Customer service

By retailworker - 09/01/2020 14:00

Today, at work, I was helping a customer over the phone. Another customer came and asked me a question. I let them know I'd be with them shortly. They then said "I really think you should hang up. The customer is always first." FML
I agree, your life sucks 7 337
You deserved it 548

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But you're helping a customer anyways! Some people feel so entitled when it comes to retail I hate it so much.

explain them that you are talking to a customer

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that's not how this works. that's not how any of this works.

Other way around. The people who come in to the store can see that you are helping a customer on the phone. The people on the phone will not know that you have customers in the store.

I agree, if the customer in the store was being helped first. But they weren't. Therefore the customer on the phone has priority. You don't stop helping one customer because another one came up. That's just bad service. It would be like a waitress ignoring your table because she had another table put in her section after you.

so you are telling me that if you are on the phone with a clerk or customer service they should stop your conversation and help another customer just because they are there and you were too busy or too far away to go there in person. sorry take a number and wait your turn. first come first serve. deal with one costumer at a time.

Why. It’s not easy for everyone to get out and run to stores. When I’m in flare up, a short trip to the store can lay me up for days. I’m calling before I go to make sure they have what I need, since many websites aren’t up to date with stock. So because I need to call and I called before the person who walked in, I should get blown off? Screw that. First come, first served, no matter how they were first, phone or in person. Get a reality check that it’s not always easy for people to get somewhere. And if this was a business that accepts appointments over the phone, like a hair dresser, an appointment is just as important as a walk in, and usually spends more money.

You’d never be able to order a pizza if that were the case.

But you're helping a customer anyways! Some people feel so entitled when it comes to retail I hate it so much.

explain them that you are talking to a customer

Even better when someone tries to jump the line complaining about the wait. Or when they show up after a deadline and accuse you (the employee) for it. "Procrastination on your part is not an emergency on mine."

"You're absolutely correct. The customer in question just happens to be on the phone right now."

If someone says that to a store employee while shopping they are almost always a douchebag.

“The first customer who reached me is first, and the second one is next.”

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But OP was already on the phone with the customer before Madam or Sir Bitchalot showed up. What was OP supposed to do? Hang up on the customer? I've worked retail for 5 years and, at my store at least, the policy is basically first in first served in regards to phone/in store customers. A customer is still a customer. In my experience, the vast majority of customers call to see if we have something in stock because they don't want to drive all the way here only to find that we dont have it. So by helping him or her, it secures a sale either now or in the future when the item comes in, and the customer remembers the help and convenience. I guess it depends if OP works in a small store or a big one, but I think it's first in first served, especially if OP had no coworkers to help her out. I don't know. Just my two cents.

But the phone customer is 100% sure not to make any purchases if you just put them on hold in the middle of helping them to help someone else. All what you're saying means is that if you're not currently helping anyone and have the choice between a customer on the phone or in-person, go with the in-person one first. But that is not the situation in this FML.

That's exactly right. Putting the phone customer on hold or hanging up on him/her clearly says that the phone customer isn't important and that is not okay. That's extremely rude. If a customer approaches me in the store at the same time the phone rings, then I'll help the in-store customer first and answer the phone second, or ask a coworker to answer the phone. But if I'm already on the phone then the in-store customer can wait. If they're not understanding, then that's their problem. I'm only one person. I can guarantee you if it were that customer on the phone, she wouldn't want to be put on hold or hung up on. OP is not in the wrong at all.

She's not correct in principle or any other way. Period, full stop.

She's not correct in principle or any other way. Period, full stop.

I've never worked retail, but my feeling is if it was a quick question it would be polite to have caller hold for a few seconds. I'm sure some people will disagree with this. I feel most sale person's can recognise this. How many times has rhe phone rang and sales person cannot convince person to hold on for a few moments even when there might be customers already waiting.

There is no such thing as a quick question when in retail

You don’t know if it’s a quick question until you talk to the person. When people say quick question, it usually means a 15 minute explanation before the question.

It’s clear that you’ve never worked retail

As manager of a busy shop, I trained my staff that the actual customers in the shop get priority. After all, they planned their day, got in to their car, drove to the shop and walked in the door. Anyone who does that is practically walking in the door with an open wallet singing, "take my money." Phone service should be courteous, yet prompt. I didn't pay my guys to help someone price match my goods whilst that person was at home checking it out on Amazon or a competitors site. If they couldn't help them in just a few minutes (such as trouble-shooting) we would ask if we could call back, or if they could come in so that they were able to experience our best one-on-one service. A customer waiting at the counter to be served while someone was on the phone is just not right. A quick, "please hold, I just need to take care of this customer" is acceptable. If they don't want to be put on hold - take their number and call back. If they protest, it's easy to politely say, "if you were in shop right now, you would not want to wait either, may I please call you back."

You don't know why the person is calling. It doesn't state what kind of business the OP works in. The person on the phone could be buying hundreds of dollars/pounds worth of products to be delivered. If it's a pizza place then they're more than likely ordering food. The person could have limited time or money so wants to know a product is there before coming to buy it. They could have limited mobility so only want to make one journey. To assume the person on the phone is "lazy" or hasn't made an effort just because they haven't come into the business is ridiculous. And frankly, bad management. If I was on the phone to someone and they put me on hold to serve someone who entered the store after I called. I would be pissed and if they made a snarky comment about "oh well they're in the store and you're not" I'd sure as hell 1) take my business elsewhere and 2) complain. If you were in line and someone pushed in, because they drove half an hour and you walked 5 minutes, would that be ok? After all, the person who has taken half an hour has made more effort. And you think that deserves better service.

Youre a terrible manager with poor lateral thinking skills. The previous person who replied hit every point I would have made. My advice would be to re-think your policies. Over the phone, in person or via email; a customer is a customer, regardless of their medium of custom.

You’re complaining right now and you haven’t even purchased anything, Cassie.