Saturday, September 27, 2008

Name and Shame

I'm a big believer in manners.

Smile, remember your P's and Q's, treat people with basic human respect and a little kindness.

We can all be so quick to forget to treat people how we'd like to be treated.

Which brings me to my topic of today (which I need you all to participate in)...the Name and Shame.

Certain places, be they shops, restaurants, bars, airlines, hotels where you feel you were on the receiving end of bad customer service. Name and Shame them readers.

The world is just too competitive when it comes to businesses who want to take our money to tolerate bad customer service so readers, I invite you to Name and Shame.

Before I launch into my tirade I will say they would score 100% on my prat-meter if it wasn't for a really nice sales woman upstairs and a very kind salesman downstairs. They showed me what good customer service is all about.

I was given a gift from Tiffany which was beautiful but it was too big so I took it in to swap it for a similar item of a smaller size.

So I happily took my time looking at their website to whittle down my alternative options to one or two items. So happy with my choices, I popped into their store.

Doorman was great, very polite. All smiles and hello madam, how are you today.

I was happily walking around seeing what caught my eye, this year I've been developing a rather unhealthy obsession with jewellery and I'm pretty well informed on what's what.

My eye focuses on a small wonder and when I asked the price the salesman literally sniffed as he told me.
The sniff didn't go un-noticed. He got 'a look' but I'm not quick to anger. So I give it back and move along.

Upstairs, a really lovely saleswoman attended to me. She was young, pretty and very helpful.
I saw one of the options I'd picked out online and couldn't find the other so I described it to her.
She wasn't sure so she asked one of her superiors who turned out to be a really ITK (I Too Know aka Know-it-all) crochety old Chinese man.

ITK man proceeded to say they didn't have what I described and maybe I'd looked on a fake Tiffany site.

Me: Fake Tiffany site?
(you think I'm bootleg because I'm black when quite frankly China has the intellectual property rights on bootleg)

ITK: Yes madam, there are some fake websites pretending to be Tiffany but they're not.
Me: Ok, but I think I can safely assume is your company.
ITK: Oh you can't be too sure, people get confused all the time.
Me: I'm pretty comfortable using computers so I pretty sure I looked at the right site.
(I move away before I feel compelled to reach over the counter and slap the old man).
ITK: Oh but we don't have what you're describing so you must have been looking in the wrong place.
Me: Ok thanks. (walk away and back to the saleswoman who was helping me in the first place).

I ask her to check on the computer system, she mentions it might be downstairs but starts looking through the company website. I show her how I searched for my items and she happily obliged.

And horror of horrors....we can't find it.

Then young ITK in a slick suit sticks his head over and says to sales woman quietly, we don't have what she's looking for.
To her credit, she ignores him. I ignore him. He moves away.

I ask her to search a different way and I'm getting increasingly irritated as old Chinese man ITK keeps coming over as if to prove I'm wrong. Now anyone who knows me knows
a. I'm always right
b. I've got a pretty good memory and
c. I'm pretty comfortable with computers

So having this old ITK dude who I'm sure has never looked at the company website telling me I don't know what I'm talking about, when I know what I saw this morning, is firmly pressing my buttons.

He moves away and like magic, the woman says, is this what you're looking for?
Bingo. Right name, right category, right price.

So she takes be back downstairs as that's where they have what I was looking for, hands me over to a really nice, supersweet old guy who happily helps me. They're closing by this point but he's so polite about it. Initially he thought they didn't have the right size. But he checked the stock room. Came back out, checked the stock list on the computer, went back to the stockroom and got me EXACTLY what I'd seen on their website and it was EXACTLY what I wanted.

The sales woman who helped me upstairs is leaving the building just as I get to the door and she sees the bag in my hand and asks me if I found what i was looking for, I say I did, thank her and she apologises for any 'confusion upstairs'. Its in our exchanged smiles that we both know exactly who 'confusion' was.

