Have you ever pulled up to a gas pump at a convenience store, pushed all the necessary buttons, and found yourself waiting for up to 2 minutes for the pump to start? What about walking into a convenience store to find a cashier leaned up against the counter or talking on a cell phone? These are examples of horrendous customer service skills possessed by today’s typical convenience store employee. One might wonder how a convenience store manager can hire and continue to employ people with attitudes such as these. I wondered, too, until I was employed as a cashier and manager for the local convenience store.
Since the starting wage at most convenience stores barely exceeds minimum wage, many employees are those who are still in high school or just entering the work force. Several of these employees have never had any formal training in the art of customer service or learned how to behave while on the clock. What should you do when you find yourself in front of the cashier from hell?
The first place to file a complaint is with the manager. You might think that pointing out the error to the cashier personally is the better option, but it could potentially create more issues in the future. Not only could this potentially start an argument in front of other customers, but also the cashier will “mark” you as a “bad customer.” To avoid future issues with this cashier, simply finish your transaction and leave the store.
Make sure you note the date and time of the occurrence. If the cashier was wearing a nametag, that is helpful information as well. Once you are home, call the store and ask to speak with the manager. If the manager is not available, ask when you should call back. Politely decline to leave a message or contact information. This could make the cashier suspicious, leaving room for your message to “disappear” before reaching the manager’s desk.
When you reach the manager, calmly relate your experience as a customer in his or her store. Do not accuse or insult the cashier, but merely state what you saw or heard. This is where the date and time comes into play, as this information helps the manager identify which employee needs to be corrected. Above all, do not insult the manager or demean his or her management skills. Even with taped video surveillance, it is impossible to catch every improper action of the cashiers. I have personally sat and watched hours of video tape that almost put me to sleep. Not to mention, not all stores are equipped with audio surveillance, so the manager can be unaware of the cashier’s tone of voice or unfriendly words. Employees tend to act very different when supervisors are present.
If you are lucky, the manager may offer you coupons, free coffee, or a free fountain drink for your trouble. A smart manager wants to keep his or her customers happy, satisfied, and coming back to buy more. Just one less-than-desirable experience is enough to permanently lose a paying customer. Additionally, do not feel guilty about contacting the manager to report any inappropriate behavior you witness or experience. Odds are that the manager is completely unaware of the situation and will greatly appreciate your input.