Saturday, 7 May 2016

'Maybe you aren't getting bad customer service, maybe you are just a bad customer'

This isn't the type of post I write often, and hopefully won't have to post often. 
It isn't positive, in fact it's going to be very ranty so warning in advance ha.
It is something I have toyed with writing about for a while now but avoided, however today for me was the final straw and I thought I HAVE to write a post about this.

So I work in retail part time along side studying at University, I'm not going to divulge where exactly I work but it is a popular, large and busy (veeeeryy busy) store.
Working in retail can be pretty stressful at times and I have my moments of moaning about little things that come along with the job role like most people do in most jobs, it's kind of natural.
However I do absolutely love where I work!
I work with some of the best people ever, we are like a family and everybody in the whole store supports each other and looks out for one another, it really is an amazing environment to work in.
Not only this but I love the company I work for, they treat their employees incredibly well and it is the best place I have worked at so far.
After working in retail since I turned 16 and I am now 21, it has been just over 5 years of working with various different companies and hands down the company I work for now are so ahead of the game.

Some days I have moments when I'd really rather not be working, moments I'm sure almost everyone has sometimes, but I come in, I get on with it and I work my butt off to keep up the high standard of customer service my store and the company demand.
I genuinely enjoy interacting with both my colleagues and customers and for the most part customers are friendly and appreciate the effort we put into our customer service.
However recently I have been noticing a growing trend of people coming into our store and completely disrespecting our staff.
Maybe it is the increase in sunshine that turns some people into aggressive animals but either way I have had enough.
Yes you may just think, you work in a shop it's not hard. You may think we are lazy. Getting paid to gossip in he corner and shop for ourselves whilst pretending to work.
What you don't know is we spend most of our day tidying up after customers, trying to maintain a tidy store so that it is easier and more pleasant for you to shop in.
Sometimes we are stuck behind the till for hours on end under bright and really hot lights, on our feet for 8 hours at a time, all whilst making sure each and every customer has the best experience they can and help who we can.

Sometimes if it's been a really busy day and the store is a mess, we may have to stay later to finish tidying, sometimes we have rails upon rails of clothes that need to go out, and sometimes we might think we have almost finished all of the jobs needing to be done to find someone has dumped a load of clothes on the floor in the fitting room that we now need to sort.
Yes its annoying, yes it would be easier if this didn't happen but we know this is our job and we get on with it.
Sometimes we are tired, sometimes we are stressed from University work that is piling up, sometimes we are sad, sometimes we have to miss a weekend at a family gathering or friends birthday, but we come into work and we get on with it. We put on a happy face and grin and bare it.
So when we are completely disrespected as a human being it makes me question what is the point?

So I will get to the point... Today it was a busy Saturday and I was on the fitting room.
I work on the Mens floor and it is our policy, as is the same in most retail shops that the Mens fitting room is for the Men to use and the Women the Womens. There is some flexibility for this and we are accommodating to anyone that is currently going through transition, anyone who is non binary etc but the general rule is set. I'm pretty sure this is just common knowledge right?
We only have 4 changing rooms on the Mens floor so it is pretty reasonable that we should keep it to only men trying on in there because the Womens floor has around 25 changing rooms so they kind of getting the better deal in that sense.
Today I was doing my job as usual, making conversation with any customers waiting to try on and ensuring everyone had everything they needed.
We usually get a few women coming up to see if they can try on in the Mens fitting room to try and bypass the usually long queue on Ladies wear (it may be long but it does go down very fast as there are so many changing rooms)
Whenever this happens I am always really polite and apologetic explaining they will have to go downstairs to try on but I always reassure them the queue really does go down quickly.
Inevitably we all get a few women that get pissed off about this, presumably because they thought they were being really clever sneaking upstairs to use the Mens fitting room, but for the most part people make their way downstairs with little fuss.
Today was something else...

Over the space of an hour in the fitting room I was called a slut, told to fuck off, called unreasonable and had various other insults  thrown at me along with argumentative discussions on their part about why they couldn't try on there....all because I let them know they would have to try on downstairs.
If I said anything of the such to a customer I would be fired on the spot, so why is it any different for a customer saying this to an employee? We are people and believe it or not have feelings just like everyone else.
The reaction I was getting was as if I had just killed a puppy in front of them or something, not told them to hop on the escalator and queue downstairs just as they were doing up here.
All we are doing is our job, we do not make up the rules, we simply perform our jobs to the best of our ability and when you begin to attack us for doing this, I really start to question some people and their reasoning?!
You wouldn't think it reasonable for someone to ask a police office to just 'let it slide' if they caught someone stealing something, or it okay for someone to ask the bank to just slip an extra £1000 in their account as a nice gesture.
Although we may 'only work in a shop' expecting us to go against the rules we have been told to uphold by our management and company just because you cant be bothered to wait in a queue for 5 minutes is just as ridiculous as the above.
I could get into a lot of trouble if I start disobeying the rules of my store, but you think I'm just a slut who should let you go in because you are obviously much more important than the hundreds of other customers in here. Self entitlement to it's fullest here ladies and gentlemen.

In what world are we living in now that you think it completely justifiable to call somebody a slut, tell them to fuck off or whatever nasty comment you want to fling at a worker over trying on some clothes.
How do you think you would feel if you were in my shoes? If you saw someone act the way you are acting towards someone you care about say your mother, sister, daughter, father whoever?!
I am not doing this to annoy you, to make your day harder or because I'm stubborn.
This is my job, I'm doing my job and I do not be deserved to be treated like that. Nobody does.
I don't believe you are a bad person, I'm sure you are normally really caring, a great friend, donate money to charity, whatever. But attacking anyone in the way I experienced today is just not okay.

It isn't only me that has experienced this. Countless people I work with have similar stories to tell. Aggressive customers getting irate and threatening because we cant return the item they want to bring back because the receipt is 6 months out of date, or that we have to ask them to leave because it is already 15 minutes past the time we were meant to have closed.
We are people, we deserve to be respected just as much as everyone else and you would be horrified if you witnessed that happen to a loved one.
Yes most days we have at least one slightly difficult customer but we usually just grin and bare it, we let it go over our head and carry on doing our job. But this is overstepping that line.
I get that some customer service experiences have a lot to be desired, but even so this does not make it acceptable to verbally attack someone, especially when it is all over a couple of t shirts and a pair of shoes. First world problems much.

I saw a comment the other day on an article about jobs in customer services and the guy writing it wrote something that really stuck with me.
'Maybe you aren't getting bad customer service, maybe you are just a bad customer'
I will always try my up-most best to be as helpful and polite as possible to ALL customers I meet, but when someone thinks it is okay to call someone a slut who is simply doing their job and trying to help, then maybe the customer isn't always right.