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February 23, 2012 / Amy Bradney-George

Adventures in Yes-ing: Customer Service

I used to work in retail. My first job was as a checkout chick at the local supermarket, where I worked for four or so years. I learnt a lot about the retail industry and I loved the social aspect of working there. Chatting to customers, forming friendships with the staff, getting to know my hometown from the other side of a counter…it was a lot of fun.

When I was at uni I got back into customer service, first as a theatre usher then as a sales assistant for two different shops. What all of these jobs unconsciously taught me was to appreciate customer service. I’m pretty friendly to the checkout chicks and dudes these days, but often find shop staff less than enthusiastic about customers. Or worse – falsely nice. Just one saccarin-sweet “can I help you?” is enough to make me turn on my heel, let alone the sales assistants that just sit and glare as you browse.

The funny thing is that when I started my Yes project I noticed a lot more positive customer service. Earlier in February, when I was on the hunt for a 2012 diary (I like to do things late sometimes), one sales assistant at my dream stationery store told me they were all out but suggested I try Kikki K. After years of the worst customer service ever from several of their Queensland stores, I was reluctant, but decided I should commit to saying yes to the suggestion.

Not only did I find a cute diary, but had such a nice chat to the sales assistant that I even let her talk me into buying a matching pen (I’m constantly losing pens anyway). And you know what? It made me feel good about shopping, instead of angry or frustrated or tired from walking around the shopping centre for at least an hour.

If that first sales assistant had, like so many others, just said “no we don’t have any 2012 diaries, it’s FEBRUARY” I would probably be trawling the internet right now trying to find one that’s half decent and grumbling about customer service.

Instead, I have what I wanted and have also ended up talking to other sales assistants about everything from air conditioning to holidaying in Japan and new digital fashion trends. I don’t know if it’s because mystery shoppers are around right now or because of my Yes-ing, but you won’t hear me complaining about customer service if the trend continues.

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