User Tag List

123 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 28

  1. #1
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    2,629

    Default Help with dealing with this customer please? >_<

    Help me with this please!

    We sell music books, including pieces and exercises for graded music examinations. A week ago a customer came in and asked to buy a set of exam pieces and exercises and tests for her son's exam. My colleague grabbed the relevant books for her and the lady bought all of them.

    Today, about a week after the purchase, the lady called and complained that we gave her one wrong book. The book in question was "supplementary exercises from 2009". There was a newer book "supplementary exercises from 2011". These were basically the same, but they contained different pieces. Both could still be used for her son's exams. (Because these were just 'supplementary' pieces meant to give people more stuff to practice)

    The new version was slightly smaller and was about 1.50 dollars cheaper. The customer wanted to change to the new version plus get the 1.50 dollar refund. However, we have a no return policy, and she was giving me hell today about how it was not fair and that she was given wrong information. She said she specifically asked for the "latest version", but my colleague said she did not specify that she wanted that version.

    This lady keeps calling and won't give up. The thing is, if she had asked nicely in the beginning, I would have tried to do something for her. But she was hostile right from the beginning. What would you do in this situation?

    I've met this lady in person and she was a very difficult person. She had come in before and when she did not know which book to buy, she asked to use our office's phone instead of her cell phone to call her son's teacher (to save money -- she claimed that her cell phone was not working -- which was totally not true as she immediately afterwards took a call on that cell) Then she kept pestering everyone to give her a special discount. Come on, this isn't a flea market where you can just do that!

    -___-

    I said I would talk to the manager and call her back, but the answer is still the same, and I know she's going to go on and on about how it's not her fault. Can I just say "I'm sorry, ma'am. We have a no return policy and simply can't do it. Bye."?

    I suck at this.



    Note: Actually I understand that the ideal situation would be that my colleague had said "We have two versions, which one would you like?". I would want that if I were the customer. But still it's not like the lady was given an outdated version that was unusable... >_<
    4w5 sp/sx EII

  2. #2
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    6w5 sp/sx
    Posts
    3,939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    Help me with this please!

    We sell music books, including pieces and exercises for graded music examinations. A week ago a customer came in and asked to buy a set of exam pieces and exercises and tests for her son's exam. My colleague grabbed the relevant books for her and the lady bought all of them.

    Today, about a week after the purchase, the lady called and complained that we gave her one wrong book. The book in question was "supplementary exercises from 2009". There was a newer book "supplementary exercises from 2011". These were basically the same, but they contained different pieces. Both could still be used for her son's exams. (Because these were just 'supplementary' pieces meant to give people more stuff to practice)

    The new version was slightly smaller and was about 1.50 dollars cheaper. The customer wanted to change to the new version plus get the 1.50 dollar refund. However, we have a no return policy, and she was giving me hell today about how it was not fair and that she was given wrong information. She said she specifically asked for the "latest version", but my colleague said she did not specify that she wanted that version.

    This lady keeps calling and won't give up. The thing is, if she had asked nicely in the beginning, I would have tried to do something for her. But she was hostile right from the beginning. What would you do in this situation?

    I've met this lady in person and she was a very difficult person. She had come in before and when she did not know which book to buy, she asked to use our office's phone instead of her cell phone to call her son's teacher (to save money -- she claimed that her cell phone was not working -- which was totally not true as she immediately afterwards took a call on that cell) Then she kept pestering everyone to give her a special discount. Come on, this isn't a flea market where you can just do that!

    -___-

    I said I would talk to the manager and call her back, but the answer is still the same, and I know she's going to go on and on about how it's not her fault. Can I just say "I'm sorry, ma'am. We have a no return policy and simply can't do it. Bye."?

    I suck at this.



    Note: Actually I understand that the ideal situation would be that my colleague had said "We have two versions, which one would you like?". I would want that if I were the customer. But still it's not like the lady was given an outdated version that was unusable... >_<
    Interesting job; I used to do those types of graded exams in music. And I now work for an organisation which offers similar exams in speech and drama.

