Today’s tale is about customer service. Probably not the customer service you are thinking of. We tend to forget that the shop owner, stylist and the manager are a customer as well. You see, as a manager of a retail shop/salon, I deal with about 10 different reps. “Rep” is short for sales representative, although as of late many are not representing themselves or their company and the products they sell very well.
I understand all too well the stresses of being a rep. I was one in the past. I understand the frustration of Β small orders, of going to a Salon time after time with no order from them. I understand the boredom of the drive, the frustration of the commute and rush hour traffic. You know what? I still made and kept appointments. I still showed up. I am the first to admit my time is precious. So is everyone else’s. I am blessed to have a few awesome reps – they make an appointment with me and keep it. If they need to change their regular time I am given ample notice and they work around my schedule. They give us free samples to use in the Salon or to give to our customers. They give us complimentary retail bags for the product we sell – the customer’s love them because they are funky and fun and it helps the reps because their product lines are advertised all over the bags – give me bags = more products ordered. They are helpful and professional and have become someone I would take out to dinner or invite into my home.
Then there are the “others”. They make an appointment and don’t show up. Days pass…no call, no email…I am left feeling like a girl waiting for a boy to call. Didn’t like it when I was 16, sure as hell don’t like it now. I have an order waiting, many times a special order I am placing for a customer and because of their no show, the customer now has to wait even longer for their product and believe me when I tell you…that isn’t always the best of experiences. In the age of email, text, Facebook and Twitter there is no excuse for a no show. Unless you are pinned under a transport truck or having a family emergency there is no reason why a rep cannot call their customer or find someway of getting in touch with them.
I had a great rep that has now moved on to other things. I will not name him but he knows who he is. He would come by every week on a Tuesday at the same time. He would email me about upcoming promo’s. If he knew a promo was almost out of stock he would call me directly to let me know and see if I needed any. He would bring samples for our customers. He would make sure that complimentary retail bags were shipped with each order. He was not only my sales rep, he is my friend. I met his replacement last week. After I introduced myself as the manager, or “just the manager” as she so eloquently put it, I told her that she would always be dealing with me and that I always have an order waiting (typed out and ready to go), I was told that Tuesday’s weren’t good for her and that weekly visits weren’t good either. I also didn’t get any retail bags. It’s a good thing I had looked over the sales flyers while I was preparing my order because I wasn’t told about one single promo. I miss my friend.
What I am getting at is this. Everyone wants good customer service. If we are a shop owner, a new mom in need of a stroller, a single dad having to buy his daughter her first bra, whomever, we all want some courtesy and kindness. We all want to feel like we are worth the time and effort and that we are being heard. It’s really that simple. Everyone’s time is as equally important as everyone else’s. For all you “others” out there, be professional. Show up. If you can’t show up – let us know and reschedule. Don’t want to come by? Then man up and ask for orders to be emailed – be sure that your office knows to mail out the bi-monthly sales flyer. Come to think of it, maybe it’s time for a career change.