I’ve something to say today about something that’s very near and dear to me. Well let’s not mince words here, I’m going to rant. I’m going to use very strong language. Language I never use on the site. But I’m so full of rage I can’t see straight, and I think to shave off the language would be to strip the column of its spirit. I’m madder than a mean bull in a – what are those bullfighting things called? In one of those things. This issue about which I want to write is Customer Freaking Service. And yes, those words should always be capitalized. I will attempt to outline the reasons why.
One: Because of the first word, Customer. If I’m a Customer, that means I’m either buying a service or a product from you. I’m not one who is automatically of the opinion that the Customer is always right, but I’m definitely one who believes that the service side of the counter should try to make the Customer happy.
Two: If anyone is spending money, and thus are a customer, they are keeping you in business. They are collectively the sole reason for your company’s survival, and – to a lesser extent – your survival. Businesses don’t survive without Customers, and thus you should take freaking care of them. That’s where the F part in CFS comes into play.
Three: Service is the most important part of any business, whether you are selling paint or popping backs. Everyone knows that if a customer isn’t happy, he won’t come back. And businesses don’t want one-time customers. They want life-long customers. The only way to maintain business relationships of this stature is to make sure you give them quality Service. Or, as the case may be, Quality Freaking Service.
Now. When you walk into a business that sells a product and a service, like kinko’s, you should by nature of its role expect a lot of both. So when I walked into kinko’s last night to pick up an order I’d placed, I was a little disappointed to find that A) they didn’t have my product, and B) they gave me Shitty Ass Service.
I placed an Internet order at 1900 hours. That’s seven P.M. to all you non-military types. I walked into the store at 2226 (10:26 P.M.) and stood at the counter. From my position, I could see five (5) employees standing about the printers, doing the things that people do in front of printers. And there were two (2) more down at the computer terminal area. There were no other Customers in the store – at least not that I could see – and certainly not at the printing counter. Yet I stood there for a full two minutes before anyone even acknowledged me.
Now, having just come from the brewery next door, I had to piss like – well I won’t say racehorse, but pretty bad. I’m standing there. And standing. You know, any one of those assholes could have looked up and said, “Hey, how you doing? Someone will be with you in a few minutes.” Cool. Hell, one of them could have said, “Hey, how’s it hanging? Someone will be with you around the seventeenth of November. Have a seat!” and I would have been fine with that. But don’t make me stand there and wait while you act like I don’t exist, you ASSHOLES.
When someone finally approached to help me, I told him my name and he starts his normal routine of looking under all the counters for my shit. I had a 300-page manuscript to pick up. (Yeah, my second book, guys – I’m really excited about it. As soon as I se- wait, let me get back to my story…) A 300-page document, single-sided, all black ink shouldn’t take more than ten or fifteen minutes to print. And on those big ass kinko’s printers maybe half that.
“I don’t have it here for you. What time did you place the order?” I told him. He said, “Oh, yeah, okay, so we have an eleven o’clock deadline.” WHAT?! “So that means you don’t start until your deadline, asshole? That’s about twenty-five minutes away! You got five mother cobblers standing here doing nothing, not a single customer in the building besides me and three and a half hours of get-ready time, and that mother cobbler ain’t done yet? And to top all this off, not one of you cock suckers even greeted me when I came in?”
I was raging. I could have ripped off all their heads and played kick ball in the gulley out back. Now, I didn’t actually say all those words in quotes above. I gave them the general gist, but I wasn’t raising my voice (yet) and I didn’t curse at them. I sure felt that way though.
Now it’s not the fact that they didn’t have it done. I’m okay with the four-hour preparation window. A little disappointed, but hey – I was warned. I’ve just never had it take that long. I usually pop in an hour later and it’s ready for me. But their Shitty Ass Service pissed me clean the hell off.
So I told them to cancel the order. And the whole time we’re having this exchange, I’m having to yell across the whole print room. So I was raising my voice, but only to be heard. This asshole didn’t even have the courtesy to stand at the counter and talk to me. He was yelling across the room. I finally said, “Yeah, can I get someone to come over here and talk to me at the counter like a Customer, rather than having to shout across the damn store?” “Yeah just a minute.” At that point I lost it. “No, screw you and your damn minute. Cancel that order, and expect a phone call tomorrow, when I call your manager.
I will never shop at kinko’s again. Their Service sucked like an industrial-strength vacuum and they didn’t even produce my product. All hail the Angry Customer.
I called the corporate office this morning shortly after writing, and told them the whole story, about how the idiot sat in a chair yelling across the room at me, then rolled into his boss’s office where I couldn’t see him. I told him every gruesome detail. He assured me the store manager would be contacting me by phone. As of writing this update at 1420, I’ve still not received a call.
I did, however, get the order canceled, money won’t be charged, and he promised me he’d try to make it right. So I sent my document to CopyMax, because there’s an Office Max across the street from the Warehouse Enterprises Corporate Office Plaza. The woman says on the phone, “Okay, sir, your order will be ready in about an hour.” Excellent! I’m giggling like a giddy teenager at this point, happy to be treated with such respect.
So I walk across the skreet to the CopyMax and pull into the counter at nine seconds ’til two. “Yeah, order for Bartholomew Brandon Spacey please.” She goes and looks. And… And… Ah, shit not again. what the hell is it with these printing places? I was – once again – the only customer at the counter, and all the printers were silent in rest. So why the hell isn’t my document ready? Why the hell can’t I get a good hard copy? Whose dick do I have to suck to get a manuscript printed?
She opens Outlook on their terminal and says, “Well we still haven’t received it. Did you email it?” No. I uploaded it via your website. “Oh. Well I thought you said you was gonna email it to me so I’ve been waiting on that. I was gonna call you but I figured since you hadn’t emailed it I didn’t need to.”
So check this out: the other woman checks the FTP queue for their store, and while it’s loading, the first incompetent woman says – and I quote – “Yeah well we been checkin’ this FTP queue for the last two hours, ain’t nothing been there.” (I had told them I had uploaded it about two hours previous. She’s been checking the queue constantly for the last two hours. Hmm. “Well I can email it to you if…” and the page refreshes, and OMG WHAT DO YOU KNOW? THERE’S MSS_RESURRECTING_MARS.doc in the queue.
And what I find so funny about this is that the first semi-competent woman says in complete contradiction to the first one’s comment, “Hmm. It arrived at 1240.” Yeah. Shocker. Someone forgot to monitor the queue. So not only are you incompetent, first woman, but you’re also a damned liar!
Well she downloaded it and ran it through and I watched as that huge printer spit out about a hundred pages a minute. It was hauling ass. So my document got done, I got it boxed, I got my apology from the first woman for its taking so long and now here I sit with manuscript in hand, ready to send to my agent. Holy shit, the sun might come up tomorrow. Hallelujah I got it printed!