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Stewart's Blog

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Customer Service an Outdated Notion?

With the demise of the independent stores we’re also losing the customer service that we deserve. No longer are we treated as valuable customers without whom the store would not exist, but are now considered an inconvinience and made to do what’s more convenient for the store, not for us.
To use an example I went into the Redditch WHSmith during my lunchbreak. I wanted to visit a few stores so wanted to get around as quickly as possible. After making my selection I went to find a till to see that there was an extremely long queue waiting for the main tills near the shopping centre entrance, but that the till near the external entrance had no queue. Obviously I went to the quiet till, only to be told that the store manager had decided that that till should only be used for the purchase of “Entertainment” for which the card and magazine did not qualify. As the queue at the shopping centre entrance was getting bigger I abandoned my purchase and left the store.
I’m not one to try and jump the queue, but it seams to me that if one set of tills is unable to cope that using an alternative till, that still has to be kept open for DVD/CD sales will help everybody. It would reduce the load on the main tills helping everyone to complete their shopping and in many cases get back to work before the end of their lunchbreak. The alternative which WHSmith’s seams to prefer is to have one person keeping a till open but only serving the right type of customers.
It’s not so much having different queues, which in this case appears to be for the convenience of the staff rather than the customers, but the fact that you approach a payment till only to be then told that by trying to use that till you have broken one of the unwritten stores rules as though using your initiative is a crime that you should be ashamed of.
I then purchased a card from a different shop and the magazine from an independant newsagent within the town centre, where the staff were friendly and actually appreciated my custom rather than seeing me as an inconvenience.

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