December 16, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 19 ������������������ Get better customer service during the holidays (ARA) You’ve made your holiday list and checked it twice, but what happens when the salesperson helping you is naughty, not nice? Crowded stores, long lines, low inventory, and cranky shoppers rushing to find that perfect holiday gift can often lead to a “perfect storm” of bad service. That’s why many retailers are ensuring that they have service quality systems in place to avoid the typical holiday mishaps between shoppers and service staff, according to ASQ (American Society for Quality,, which provides service quality training for many industries, including retail. “The top four causes of customer dissatisfaction are out of stock items, discontinued items, returns, and shipping charges,” according to John Goodman, ASQ customer service expert and vice chairman of TARP, the world’s premier customer experience agency. “These are issues that are easily resolvable if sales staff have the right tools and training.” Staff members should be trained to maintain eye contact with customers during every step of the sale, and must learn how to detect and respond to unspoken needs. Welltrained staff members treat each return like a sale because a properly handled return will often move the customer to buy something else. Employees should be trained to thank consumers for coming into the store, respect their opinions, understand their needs, solve challenges together, and support the ongoing consumer relationship. While many retailers will make an extra effort to ensure excellent customer service this holiday season, Goodman suggests that customers take these steps to help ensure a positive sales experience: Get to know the sales clerks at your favorite stores. This ensures that you will be in the loop regarding stores sales and events. A salesperson who knows you may also be more apt to help if a problem does arise. Research store policies before you buy. Being aware of policies regarding cash refunds or sale merchandise returns can help you avoid problems later. What happens when you run into a problem? Goodman offers these tips for successfully handling service complaints. Take three deep breaths. If you are calm, you are more apt to present your case clearly and logically. Tell the company representative you know the problem is not his or her fault. This reduces defensiveness and encourages dialogue. After outlining the facts, state exactly what you want the rep to do for you. Don’t ask for cash compensation for your time. Companies can almost never do that, but they can give you credit toward your bill. Never use profanity. Reps are authorized to hang up on you (or ask you to leave the store) if you do, and it is not fair to the rep who did not cause the problem. If you have been a long-term customer, point that out, but don’t exaggerate as employees can often access your purchase history. The simplest and most important thing you can do is to recognize good service when you receive it by remembering to say thank you and even letting the sales person’s supervisor know. ���������������������������������� �������������� ��������� ���������� ������������ �������������� ������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������� � ��������� The Wireless $10 Off $100 Purchase COME IN AND SEE THE NEW BLACKBERRIES See store for details. (AKA The Smart Phone Center) Store SHOP LOCAL FOR GREAT DEALS!! We Will Match Our Competitors! 201-560-1100 • 327A Franklin Ave • Wyckoff (Boulder Run Shopping Center) • BEST PRICE • BEST SERVICE • LOCAL STORE Exclusive Retailer ��������� ������������� �������� ���������� ���������� ��������������� ����������������� ����������������� A big snow storm can be both inconvenient and dangerous to your health. We have a machine in stock to suit your needs, from electric shovels to powerful 10.0 HP models. Talk to us...We’ll sell you the right size for the job, at the right price. WHY TAKE CHANCES? �� ��������������������� ��������� �������� ������ ���������� ������������� Model # PR8ES27 �������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������� 10 W. Prospect St., Waldwick • 201-652-8880 12-2-09 Ester from Janine Cookies, Cakes & Tarts Baked Fresh Daily.