Friday, 13 May 2011

Hannah's sandals

This is perhaps not my most inspiring blog title.  Perhaps I could do better, but maybe there's a reason I'm not giving it 100%.  Maybe the subject has drained my imagination.


I bought Hannah some sandals on May 1st and yesterday, May 11th, they broke.  Hannah had to walk from the breakfast club (not at the school) to school wearing sandals that she couldn't do up because the buckle prong had fallen off.  Once at school she then had the foresight to change into her P.E. trainers and spent the rest of the school day wearing them.

Today Hannah was back wearing black shoes to school and this afternoon I traipsed into town with offending sandals.

There was an assistant at the checkout.  Initially she seemed preoccupied because she didn't acknowledge me.  I took the sandals and receipt out of the bag and placed them on the counter.

Eventually I was greeted with eye contact.  There wasn't an "Hello" or "Can I help you?" so I started the conversation with "Hi.  I bought these less than a fortnight ago and they've broken." and was met with a blunt "Well whaddya wanna do?"  I said I'd like a replacement pair as Hannah didn't have any sandals to wear to school.  She said nothing, peered at the receipt and went off to the stock room.

When she returned I discovered I'd have to order a replacement pair.  As she went through the re-ordering process there was a lot of mumbling and grumbling about how slow and unresponsive the system was.  This noise wasn't directed at me but at a colleague, but I couldn't help hear every whinging detail.

She paused to ask me for my address and looked closer at my receipt for some details before giving me the receipt for the order.

I asked for my receipt back and she said "Are you sure?  It's only got shoe cream left on it."  "Actually" I said "there's another pair of sandals on there."  "Oh, really.  I'm sorry, I didn't see that.  Oh well if you want to take that back I'll need your details on here" and she pushed a form under my nose that needed name and address details that I'd already provided for the order.  I pointed out that she already had my details and she said "Well you can always decline but...." and frankly I stopped listening, filled in my details, thanked her and left.

I'm not an expert in retail but the minimum I would expect in these circumstances, if I ran Clarks, would be:

  • Customers receive a friendly greeting at the beginning of a conversation.
  • If nobody is available to help someone looking for assistance then the customer should be told that someone will be available soon.
  • If goods are faulty then the first thing that should happen is that the customer should receive an apology. Then the customer should be offered a replacement or, if this is declined, a refund.
  • If an order is necessary to provide a replacement then a customer should only have to provide details once.
  • As the customer is leaving they should be thanked for taking the time to bring the item into the shop.

I forgive Clarks for the faulty footwear but I don't forgive sloppy, unwelcoming, unfriendly, lazy customer service.

Come on Clarks.  You can do better.

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