Sunday, 13 June 2010

Poor Business Practice - Whatever Happened To Customer Service?

I have had some very poor customer service from my local New Look store. We bought a pair of jeans for my daughter's birthday. They didn't fit her, so we brought them back to exchange them on a Monday. We arrived 10 minutes BEFORE 8:00pm (when the store was closing), and even though there was still 10 minutes left, the doors were locked and the girl at the door said it was too late. This annoyed me, but I hoped it was a one-off bad experience.

My husband and I walked down there (2 1/2 miles) on the following Sunday morning. We went to Asda first because the store sign on New Look said it did not open until 10:00am. When it was 10:10am, I walked out to the store only to find a group of about 5 women standing outside complaining because the doors still hadn't opened. One of the women knocked on the door and gestured to the sales girls inside.

Slowly, a sales girl walked over and opened the door. Another lady asked, "Aren't you supposed to open at 10:00?" and she gestured towards the sign on the door that stated New Look opened at 10:00am.

In a VERY snide voice, the girl said, "LEGALLY, we aren't required to open until 10:30!"

Now all of the women who had been waiting started complaining amongst themselves and commenting, reasonably, that the sign posted should state that they didn't open until 10:30am if they had no intention of opening until then!

I walked up to the counter to return or exchange the jeans and was told, "Oh, we can't do returns until 10:30!" ??? But they were already open for business!

Not wanting to wait around, I left. I shall walk back again tomorrow afternoon, get a refund and never shop there again. This store's employees act like they don't want customers! If a store acts as though my business is not needed or worse, in the case of this particular New Look, like customers are a nuisance, then they do not deserve my business and I will shop elsewhere.

Now add to this my poor experience with shopping on-line with Asda. Yesterday, Robert and I were very happy to see that a coupon for £75 off our very large order had been applied. Great! We even discussed shopping on-line more often with Asda in the hopes of future offers like this.

Fast forward to today, when, about an hour before our order was due to arrive, we got a phone call from Asda. The £75 coupon had been an error and they would not be applying it to our account afterall. Being that we had been overdue for a shopping trip and needed our groceries for our meals today, I told them to go ahead with the order, but I was seriously annoyed.

The error was on Asda's part, yet they did not offer any compensation. I understand that they did not mean to give us £75 off from our order, but what were they going to do to instill some good will on my part as the customer that their error had just greatly inconvenienced? Even a small compensation such as 10% off that order and free shipping would have gone miles to appease my annoyance. Nothing was offered. They have several competitors in the area for my custom. I am a customer with a large family and I regularly spend £200 to £300 a week at their store. This was a bad move on their part.

What ever happened to customer service? This is a bad economy, so it is reasonable to expect that companies will be going out of their way to make sure that their services are such that customers will want to return. Companies like New Look and Asda Walmart have several competitors for their business, and acts like the previously mentioned will just drive customers like me to their competitors.

UPDATE: ASDA has contacted me and offered some compensation for their error, and I am satisfied with the solution. Maybe customer service isn't dead everywhere yet.

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