    I have worked in customer service and customer relations. Difficult people are - difficult. She sounds like a total pain in the rear who wanted special treatment already, with the phone thing, and wanting a "special discount". I admit that people like that wind me up.

    I think your "I'm sorry, ma'am" phrase is not bad, actually. What you could ask her to do is put a complaint in writing. She might just drop it, or she might do that and get off your back. And then someone could write a response and it would all be laid out there.

    Alternately you can see if there is a little leeway because it was slightly your colleague's fault. But as you say, at least she got a book which is still usable, and the price difference was minute. That's what makes her seem really petty. However, is there any chance you could do a "goodwill gesture" of a gift certificate or something?

    Otherwise, something along the lines of "I do appreciate your frustration, but I'm afraid we really can't change our policy under these circumstances. I won't be able to assist further with this." If she won't accept that, would the manager actually be able to speak to her him/herself?
    Female
    INFJ
    Enneagram 6w5 sp/sx


    I DOORSLAMMING

  3. #3
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,300

    Default

    have her call your manager.
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  4. #4
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    MBTI
    XNFP
    Enneagram
    5w4 sx/sp
    Posts
    2,170

    Default

    Well, she should have checked the books before she walked out of the store, and/or come in with a list specifying exact editions (ideally.) As you said, it's not like she was sold some thing unusable. How much does another book cost? And wouldn't it be kinda advantageous to have slightly different excersizes to pratise? (you could try framing it like that, next time she calls.)
    Otherwise what Mmhm said, that way, what ever results, your boss takes the hits, and devises the solution. I like the letter idea too.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INFP
    Enneagram
    937 so/sx
    Posts
    6,226

    Default

    You have a no-returns policy, and I agree it's important to adhere to it in principle. Too many people buy music, reproduce it and try to take it back.

    What would be beneficial here is what I call the "alternative reflection" technique. Basically, you defuse the emotional frustration by validating the emotions and providing a peace-offering as a salve to the wound.

    (Trust me, someone who is complaining about $1.50 has more issues going on than getting the right music book.)

    Here is what you say. "Ma'am, I appreciate your frustration. If I was in your shoes and thought my son had received the wrong book, I would feel angry about that too. Now, since both books are perfect for his examination preparation, and I can't take the 2009 back, I can provide you with either a 25% discount on the 2011 book, or we would be happy to refund you the $1.50 difference between the two. Which would work better for you?" Use whatever either / or choice works best according to your store's policies. And, you have to address the emotions or they won't be buffered, you have to seem to care about her genuinely, with your tone, body language and facial expression.

    Just imagine it was you, upset about something legitimate, even not being totally rational. If you are received with calm, you can regain calm.

    Now, if you are delivering this on the phone, you have to infuse your voice with the appropriate amount of empathy. If you are in person, you have to let her anger flow past you and just emanate concern for her, not bristling at her demands, stay cool, stay sympathetic. It's a challenging thing, but good luck. Let us know how it goes.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  6. #6
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    6w5 sp/sx
    Posts
    3,939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post

    Here is what you say. "Ma'am, I appreciate your frustration. If I was in your shoes and thought my son had received the wrong book, I would feel angry about that too. Now, since both books are prefect for his examination preparation, and I can't take the 2009 back, I can provide you with either a 25% discount on the 2011 book, or we would be happy to refund you the $1.50 difference between the two. Which would work better for you?" Use whatever either / or choice works best according to your store's policies. And, you have to address the emotions or they won't be buffered, you have to seem to care about her genuinely, with your tone, body language and facial expression.

    Just imagine it was you, upset about something legitimate, even not being totally rational. If you are received with calm, you can regain calm.

    Now, if you are delivering this on the phone, you have to infuse your voice with the appropriate amount of empathy. If you are in person, you have to let her anger flow past you and just emanate concern for her, not bristling at her demands, stay cool, stay sympathetic. It's a challenging thing, but good luck. Let us know how it goes.
    Yeah, these are great points, and I can affirm that on the basis of having worked in customer relations and having to deal with complaints ALL THE TIME for a couple of years.

