Two tales of customer service
Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
I read with interest the “Customer service” story on the front page of last week’s Sentinel. As I have lived and shopped in the Goldendale area for 24 years now and have visited nearly every business in Goldendale at one time or another, I’ve come to know a bit about the state of customer service here.
Two of Goldendale’s stores represent, for me, extremes of customer service. One of them, which I won’t name, has a prominent sign on its windows proclaiming “The Friendliest Store in Town.” The other one, which I’ll name shortly, proclaims “Free Donuts/You Bring ’Em!” on its window.
I’ve shopped at the “Friendliest Store.” For many years I made an effort (now abandoned) to learn everyone’s first name, and then call them by name when I saw them. Some workers, including the owner, I’ve called by their first name from 1988 to the present. Despite this, only one person, no longer employed there, has ever made an attempt to learn my name, despite my being in their store at least once a week.
Contrast this experience with “Free Donuts.” I’ve been shopping there for 24 years and likewise attempted to greet the workers by their first names. For some years now, they’ve all known my name and greeted me with a “Hi Grady” when I came in. No problem is too difficult for them to tackle, and they’ll make every effort to help me. I have personal experience of their customers dropping off donuts, thereby providing free donuts for the store’s staff and customers. This store, to me, epitomizes great customer service.
By now you may be able to recognize CarQuest as my favorite store in Goldendale.
My wife and I shop frequently in The Dalles, not always out of choice, but frequently out of necessity. I never leave town for auto parts or order them online unless CarQuest doesn’t have them and can’t get them, although they have frequently called their own competitor in town for help. For the things that the Friendliest Store offers, it’s another story entirely. Great customer service at the Friendliest Store, and its competitor, would overcome several reasons for shopping out of town.
I suggest the owners and managers take a class in customer service from the gang at CarQuest and implement their suggestions. This would cost next to nothing and bring long-term dividends, including more of my own expenditures. And take down that pretentious sign. I, for one, will be watching.