A man was on his way down after visiting a client's office.
"Excuse me, sir. Do you understand Mandarin?" The receptionist at the concierge counter asked as she walked towards him with an elderly lady.
"Yes," the man replied.
"Could you help this lady as she doesn't understand English?" the lady said in an apologetic way.
The man turned to the elderly lady and she began explaining her situation while showing him a receipt.
Apparently, she was asked to make a food delivery and was lost. In fact, she came to the wrong place thinking that it's the right place.
She doesn't understand English. She didn't have a mobile phone with her. She was not even given proper information on where she has to deliver the food to.
The elderly lady told the man, "I didn't know. They just pointed to this building and told me it's here."
She must be referring to her supervisor or boss.
She then asked the man if he could help to call back to her restaurant so she can find out where is the correct place.
He dialed the number but there's no answer.
The elderly lady said the restaurant could be busy at this hour (lunch time).
The man then noticed that scribbled on the bottom of the receipt were the name of a building, a name and contact number.
He believed that is the correct delivery address and informed the lady.
He then contacted the man at the number on the receipt to confirm that the address is correct and is at the location he believed it to be.
He proceeded to give road direction to the elderly lady on how to get there as it's quite a distance away. Sensing that she is not confident of finding the place, he asked the receptionist for a paper and pen and drew a map for her, outlining two distinctive landmark along the way. He also advised her to get the security to contact the man once she reached.
Next, he sent a SMS to the man informing him that the elderly is on her way giving details of her age, attire and packages she's holding so the man can identify her easily.
Now, that's going the extra mile.
Something that can be abused by your customers.
A lady was tasked by her boss to organize an appreciation dinner for the company's business associates.
She had shortlisted two designs from two suppliers of plaque for an award to be given out during the event, the plaque and engraving costs and drafted the message to be engraved. She has also chosen a few venues and find out the costs of holding the event.
Today, she was out to look for invitation cards. She selected a few designs but bought none.
In fact, nothing much progressed apart from gathering all the information.
The engraving has to be submitted to the Marketing Communication Department for vetting, which will then be submitted to the CEO for vetting. The plaque chosen also needs to be approved by Marcom and the CEO. The costs must also be approved by both.
The venue, menu and costs must be approved by her manager, which then will be submitted to the CEO for approval.
The design of invitation card and the costs must also be sent to her manager for approval, which again will be submitted to the CEO for approval.
If the CEO finds the card is too simple or for any other reason, it will cascade down and she has to start all over again to source for other choices.
And everything needs to be approved by the CEO who has the final decision.
Any wonder why your staff is frustrated.
Is it distrust in staff ability to make wise decision? Does the CEO think that he is the only smartest person to make wise decision? Or the CEO feels insecure?
A man bought a hair dryer from a home appliances chain located in a shopping mall.
This shopping mall has a reward system where customers can clock in points for purchases made in participating shops.
He discarded the receipt by mistake and wrote to the customer service department to check if he still can clock in the points for his purchase. To proof that he has really bought the item from the mall, he attached screenshots of the price tag and warranty which has the address of the shop. He also indicated the date of purchase and payment mode he has used.
The reply from the staff was that they could not accept the request as there's no date to reflect the date of purchase.
Now, if anyone of you own a credit card, you know how difficult it is to clock points and redeem for gifts. You probably get 1 point for every dollar spent or $5 spent. And to redeem something, you probably need a few hundreds to thousand of points.
He was rather amused by the response.
While he understand that there are rules and regulations when it comes to such reward system, why do the mall makes it so difficult for customer to clock in points? No doubt it is his problem to lost the receipt. However, since he actually bothered to write in to them, why can't they give him the benefit of doubt and make it an exception for him? Furthermore, it's only $35 which translate to only 35 points.
Is the mall afraid that the system is being abused? In any case, they could just create a record and list down the customer reward card number for exception cases which they could check against in future for any signs of repeated request by a particular customer. To make it clear, the staff could have processed his request and inform him that this is the only exception and remind him to submit all future request with official receipt.
On the other hand, the staff could have contacted the shop owner to check if there's such a transaction instead of rejecting his request outright.
Anyway, the man contacted the shop through its Facebook account to request for a receipt, giving all the details and also the screenshots. The staff replied they are unable to do so and asked him to go down to the shop to get one.
Go down to the shop just to get the duplicate receipt? Why can't they just email or do it through Facebook?
The man realized that he has not stated clearly in his previous message and so asked if the staff could send through Facebook instead.
The staff insisted the man to go to the mall to get the duplicate receipt as it is more official to get the duplicate original receipt instead of Facebook. He further said he can only screenshot on Facebook so it is not official and proper too.
Now the man is puzzled.
What does the man mean by more official to get the duplicate original receipt? How does taking a screenshot of the receipt and send it through Facebook make it not official?
Frustrated, the man wrote back.
He asked if there's any difference in the receipt he will get if he goes to the shop and if the staff send through Facebook. If there's no difference, he just need the screenshot and not the physical copy for submission. He further reiterate that it shouldn't be a problem for the staff to retrieve the payment detail with the information he has provided.
In the end, the staff printed the receipt, either scanned or took a photo of it and emailed it to the man.
Now, the question is why didn't the staff think of making the whole matter easier for the man? Why he didn't ask the man what is the purpose for requesting the duplicate receipt? Is it for submission? Does he need a physical receipt? Can the staff send it by email to him so that he does not need to go down to the shop again?
Now contrast it to my experience at Ikea (click here for the blog post).
They highlight that they have notices everywhere to remind customers to remove their cashcard from IU unit before leaving. They emphasized that they do not do refund for parking charges.
However, they do recognize that even with all these measures in place, customers do forget.
Instead of asking me to provide my car number and IU unit number and proof that I indeed visited their store and made purchases of at least $15, they gave me the benefit of doubt.
And did I abuse this "loophole" since I know that they do not ask for proof?
No, not at all. In fact, I remember it so well that I always make it a point to remove the cashcard before leaving their store.