Poor customer service experiences: the plus side

I called into a telco at lunch time today to get a replacement SIM card (I won’t name them). I went to the desk at the rear of the shop (it said ‘Here to help’) and was promptly pointed to the front of the shop where a lady with a tablet took details about what I wanted. She asked me to take a seat (there weren’t any) and someone would see me in a moment.

About 25 moments later someone came to replace my card (the same guy who directed me to the front initially). getting the card took about 2 minutes, and I was on my way.

Now, the staff were all working hard, and the gentleman who served me told me that they had some staff absent sick. I’m not a person who thinks that I should always be served right away (absences happen and things can get busy). But from my point of view as a user there were two problems:

  • what appeared to be the main service point wasn’t – there should have been something pointing me to my first point of contact;
  • it wasn’t clear to me where I might be in the queue (some people *did* present at the front desk and got served) and, consequently, I didn’t trust that I *would* be served.

The shop wasn’t really set up to accommodate several people having to wait, which is not the fault of the staff there. But no-one had thought about how the setup might come across to their customers.

But, it wasn’t a complete loss:

  • they were very friendly and very apologetic, which always win brownie points;
  • I was clearly a little annoyed and they didn’t try to sell me anything during that transaction (increasing the chance that they might later). This was very good particularly given that they probably get paid bonuses on contracts that they sell.

It also helped me realise that I’ve not thought about how our library might appear to our users in a long time. We are in a joint-use arrangement with another education institution that, on the whole, works rather well. But we don’t see the numbers of some of our student groups that we used to. So there might be a problem, and I haven’t gone out of my way to find out. So I need to talk to people and try looking at what is familiar to me with a new eye.

We all need a bit of a jolt occasionally.


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