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To think that a customer physically waiting in a shop

(50 Posts)
HappenstanceMarmite Mon 08-Dec-14 15:49:50

...should take priority over a customer calling on the phone?

Always amazes me when a customer who has made the effort to actually trudge to the store is overlooked whilst the assistant answers a ringing phone. Sometimes with a "just wait there" finger gesture, which does not engender either patience or tolerance from the standing-in-line customer.

Happened to me today. During a conversation with the manager about ordering a photograph caricature thing (quite expensive as it turned out), an assistant yelled across the store that "you have a call from a customer whose wedding photos came out wrong". So off he trots - with the "just give me two minutes" finger gesture - leaving me to await his return to take my order. I didn't give it to him.

But just as bad - and the point of this thread - is the situation of waiting in line at a till and being superseded by a phone on the desk.

What say you all? Who should take priority? AIBU in thinking the customer in the shop deserves priority over phone customer?

SoonToBeMrsB Mon 08-Dec-14 15:53:20

I would expect to be served before they answered a phone. I work in a customer facing office and if someone is at my desk, my phone will be left to ring out or someone else will pick up the call on their own phone.

InfinitySeven Mon 08-Dec-14 15:53:47

Yes. The phone will record, and there will be set targets. No one is recording you standing there, so unless you complain, there's no target to miss.

You're also physically in the store, so they are much less likely to lose a sale by ignoring you rather then the phone customer.

Sucks, but that's the business thought behind it.

WetAugust Mon 08-Dec-14 15:53:50

YANBU it drives me nuts, as does filling shelves while customers are waiting to be served

DoJo Mon 08-Dec-14 15:55:05

In theory, yes, a customer in the shop should be a priority, but realistically, a customer who can't get through on the phone may not call again, whereas a customer in the shop is unlikely to go elsewhere having schlepped all the way to a physical store. You are probably in the minority of those who wouldn't give their business to a store that did this, just because upholding their principles at the cost of huge inconvenience isn't usually worth it.

In your initial example though, I am torn, as the customer on the phone is already a customer, having ordered wedding photos from this business, whereas you are just a potential customer, so I can't help thinking that sacrificing new business to ensure that you are providing good customer service to an existing one is somehow admirable.

Ladyface Mon 08-Dec-14 15:57:55

Yanbu. The assistant should have explained to the phone customer that he was serving someone, taken their details and called them back.

needaholidaynow Mon 08-Dec-14 15:58:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Crinkle77 Mon 08-Dec-14 15:59:04

The assistant should have got the contact details of the caller and told them the manager would call them back.

googoodolly Mon 08-Dec-14 16:01:10

YANBU, but I work retail and we get in trouble if the phones aren't answered. They see it as a missed sale, because in all likelihood, if you've tried to ring shop A and failed, you'll give up and go on to shop B, but if you're in the store, it's very unlikely that you'll leave and and drive across town to another store just to prove a point.

To the person who mentioned stacking shelves - the shelves have to be stacked regardless of waiting customers. Stock will only sell if it's on the shopfloor, and when departments are understaffed and you have two people working delivery, serving and answering phones, and a manager complaining the shelves are empty, sometimes customers do get overlooked. Unfortunate, but generally it's a staffing problem, not an ignoring customers problem.

MrsItsNoworNotatAll Mon 08-Dec-14 16:02:59

I agree with you. The assistant Should've taken the callers number so the manager could've dealt with them later.

HappenstanceMarmite Mon 08-Dec-14 16:10:07

Hmmm. I hadn't thought of the lost business phone customer vs chance of shop customer flouncing off. I suppose it is a sign of the times ...targets ever tougher with more pressure on staff. (I speak as a sales rep, albeit field based).

But I can't help but hanker back to a more customer focussed time. Think Grace Brothers and Captain Peacock grin

weeder Mon 08-Dec-14 16:13:31

I once phoned the shop I was so annoyed with them answering the phone while I waited in a queue - when they answered I asked them to serve the person with the phone in front of them.

Wassailywassailywassaily Mon 08-Dec-14 16:18:20

I think it is extremely rude to answer a ringing phone when talking to someone who is actually in front of you. Also rude to answer a text and look at emails.
I would have left the shop.

RoseTheHat Mon 08-Dec-14 16:27:22

We have to answer the phones - there are targets to meet and we get pulled up by managers if calls are unanswered. I do apologise to the customer in front of me, then answer phone and explain that the caller will have to wait while I deal with the customer in front of me - it gets a bit stressful this time of year !!
However, customers answer their phones whilst being served by me ALL THE TIME hmm

Cocolate Mon 08-Dec-14 16:31:27

I work in retail and would always always prioritise a customer standing in front of me. I have walked out of shops where the assistant has given priority to the phone

HappenstanceMarmite Mon 08-Dec-14 16:31:57

weeder that's brilliant!

I agree it is just as unacceptable for a customer to be on phobe/texting when being served.

weeder Mon 08-Dec-14 16:36:54

You're welcome!

Nomama Mon 08-Dec-14 16:38:00

Are you me? No, really! Are you?

Saturday, manager waltzes off to take the call, comes back and I look him in the eye, hold up 1 finger, pull my phone out and talk to it for a moment or two.

He starts to object, and said 'Exactly my point' and left the shop in high dudgeon.

Dh was so amused he almost forgot to leave with me smile

HappenstanceMarmite Mon 08-Dec-14 16:40:37

"High dudgeon" is going onto my list of "words and phrases that need resurrecting" fgrin

DoraGora Mon 08-Dec-14 16:45:03

The shop manager probably won't get the point, though. Because he'll think that his was a work call which needed answering and you were only playing with your phone.

Nomama Mon 08-Dec-14 16:46:45

But Dora, other customers smirked at him... I don't think I flounced in vain smile

26Point2Miles Mon 08-Dec-14 16:47:58

Us poor retail workers can't win can we?

We are TOLD to answer the phones. Within 3 rings at my place of work!!

DeWee Mon 08-Dec-14 16:51:11

If I'm in a store and the phone's ringing, I'll often say to them would they like to answer it before serving me. You see it's really difficult phoning and not knowing whether to hold on because they're serving, or whether they're all busy and won't get back to you, or they went bust three years ago. I'm there and can see I'll be served as soon as they've finished.

Most places pick up the phone and ask the person to hold the line a minute, but I don't mind if they deal with it.

YesIcan Mon 08-Dec-14 16:51:21

I was checking out of a hotel once where the receptionist who was preparing my bill, answered the phone TWICE, leaving me waiting. When the phone rang a third time, I said 'I'm leaving if you answer that phone and you can post me my bill'. Cue stunned face but she didn't answer the phone.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 08-Dec-14 16:51:35

I have to answer phone at work. If I am serving someone I say excuse me and answer it then ask person on phone to hold for a moment as I am serving someone.

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