So just when I was feeling a bit confident – BAM! – confidence was shot with just 20 minutes working in our retail store here in Waitsfield.
Occasionally our store gets overwhelmed with people. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it but we can go from 2 customers to 18 in a matter of minutes. There is no way to plan for this and if it happens the store calls for reinforcements and people from finance, marketing or the warehouse come and help out until things are in order.
Over the past 2 weeks I sold 2 IMacs, 4-5 ipods plus accessories and a couple Lacie products during these times of need. I stumbled my way through many questions and managed to do all right. Three weeks in, relatively little experience in retail and a novice in the world of Macs – I was feeling good.
Then yesterday happened. Artie called up and asked for reinforcements and I strutted down to the store, found my first customer and said “May I help you?” A very nice gentleman proceeded to speak for 10 minutes about how his EMac was not working and gave all sorts of technical thoughts as to what was wrong and how to fix it. I tried to interrupt but to no avail – he was on a role. He went on and on and with each word my heart was sinking lower and lower. I just kept thinking how he was going to have to repeat every single word to one of our technicians and he was not going to be happy. Thank you to Mark who saw that my jaw was at my ankles and was listening from afar and came to my rescue. Mark works in Accounts Payable but will be moving to the store very soon and knew exactly what to do. He rescued me – created a smooth transition and I was able to duck out of there relatively unharmed. Thanks Mark!
BUT, there were still 3-4 people who needed assistance and I asked who was next. It was a kind woman from New Zealand and I had an instant connection as I just travelled there for 4 months. The small talk lasted a minute and she asked a question about recording audio into a Powerbook and if a certain Kingston Bluetooth headset would work with Skype. I did not know the answer to either question and had to interrupt Gary and Duane for help. They assisted and I was able to go back to the woman in one piece, although battered a bit with a feeling that I should know this stuff. Things then just fell apart . . . it was time to enter the order into our system. Long story short . . . I tried to charge her card twice, forgot to enter the Lead Source and could not figure out how print the receipt. 5 minutes later she was not impressed when I called in Gary to get me out of the mess I was in. He saved me and things worked out in the end but if it were not for a very patient customer things would have been ugly.
That was it for me for the day. I was not going to strike out. I went back to my desk and just hoped that I did not hurt the fantastic customer service reputation that the crew has downstairs.
I have a new respect for anyone who works in retail. You must be on your A game at all times in order to build the trust of your customer. You must know what you are talking about and be able to help people quickly and efficiently.
I have a lot to learn and the only way to do it is to jump right in again. Might be painful but if I can just spend time listening and watching Duane, Gary and Rob in action I should be able to help out a bit more next time.
For all those our there in retail – well done!