I can't remember any particular incidents as I stopped flying with them years ago.
I think it might be something to do with the way they treat passengers flying to Lagos at Xmas. Insane.
They're rude, they're snotty and their service is crap.
They offer crap airmiles and they can't even begin to strike a match to the burning inferno that is Virgin Atlantic.
I've been flying with Virgin for about 5 years and they've never done me wrong. I LOVE that airline.
So many times they've gone over and above the call of duty. The staff at check in are always friendly, happy and helpful and early or late, you're treated like the full fare paying passenger you are.
BA could get away with their crap service while they had the monopoly on Nigeria but then Virgin Atlantic swooped in to claim their share. Egg on your face BA.

Again, I can't remember what they did that pissed me off so much.
It was in my first year of uni.
I'm one of those people, when I love a place/airline/hotel/whatever...I'll tell everyone about it.
If I hate a place/airline/hotel/whatever...I'll tell everyone about it.
If I don't love or hate it, its too mediocre to be memorable.

So when Lloyd's Customer Services pissed me off, my 18 year old self politely told the woman on the phone that I'd be closing my account as soon as I could get to the nearest branch today and I explained to her that while they might not have much respect for the students of today, we'll be the millionaires of tomorrow. Then I explained that HSBC have been like champions and I'm going to advise all my friends with Lloyds accounts to switch to HSBC as their customer service is by far superior.
I think I managed to recruit about 5 people for HSBC so not that you care, but egg on your face Lloyds.

So readers, join in the fun...NAME AND SHAME!


fantasy queen said...

in nigeria, i think nude couture boutique should have a shame. never shopped there, but i've heard loads of people bitch about the service....absolutely rude, especially after you've been given the newyork sort of 'once over' and you fail to qualify as capable of purchasing.

i give it up for the deola sagoe store, wonderful customer relationship.they're so cooperative and nice, you actually smile when paying for your purchases. lol

2hot4fendi said...

had almost the same experience in the Louis Vuitton shop @ Tysons corner fairfax,
when my sis and I were trying to find a diaper bag she saw on-line
A sales exec there was downright obnoxious IMO, it took all I had not to smack her SO hard!!!! Lol

Tiger Tem said... york style once over in Lagos? How interesting. But I will cut them a little slack because I know how hard the work ethos in Nigeria makes it for business owners.

Def agree with Deola Sagoe, the girls are lovely. Seem genuinely happy to be there.

@2hot4fendi...I can only imagine, LV need to take it easy. They're not the posh exclusive fashion house they once were courtesy of the bootleggers. Totally devalued the appeal of the company in my opinion. I rate them as about as chavtastic as Burberry.....SNIFF!

Abujamaiden said...

In Abuja, it should be the 'used to be hotspot' grandsquare ice-cream. The girls used to be so rude like everyone lining up wasn't going 'splurge' on ice-cream.

Old generation banks in Nigeria- Union, Afri, First, Unity...the service is so civil service.

In the states, Bath and Body works staff are too NICE they made me spend more than I!

dg said...

I'm with you on BA and their condescending attitude...

Here in Lagos I'm not a fan of the rude gossips over at the highly over-rated (IMO) Downtown salon. Tried it out once and once was enough. And where to begin with rude restaurant staff?!

Don't think I've ever been in a Lloyds but ironically I've had pretty poor service at an HSBC branch. LOL

Tiger Tem said...

@Abujamaiden...somebody somewhere really needs to start and effective customer service training system for staff in Nigeria. Old school companies, new school companies, a lot of them need help.

Great point about Bed, Bath & Beyond. Let that be a lesson to all sales assistants, the nicer you are, the more we spend!

@DG...never been to Downtown, I usually went to a place down the road from where Tiger Tem used to be or one of two places in Ikeja...which were all pretty good to be honest.

Funny about HSBC, I guess its the law of averages.

Uzo said...

Oooh Lordy...LOL...I am so with you on the BA ish. Bobby's in Surulere...Oh my words - Absolutely the pits...and considering i go to the one in Ikeja - they are just worlds apart.

Victoria's Secret Stores are so so amazing. Every Saks 5th Avenue Store i have been too is colld sterile and just snooty...