I was at the ATT store in the Genoa Square strip mall in Genoa Township to get a new charger for my beloved iPhone. I lost the original charger, and my iPhone was barely running on the fumes it sucked in from a few minutes plugged into the car charger.
I found what I needed all by myself and I was ready to put the $29.99 on my credit card. The two salesguys were busy with two customers, so I waited.
I am sure I looked impatient, because I was. I wanted to pay quickly and leave. One of the salesguys smiled and said someone would be right with me, so I waited some more.
Then, the waiting started to feel kind of silly. From the looks of things, I could be waiting 15 minutes. Or a half-hour. It was hard to tell.
The two customers were in need of a lot more attention than me. That’s OK, because I’ve been in that position, too, trying to cipher service plans or choose the right phone. That’s when you need a salesguy’s guidance, but I never, ever expect someone to give me their undivided attention for as long as it takes me to make up my mind; if I did, sometimes I’d be tying up a salesperson for hours without ever making a decision.
And, seriously, I required only two minutes. I needed to run my card through the card reader and have a dude hand me a receipt.
It was like wanting to pay for a half-gallon of milk in the grocery store and being stuck behind someone with two shopping carts heaped high with food and not having someone open up an express line. It was a situation that would try the patience of Mother Theresa.
So, I decided to be my own advocate. I approached the second salesguy who was walking a customer around the back of the store as she considered different kinds of phones. I knew she’d be a while making up her mind, which made her interruptable, in my estimation.
“Excuse me,” I said to the salesguy and the woman. “I just want to pay for this. It will only take a minute. Could you ring me up?”
The woman didn’t seem fazed, but the salesman informed me that he served “all customers equally.”
“But I just require two minutes” I said. “If you were waiting on tables and you had a party of a hundred people and a table of two, you’d wait on the two first even if they came in last.”
The salesguy was not impressed with my logic, and he sure as heck wasn’t going to ring up my purchase.
“We’re open until 8,” he said. “You can always come back later if you’re too busy to wait now.”
I considered leaving the store, charger in hand, to see if the dude would take two minutes to call the police or chase after me.
Instead, I walked up to the counter and the first salesguy — the one who had optimistically told me someone would be with me right away — could tell I was angry. He looked at his customer. The customer said that he wasn’t in a hurry, to go ahead and ring me up.
So the first guy scanned my phone charger, I ran my card through the card reader, signed and walked out of the store. I’ll bet it took less than two minutes.
I thanked the first salesguy and suggested he share a lesson in good customer service with his co-worker. In my book, it doesn’t make sense to make a two-minute customer wait 20 minutes when you’re working a 30-minute-at-least sale.
Maybe these guys work on commission. Maybe giving me two minutes for a $30 deal wouldn’t compare to a larger sale, a deal a lot like the nearly $300 I spent when I bought my iPhone and accessories from that ATT store in the first place. (And from a most wonderful salesperson, I must add.)
It’s a good thing I adore my iPhone and that I’ve received good service from this store before. Had I not been treated well before, this sales-dude’s attitude would surely send me to another store for service, accessories or a new phone if there was another nearby.
Truly good customer service isn’t what happens when the stakes — or sales — are high. Good customer service is consistent and smart; it requires juggling customers and prioritizing tasks without angering good customers.