OVER THE WEEKEND, I bought a snack, a kind I haven’t had before. I was drawn by the colourful packaging only to be disappointed by the contents. It was too salty and didn’t smell good.
I was about to throw it away when I saw a line detailing the producer’s customer care contact. 10 minutes later, I’d sent them an email about my dissatisfaction. My expectations weren’t high. Considering the generic poor service, the most I expected was a reply perhaps a month later.
To my surprise, I received an email just 20 minutes later. The lady was very nice and must have apologised a thousand times.
She informed me that she had forwarded my complaint to the production team and I thought she was just pulling a PR stunt but minutes later, I got another email confirming she had indeed forwarded my complaint. I was impressed.
She also took the time to tell me about other flavours I should try and guess what, I will try them next time I go shopping. I also have a good feeling they’ll work on the bad flavour.
That incident got me checking the packaging of other products I use and I noticed that while many include a telephone number or physical address, few actually list a customer care line for consumer inquiries or complaints for that matter.
Some don’t even have any contact information at all and I think they should.
Speaking of crappy service, there are two supermarkets in my bad books right now. Walked into one on a hot afternoon recently and asked for a “Fanta” only to be told that I couldn’t drink it inside the supermarket.
“Oh, where I’m I supposed to have it then?” I asked the clerk waiting on me. I thought he was crazy when he pointed to the street and just to make sure, I asked again, “You want me to stand outside while I take the soda?” “Yes Madam,” he replied, smiling like he was delivering good news to me. Lucky for him, that bottle hadn’t been opened because I stormed out of there like a charged bull.
Just a few meters away was another supermarket and this one had a vacant plastic chair right next to the refrigerator. How thoughtful, I thought. Halfway through my drink, a clerk walks up and stops right in front of me. I thought he wanted to get something from the fridge for another customer and so tried to move most of my body out of his way. Instead, he pointed to the chair.
I asked if he wanted to sit with no intention of leaving until my thirst was quenched. The guy continued glaring at me and I decided I’d teach him to be more respectful. I took my sweet time finishing that soda and even made a few calls, knowing there was absolutely nothing he could do. Heading to the counter to pay for the drink, I realised that the clerk wasn’t the only one who needed to be straightened out. I could have walked right out without paying because the cashier’s eyes were glued to some South African Soap on TV. When she finally turned to me, she snatched the note from my hand and didn’t look up as she handed me the change. In the process, two of the coins fell and I waited to see if she’d pick them up. When I realised she wasn’t about to do that, I picked them up myself, resisting the urge to grab the remote and turn the damn TV off. What happened to treating the customer like a king?
To be continued…