employee, "What about that number there? It says you have seven copies" and then they mumbled something like "Oh, I didn't know you were looking for THAT book." But I really haven't met anyone else at the bookstore who has been unhelpful.

Sherri said...

Sarah, your camera is here and available. I want pictures on your blog!!