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Rant: Customer Service

So I went to Best Buy to purchase my Christmas Present Early (because it can in turn create Christmas presents, so I can rationalize the purchase in my head). Talking to the young salesman it seemed pretty obvious he knew as much about PVR-like hard disk tv recorders as I did, maybe less (maybe a little more, I didn’t know). He also seemed a little too “aren’t I clever” for my liking, but I figured, what the heck, but then he made the classic customer service blunder.

Never try to be show how much smarter your are in comparison to your customer (even if you are positive you are). This young chap (no more than 22, most likely closer to 20), asks me whether I know what the three letter acronym (funny he didn’t say TLA), RAM stands for. I looked at him quizzically, and figured he was just joking, so I ignored him and asked about another feature of the system I was looking at, but he asked again, “Do you KNOW what RAM stands for?”, (RAM in this instance was actually DVD-RAM, which is a DVD format that never really took off, but RAM means as it did when I started working on computers say 28 years ago, Random Access Memory) with a real snarky tone. At that very moment I decided that this young chap was trying to “show me up” in front of my wife and daughter. So I replied my answer, and then lectured him for 5 minutes about why the entire concept of DVD-RAM never caught on. After the first 3 minutes I could tell he really didn’t care any more, but I figured that since he’d wasted my time, I’d return the favor and wouldn’t disengage from the conversation. Finally after proving to the young chaps satisfaction that I knew what RAM meant, he slunk away to “help” another couple.

If you are in the Customer Service world, or work on commission (which I think the folks at Best Buys in Canada don’t, but you never know), don’t ever try to prove how smart you are, or worse still how “clever” you are and how DUMB your customer is, you never really know who(m) you are talking to, now do you?

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