Friday, March 11, 2011

Stories from the Front Lines of Retail: How NOT To Conduct Yourself On The Phone

I feel the need, periodically, to explain how not to do things.  Generally this applies to circumstances at work.  For instance, the phone.  It is shocking to me how little training people get on how to conduct a normal phone conversation.  Let me give you an example of how NOT to do this.

Phone Rings

Me: Thank you for calling the place where I work, this is Amanda.
Woman on the Phone (who I'll refer to as WotP): Yes, Amanda, what is your address?
Me: 1234 N Numerical Street in City where I work.
WotP: Oh, darn it.  My pen isn't working.  This is a brand new pen.
Me: Ah, I'm sorry.
WotP: I absolutely hate this.  A brand new pen!  And it's not even working.  Do you know how to get a pen to work?
Me:  Well, when I was in high school we always got them started by drawing on the heels of our tennis shoes. [True story - it actually works].
WotP:  Let me see if I can find a pair of tennis shoes.  I'm barefoot at the moment.  (Various sounds of woman rummaging around while I offer sympathetic smiles to my staff)  I can't find any.  Do you have any other suggestions?
Me: You could stick it to your tongue.  I've heard that's supposed to work.  I can't really recommend that...
WotP: I'm going to touch my tongues.  No, that didn't work.  I'm seriously ripping a hole in my paper trying to write so hard.  Anyway, I'm coming out tomorrow.  And I really hate to store my stuff in plastic.  How does, I mean, is there, I want to know, I mean, I guess I'm asking - how does your stuff come?
Me:  Well, we do bags and jars.  
WotP: And what's your pricing?  For, oh I don't know, your something-that's-completely-vague-and-can-apply-to-more-than-one-product for the medium quantity?
Me:  I have quite a few but (picking a random one) this one is $5.
WotP: Oh!  Is that the normal size?  Like if you go to Walmart or something and they have the rows and rows and rows of the product you sell?  And they have the screw top lids, well I guess they're flip top lids now?  You know, the jars that you buy full of the product you sell?
Me: Uh, well, I suppose...
WotP: That's a great price!  And what, uh, you know, I guess, um, makes your product so different?
Me:  We make it all fresh here.
WotP:  What do you do with all the leftover stuff?  I mean, honestly, your business can't be booming enough for it fly out the door.
Me: (resisting the urge to point out our steady 20%+ growth each quarter) Actually, it is.
WotP: Oh, well, God bless you then.  I'll be in tomorrow.

Please.  For all that is holy and good.  Don't do this on the phone.

1 comment:

  1. HOly shit. Sorry for the profanity on your holy blog post, but damn.

    I hope she came in and tipped you $50 for teaching her how to make a pen work.