Preclude, Don’t Apologize

Corporate offices are sometimes too far removed from the sales counter. I don’t know who trained the cashiers and attendants at a place of business I visited the other day, but they needed to do a better job of customer service.

When I entered, there was a couple at the checkout register. I lined up behind them, just waiting my turn. The cashier looked up and asked if I needed help. I responded with the name of item I was seeking and asked where I could find it.

The cashier told me where it was, down an aisle to my left within full view of the cash register, and that it was in a locked case. Someone would be with me shortly to unlock it.

So I went to the location and stood waiting. After about five minutes, a second cashier walked to the cash register counter and spoke with the first cashier. While they were talking, the second cashier looked up, saw me standing there waiting, and continued to converse with cashier number one. Then the second cashier moved off in a totally different direction.

And I waited.

Then another couple walked past me toward the cash registers. Cashier number one was still working with the couple who had been there when I arrived. Cashier number two saw the second couple coming and walked back to the cash register station.

And I waited.

That transaction seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time. And the original couple still had cashier number one working with them. Twenty minutes for a checkout seems fairly long to me.

Finally a customer walked by and spoke pleasantly, asking how I was. I could contain myself no longer and told her I was not happy about being left to stand when I was told someone would be with me very soon. By that time I had been standing about twenty minutes.

Couple number two was still at the cash register when they evidently asked cashier number two about something more. Cashier number two left them at the counter and went searching for the item, eventually making a complete circle of the shop and coming within earshot of me.

At that point I spoke to that cashier and asked for help. The response was that I would be served as soon as the other couple was taken care of. And that took almost another ten minutes

Sure enough, cashier number two retrieved the keys and came back to assist me. But I had waited nearly half an hour for a transaction that should have taken no more than five or ten minutes.

Actually, the time from retrieval of the keys to my exiting the shop was about five minutes. I exited with both cashiers apologizing for my having to wait. Which was polite, but ineffectual.

  • When the second cashier approached the cash registers the first time, cashier number one should have mentioned that I was waiting.
  • When the second cashier saw someone waiting in front of a locked cabinet, he/she should have questioned if I needed something.

The moral of this story is that when you are in customer service, you need to preclude the problem whenever possible. Apologies just don’t cut it.

At DuMond Printing, we strive to preclude the problems. We want to make certain that your visit here is pleasant and timely. We hope to serve your printing needs effectively and efficiently.

Remember, at DuMond Printing, business is personal.

214 West Commercial
Lyons, KS 67554


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