    Sometimes I just wanted to say "I don't care about your stinking problems. Go away." But the vast majority of the time (it seems, from the feedback I got) I was able to either care enough by trying to put myself in their place, or sometimes - ahem - fake it a bit (like if I was having a bad day myself) and just be professional and do my job. I'd let them rant about what the airline had done, or about their lost baggage, then say calmly "I'm sorry you had that experience. Let me see what I can do to help" or (if required) "I'm sorry you had that experience. I'm going to need to ask you to put it in writing." Etc.

    SO MANY people told me how helpful and kind I had been. And honestly, there had been many times when I didn't feel that helpful. But so many people in customer service/relations are totally unhelpful, don't even pretend to care, cut the person off, etc. Just because I didn't do those things, they thought I was being great. I'd even get people saying things like "thank you for being so calm, you've helped me feel better."

    But yeah, I think this woman has issues too.
    Female
    INFJ
    Enneagram 6w5 sp/sx


    I DOORSLAMMING

  7. #7
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    MBTI
    INTJ
    Enneagram
    5w6 sp/sx
    Posts
    17,517

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    And, you have to address the emotions or they won't be buffered, you have to seem to care about her genuinely, with your tone, body language and facial expression.
    Feel free to tell me to butt out of a NF thread, but this is a perspective that has always confused me and I would like to understand better.

    First of all, is SEEMING to care about the customer an adequate substitute for actually caring for her? It sounds artificial to me, and is the kind of response that makes me distrust all apparently caring responses, especially from people like store employees with whom I have no established relationship.

    Second, addressing the emotions, whether with real or imitation caring, will not give the customer what she says she wants, namely to exchange the book. Is this some type of bait and switch tactic designed to distract her from her stated goal, or a ploy to get her to change what she wants? Pointing out the equivalence of the books and the small cost difference would seem the best way to do this.

    (As for a "policy", to me that is a euphemism for "somewhat arbitrary one-size-fits-all blanket decision that circumvents one's ability to make reasoned judgments", but that's for another discussion.)
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #8
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INFP
    Enneagram
    937 so/sx
    Posts
    6,226

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Feel free to tell me to butt out of a NF thread, but this is a perspective that has always confused me and I would like to understand better.
    Sure, you're welcome to join in, I think

    First of all, is SEEMING to care about the customer an adequate substitute for actually caring for her? It sounds artificial to me, and is the kind of response that makes me distrust all apparently caring responses, especially from people like store employees with whom I have no established relationship.
    Yes, seeming to care can be an adequate substitute. Even the most genuine, caring sales people have difficult days, where really giving a hoot about the customer's problems is a challenge.

    I used the term "seem" above as a proviso, that in the absence of true caring one can do a seemly job of emulating it, especially when under pressure. There are times in customer service, when one is faced with an angry hot-headed near-abusive customer, and in those moments, caring about that person can be very hard indeed. But, one can still effectively manage such people, and help them come back to equilibrium. Most people are far more likeable when they are not yelling at you. Most people only need to know you give half-a-crap about their issue in the first place. It does help to have a genuine feeling for helping people, because it comes through as a true sincerity.

    Second, addressing the emotions, whether with real or imitation caring, will not give the customer what she says she wants, namely to exchange the book. Is this some type of bait and switch tactic designed to distract her from her stated goal, or a ploy to get her to change what she wants? Pointing out the equivalence of the books and the small cost difference would seem the best way to do this.
    It sounds as though this person has gone beyond logic, so pointing it out yet again won't solve her problem either. But, in this scenario, she gets to have a measure of control over the situation, and that will likely satisfy her, even if she doesn't get full control.

