Friday evening, CBC's Marketplace aired their first episode of the new year. The topic discussed is certainly a hot button issue with a lot of folks. Me included.
I watched the episode online and then read through a lot of the viewers comments. And, it got me thinking about my own experiences with the three biggest offenders as listed on the episode.
This time last year I wrote a couple of posts speaking of my experiences with Zellers. I was asked to remove my posts, which I didn't. In the end I did receive a resolution to my issue, several weeks later, but nonetheless.
I had issue with the CBC program and their customer service complaint at Zellers. The company has a policy which clearly states their return policy. The employee and manager followed the policy. Their policy is there for a reason and employees are expected to abide by them. Yes, exceptions can be made, but they are not to be expected, after all, everyone has a reason why the policy doesn't apply to them. Here's the problem (in my opinion) policies are fairly new to us. It wasn't that long ago that businesses didn't really have anything in writing. I worked retail for 20 years and I can remember when we just took care of people and their issues on an individual basis.
CBC's example was ridiculous. Why would the store take back a used item? Any large item like that, usually has a printed slip saying not to return it to the retail location and to contact the manufacturer, yet, that was not mentioned in the segment. And that guy got a $100 gift card for his complaint! The customer in the segment was very mild mannered and appeared to be a gentleman. I tend to believe that he was being honest and saying the lawn mower didn't live up to his expectations, yet that doesn't matter in the world of returns. If Canadian Tire doesn't accept used mechanical equipment back, you must follow proper channels to make your complaint. Which in this case, was most likely contacting the manufacturer directly.
I know from my own experiences with Canadian Tire that most stores are franchised. It is up to each owner's discretion how they want to handle a customers complaint. Likely, if accepted back at the store that lawn mower would of sat in the back room for weeks, and then eventually be thrown down the garbage shoot.
My experience with Canadian Tire was with an item that scanned at a price higher than the shelf price. I asked about the scanning code of practice, and if they participated, which I was told they did not. However, it was posted on the door. After the employee spoke to her supervisor, I was told again they didn't do that. I contacted Canadian Tire customer service and was told it was up to each owner if they wanted to opt in. After several weeks, of not hearing from the owner, who I was told would call me, I got in touch with customer service by telephone again. Later that week I did receive a call from my local owner offering me the scanning code of practice.
The example on the program was a gal with a photo book and the obscene amount of time it took to get it to her. Yes, I agree Walmart completely dropped the ball in regards to the book. Her book should of been compliments of the store and maybe a small gift card would of been in order.
Another, point they made was looking for clerks and asking for assistance. True, it is rather difficult to find clerks in most stores. Why? My experience tells me they have one (maybe two) clerks working per section. And, if you find a clerk in one section they don't know other sections of the store, because they are hired for that department alone. Each department has a budget and a certain number of hours, you don't let your employee go work in another department without charging that to the other department. And, if you are looking for an opinion on a certain product, they used coffee makers in the segment, how would the employee at any of these stores have an opinion? They don't let you use or sample the products, and unless you own it personally how would they know? If you want an opinion or recommendation, you are shopping at the wrong kind of store! You need a specialty store.
I don't shop all that much at Walmart, but when I do I wait forever in super long lineups to pay for my items. I would say an average of 15 minutes in line is the norm. Waiting to return sometimes is even worse. Maybe, that is why I don't shop there a lot, I simply just can't stand for that long!
I was rather surprised that the company I worked for wasn't mentioned in the piece. Lord knows, we had complaints. I dealt with them daily. Yes, there were times we dropped the ball and the customer should be making a complaint. At the same time, complaints should be made properly. Swearing, assaulting, harassing are not the proper channels to voice a complaint.
What are your thoughts? I think that a person's perception differs greatly depending if you've ever worked the other side of the counter. Obviously, I have.
Did you see the show? What are your expectations when it comes to customer service?