Thoughtful Thursday # 16 – Retail P.O.S

What companies provide the best customer service?  The worst?

Oh, why did I select this prompt way back at the end of 2011?  Because I was trying to select 52 different ones and I must have figured I would have something to say about it when the time came.  Looking at it now, at nearly 9:30 pm after two Zumba classes today plus some gardening I am thinking it isn’t really about  companies when it comes to service; at least not for me when it comes to retail shopping.  It comes down to individual sales people.  But that said a company can really hinder an otherwise terrific sales staff.  I find it very annoying to be having a fine time shopping right up until the ” P.O.S.”  – or point of sale.  That is when company policy and computer programing prompts can spoil it all.  I just want to pay for my stuff, the way I want to, and get on with the rest of my day.  Most often I believe that the human being waiting on me can read my face and body language and know that BUT they have these questions they are required to ask:  will you be paying with X-store or company card, would you like to apply, do you know you will get Y discount, points, free-shipping.  Oh if only that were all.  They probably have irritated me already by asking for a zip code, email, or phone number to track me by.  I know the company requires them to ask this stuff and the computer system makes them enter answers to proceed with my payment.  There has no doubt been big bucks spend on studies and consultants showing these queries will yield more gross sales.  But I remember clerking in a store as soon as I was ‘legal’ to do so.  The store has very old fashioned even for the long ago time I worked.  Sales were written down on paper and added, only the total was rung in the register.  Money was counted back to the customer, change first.  And I was taught to keep the money tendered on the far side of the register until after the customer accepted that money, just in case they claimed to have handed a green young person a $20 when it was really a $10 they had given me.  Automation may make companies feel safer about employee actions but it really treats those employees as not human enough to respond in a human way to individual human customers.  No wonder we happily order things online, without seeing or touching them to avoid the lack of personal interaction in a brick and mortar store when it comes to “P.O.S.”

I am writing this as I intend to make an over an hour journey tomorrow to a mall that has stores not found any closer to me.  Sometimes you just want to try on the clothes, or touch the towels before buying.

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