    (As for a "policy", to me that is a euphemism for "somewhat arbitrary one-size-fits-all blanket decision that circumvents one's ability to make reasoned judgments", but that's for another discussion.)
    While I do agree about blanket policies, and I believe the wrong answer is to just tell the customer "Sorry, that's our policy, too bad so sad!" I do respect why in some circumstances policies must be in place to prevent abuse and fraud. Years ago, I used to work in a jewellery store, and the week before New Year's Eve, ladies would come in and buy the expensive costume and rhinestones, for their New Year's parties. And more than half of the stuff would come back after New Year's. It's not a rental people, it's a purchase. And grossly, we would have to take them back, even though we all knew they'd been used. Additionally, we worked on partial commission, so whoever had to waste their time helping those customers in the first place would get their commission backed out in their next pay. Not to mention the time wasted by the person having to do the refund and return the used articles to the manufacturer. There was a process for sanitizing them too, as a precaution if we restocked them back on the floor.

    Dress stores face the same abuse, regularly. So do many consumables needed for short-term purposes, like the music exam books.

    My approach above is one if you adhere to the policy. For very difficult people, you would have to consider the pros and cons of bending the policy in order to ultimately, have a happy customer.
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  9. #9
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    MBTI
    enfp
    Enneagram
    8
    Posts
    13,877

    Default

    Call me an NF, but I think you should have helped the woman no matter what. People were crazy at my frozen yogurt shop, and we just had to grin and bear their dismal personalities. It makes you wonder how such miserable people can go to such a happy place aside just to spread misery.

    If it were me:
    1. Apologize for the inconvenience.
    2. Refer her to my manager since we do have a no-return policy, yet it WAS the store's mistake for not clarifying which book she wanted. If I were the sales associate, and there were two versions, I'd have bothered to ask. So, to me, the fault does lie with the store this time around. At my college's book store they always specify which versions are older, and which have newer models. It helps a lot.
    3. I'd politely ask the woman to calm down and that I can do nothing, that the manager has the final say in things so s/he should be the person for future contact.

    Though.. if I were the manager, I'd probably have exchanged the books and given the refund. I'm not sure why this woman needs 1.50 that badly, but whatever it is I'd rather just fix it on our end and then be able to tell her off later.
    Kantgirl: Just say "I'm feminine and I'll punch anyone who says otherwise!"
    Halla74: Think your way through the world. Feel your way through life.

    Cimarron: maybe Prpl will be your girl-bud
    prplchknz: i don't like it

    In Search Of... ... Kiwi Sketch Art ... Dream Journal ... Kyuuei's Cook book ... Kyu's Tiny House Blog ... Minimalist Challenge ... Kyu's Savings Challenge

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    MBTI
    ISFP
    Enneagram
    2 so/sx
    Posts
    455

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    First of all, is SEEMING to care about the customer an adequate substitute for actually caring for her? It sounds artificial to me, and is the kind of response that makes me distrust all apparently caring responses, especially from people like store employees with whom I have no established relationship.

    Second, addressing the emotions, whether with real or imitation caring, will not give the customer what she says she wants, namely to exchange the book. Is this some type of bait and switch tactic designed to distract her from her stated goal, or a ploy to get her to change what she wants?
    1. It seems perfectly logical to me. I don't understand what your concern is?

    2. What she says she wants might not be what she wants and yet a completely different thing might be needed to get rid of her. Which is the end goal here as stated by OP. Again I don't understand your concern.

    It appears you are deviating from the "How?" and going into "Is it wrong?". Is this correct?




    Quote Originally Posted by mmhmm View Post
    have her call your manager.
    Absolutely agree.

    It's the manager's job, not the OP's. If she could deal effectively with such situations and was expected to make the extra effort, then she should be a manager. Employees are not paid to think but to do what they are told and in this case there is a clear policy.

Similar Threads

  1. [NF] guys please Help me with this.!
    By chado in forum Myers-Briggs and Jungian Cognitive Functions
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-25-2016, 07:14 AM
  2. I'll give this a second try...Please help with my type
    By EndlessNameless in forum What's my Type?
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 03-13-2013, 06:44 PM
  3. Hi all =] I need help with this typing thing..
    By ArpeggiatingCantata in forum What's my Type?
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: 02-09-2011, 05:49 PM
  4. Replies: 19
    Last Post: 11-01-2009, 11:35 PM
  5. Can somebody please help me with this math problem?
    By disregard in forum The Bonfire
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 02-10-2008, 04:54 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO