Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Just say sorry! And happy birthday!

This morning I sent two-thirds of my children off to camp for the rest of the week. Different schools, different camps, but exactly the same days. What are the chances? They were both excited to go and I’m looking forward to being responsible for only one little human for a few days. We went to Marble Slab tonight; we can afford it for just three of us, but not for all five. Don’t tell the others.

Things have been pretty hectic around here and will continue to be until we head out on a spring break jaunt to Florida. I fluctuate between feeling panicked and overwhelmed at all that needs to happen before then to feeling calm and in control. Most days the panic wins. And the days – like today – where I felt like I had a handle on things, all sorts of silliness happens. I lost my bank card yesterday, which is a common occurrence because I tuck it into my pocket and then it falls out when I pull out my phone. I have learned my lesson many times except I really haven’t at all. I waited until today to cancel it (in case I found it during the night?!) and get a new temporary card, which is inconvenient because at some stores it doesn’t work for the first 24 hours, depending on their debit machine. And then when I went to get the mail, some good Samaritan had found my bank card and put it in my mailbox.  Doh!

Then I go to the optometrist’s for an eye exam because my eyes have been doing crazy things recently and I automatically assume I am going blind because that’s my biggest fear ever. Thankfully, it turns out that my eyes are fine but one of my contact lenses is the wrong prescription. My prescription has stayed exactly the same for over five years, but now suddenly it was out by .5. The doctor and I were trying to figure out why, and since I had recently opened up a new box of contacts, we came to the conclusion that Superstore must have given me the wrong box by mistake. He said, “Go back and tell them. If we had done that here, we’d give you a free box.”

So I went home, dug through the filing until I found my old prescription. Guess who made the mistake? The optometrist. There was a 2 where there should have been a 7. It was from two years ago and since then I’ve gotten contacts and two pairs of (cheap) glasses with that prescription and I didn’t notice until now. Not sure what’s up with that, but my theory is that my near vision is starting to fade so I’d been testing my vision in each eye separately and knew something was off. 

Luckily the optometrist’s office is close by, so I zipped back. I asked to speak to him but the receptionist – who was very pleasant on my earlier visit – was mean and told me it wasn’t their mistake, without knowing anything about the situation. I eventually spoke with the doctor, who took a quick look at the prescription and said, “It’s my fault. I wrote a 2 instead of a 7. My mistake.” and handed it back. He looked at me like, okay, you’re right, I’m wrong, that’s it. As much as I appreciated that he admitted to it, I’m all about the “sorry.” There was none.  

So I said, “I just paid $95 for an eye exam I didn’t need and now I have to buy a new box of contacts. What can you do for me?” I didn’t even count the two pairs of glasses, the discomfort I’ve been having due to a wrong prescription, and the inconvenience of coming to see him twice in one morning.

He was instantly defensive and said, “It was time for an eye exam anyway.”
Maybe so, but not this close to our holiday when I have a million other things to do.

He said, “I guess I could give you a couple pairs of contacts.”
I guess. He stalks to the supply room, gives me a whole box of contact lenses and walks away.

If I was Prime Minister, I would institute mandatory customer service training. The issue is not that people make mistakes. We all do. Owning up to it is a great start. Why not take it one step further and say, “I’m so sorry. Here’s a free box of contacts to show how sorry I am for your wasted time/money/inconvenience.” I was satisfied with the free contacts, but he’s a really nice guy and we get along well, so I didn’t feel great about leaving on bad terms. If he hadn’t been sulky about it and actually apologized, it would have been 100% better. In fact, I would have left with a better impression of him than before the problem. Mistakes are an opportunity to create loyal customers. That’s going to be my slogan when I get into office. Vote for me. 

Enough with the negativity. It was another beautiful sunny day with lots of melting snow. Here’s a picture from March 10 of last year.

Here we are this year. I love it.

Oh, and please go make nice comments about Jim's beloved Caddy on the previous post. It's his birthday!


Daniel said...

Ooo, I'm glad your bank card came back - how about getting a phone case with a card holder? THAT would show that you learned your lesson!

Pretty crazy about the optometrist, and the sudden change in their attitude about owning up to mistakes!

Enjoy the less populated week - hope you get a lot done in that time. Or enjoy getting to watch your own choice of tv shows!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on customer service. I understand being a service provider is sucky some days. I understand it's hard to deal with every little complaint, especially those very little complaints that people turn into huge life altering events...but good service is just that, good service. It will win people over every time. Good service makes my day. When someone at Safeway bags my groceries just right like a beautiful tetris thing with the heavy things on the bottom and the breakable eggs on top, I always fill out a customer appreciation card and I tell them they did a great job.

And I always think restaurants and stores that own up and say, "I'm sorry. We'll give you your meal for free." (or something to that effect) will go way farther than snot nosed "ugh" and blame deflecting.

We had the screen go black for abut 5 minutes during a movie at SilverCity and Steve was all embarrassed to go and tell them and I said the worse that could happen is they'll be jerks and we'll never come see a movie again. But they were super great. "Oh we're so sorry. There was someone standing at the screen exit to give free movie vouchers to everyone, they must have missed you. Please take these and we hope your next movie experience is better. Our sincere apologies." Boom. SilverCity you just kept a customer and you only lost $30 worth of tickets in your multimillion dollar business.


Anonymous said...

D and I were just talking about customer service while at Cactus Club yesterday. Our server was horrible. And I HATE when they take your order or come by to chat to you while holding a tray loaded with filthy dishes. I always wonder how people like this did in their interview process that the manager thought "Yes! Hired!". Wait. Maybe I don't.

I am liking that lack of snow, Ellen!!! Wahoo!! I hope that keeps on melting!

xo Sio