Customer Service

After many years working for Nordstrom, an organization known for its excellence in customer service, the bar I set when it comes to responding to my needs when I am the customer is admittedly high, and surprisingly simple.

Care about me. Help me.

Recently I’ve had two experiences in stark contrast to one another.

LOW BAR

In the Costco checkout line (and for the record, I love Costco) I asked about an item I hadn’t been able to find. 

Me: Do you know if you have an capers? 

Employee: I have no idea what those are. 

My thought bubble: That’s not what I asked. 

Me: Do you think someone could find out for me? 

The other employee at the register overheard the conversation and asked her to go see if she could find out if there were any capers in stock, at which point she replied: I have no idea what those are.  

My thought bubble: That’s not what she asked either. 

Finally, yet another employee came over and informed me that they were out of stock, but were anticipating new ones that would, of course, be located in the meat department. 

My thought bubble: None of you have any idea what a caper is, do you.

The experience could have so easily been raised to a higher bar.  

Me: Do you know if you have any capers? 

Employee: I have no idea what those are, but want to know, and would be happy to go find out if we have any. 

HIGH BAR 

I’ve spent approximately 5 hours, with five different customer service agents on the phone with Apple Care to resolve an issue on my iMac. 

Me: I’m having a problem with the Message function on my Mac. I can receive messages but not send them. 

Employee: I’m so sorry for the problem. Let’s take a look and get this resolved for you as quickly as we can.  

My thought bubble: I love Apple Care 

The problem isn’t resolved yet, and has been escalated through the ranks, now landing with the engineering team, but there is no doubt that they care and will stick with me until it is resolved.  

The experience could have so easily been dropped to a lower bar. 

Me: I’m having a problem with the Message function on my Mac. I can receive messages but not send them. 

 Employee: We have online resources. Have you tried those?

When it comes right down to it, in one way or another we are all in the customer service business, because we are all here to care about each other, and help each other. Or at least we should be. 

 In case you’re interested...https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caper

 

Illustration by  Otto Wilhelm Thomé  and displayed on Wikipedia 

Illustration by Otto Wilhelm Thomé and displayed on Wikipedia