Here are a few stories and experiences that I have had in customer service. Some of the names and responses have been made up due to memory gaps, or peoples rights having to be protected...mainly my own.
Setting: Car Dealership - Service Department Wednesday, 9:00am
Customer: Lexus owner
Scene: Walk in looking for service; and the service center is packed already with people who are there for their appointments.
Customer: Hi, I drive a Lexus, and I hear that you people will service it...
In my head: You people? The hell is that? You got something against the Welsh?
What I say: We sure do! (all smiles) How may I help you?
Customer: Yeah, I'm over my miles and I need an oil change today...can you do that for me right now? I need to be out of here by 9:30.
In my head: What are you blind? Look behind you...HOLY CRAP! There are a bunch of people here, and a board full of appointments; dipstick! Of course we can't do an oil change at the drop of a hat! Oooooh! I'm a Lexus owner, treat me like a king...take my car in right away! You have to, it's a Lexus and that makes me important...
What I say: Hmmm, let me check...(I'm gonna hit some keys so it appears that I am really looking) it looks like we're booked up for this morning. May I book an appointment for you so that we can guarantee your car will be done for you?
Customer: (Looking peeved and distressed...like the fate of some big business deal rests on this oil change being done today) I really need to have this done, and I've got a meeting at 9:45...is there
any way you can get it in now?
In my head: You're right! I'm just stupid! Of course we can get it in, I just needed you to push me!
What I say: (Looking really sorry) Unfortunately no. There are cars in each bay at the moment (they made appointments), and they won't be done for at least 20 minutes yet, and your service would take at least 40 minutes ( and besides, there are three people who are waiting and ahead of you).
Customer: Fine, when can you get me in?
In my head: As far away from today as I can without you knowing I'm just trying to piss you off, and at the most inconvenient time. I hope your stocks fail and your business closes. I have no time for people who hate us Welsh...
What I say: (Head tilt to the left and an understanding nod) As soon as possible. (Head tilt to the right, sounding like I just found a perfect time) How does next Wednesday sound? 11:00? It's our first available appointment.....
This is a common ocurance. People with money waltz in and expect you to bend over backwards for them. Almost forgot, you can substitute 'rich Lexus owner' with 'out of town tourist' and the whole situation still works.
Setting: Building Supply Center - Flooring Department 3:05pm
Customer: Lady Customer who's eyelids won't close so they stay open - ALL THE WAY
Scene: Co-Worker is trying to wait on customer, I'm trying to make him loose it.
Sometimes situations arise where you just have to take advantage of an opportunity at the expense of a customer. This one time, the unblinking lady with huge eyes came in to the department and Kyle was helping her. Before we get into this, I need you to do an exercise. Get up, and go to a mirror. Open your eyes as wide as you can, and ask yourself (in the mirror) 'what can you show me in a berber carpet?"
Looks pretty serious, eh? Best thing is, she always had her head tilted back, so every question she asked looked like she was asking a doctor how long she had to live.
Step One - Surveying the Situation:
To really take advantage of this situation, there's little you can say that will not tip the customer off that you're mocking their physical appearance. Neither can you mimic their condition in front of them without getting a kick to the groin, or possibly fired when your supervisor sees you aping a customer with a physical condition or handicap. This situation calls for stealth.
Step Two - Positioning:
This is the most important part. Moving naturally by putting away stock, of just cleaning up a bit you have to position yourself in a place where you are directly facing your co-worker so you are clearly in their line of sight, but not visible to the customers he is waiting on.
Step Three - The Set Up:
Most casually you have to gain eye contact with your co-worker, and give them a half smile. This signifies that you recognize that there is a potentially humorous situation at hand, and implies that you will both have a laugh about it later. It also gets the co-worker distracted, and thinking about the humorous situation in front of him. This in turn will require effort (not too much, though) by the co-worker not to smile as his brain has begun working on funny things to say later. Now the co-worker is aware of you, and will soon look your way again soon. I don't know why we do this, but we do.
Step Four - The Payoff:
Now that your co-worker is comfortable with the 'funny' and thinking you're both in on something that will make for a great story to tell. it's time to pull the rug from out under his feet and make your move. It's integral that you do not meet their eye contact the first time they look your way. When they do, they are looking for confirmation that something was funny, but you don't want to meet that. You want the next one. He's going to look back soon, not wanting you to miss the funny thing that's happening (this could be anything the customer does that sets him off). It seems we can't stand the thought of someone missing something funny...it puts people in an excited state. This is what you've been waiting for. When you feel them looking at you again, you have to move fast. Look up at the co-worker with eyes wide open, holding them open even further with your fingers.
Step Five - The Getaway:
Not many people would have Kyle's control. He was listening to the customer in the middle of her sentence when I made my move, and immediately dropped his head smiling; showing incredible self control for not losing his stuff. This is when you jet. You have to get around a corner or out of sight, because as the customer is asking their question they are intently watching the co-worker for his response/reaction. They will know that his eyes broke contact for a second, and they he stifled a laugh; after which they will turn around to see what was so funny. This leads to bonus gag of them wondering what the heck he's laughing at.
Bonus customer service story - Rising above the situation:
Setting: A small 5 star Inn - 3:51am. The night shift on the Front Desk.
Customer: A gentleman who is a guest in the establishment, who has been drinking.
Scene: I am training a new employee who has been doing all of the work, I am halfway through a shift where I have been fighting against falling asleep. I'm in the back room playing Scrabble online.
Customer: Um, Hello?
In my head: Bug off! Unless you can give me a word using the letters G-H-A-A-A-Z-X.....
What I say: (coming around the corner...subconsciously noting that something isn't right) Yes, how may I be of assistance? (It was a fancy place, we used the word ' assistance' instead of 'help')
Customer: I was looking for a bathroom and locked myself out of my room, can you give me another key?
In my head: Moron. How can you lock yourself out of your room? I mean...you've got a bathroom in your room how can you......(This is where I notice that the man's not wearing a shirt. Our doors are locked, so I know he's not coming off the street)
What I say: Sure, what's your last name, and what is the room number? (Playing it cool)
Customer - Mr. Smith, room 102 (right around the corner. Strangely, he is holding a pillow in front of him against the counter. I notice also that there is a pillow missing from the couch over there...wait a second....THIS GUY'S NAKED!!!)
In my head: THIS GUY'S NAKED, HOLY CRAP!!!! What the heck is going on here???
What I say: Excellent sir, here's your key (handing him his new key, with a polite "I'm-not going-to-show-that-this-is-a-weird-ass-situation" smile on my face to play it cool).
Now the guy is just staring at me like I'm bothering him. Took me about a second to realize that I should get back to Scrabble so I wouldn't see him walk back to his room. I wanted to burn the pillow. The whole time, the trainee was in the kitchen cooking, not knowing a thing about what had just happened.
The guy was still a little drunk, left his room thinking he was going into the bathroom, and the door closed an auto locked before he could catch it. He was stuck standing stark naked in the lobby of the Inn, and had to walk over to get a key. I can just imagine being on the street looking in through the window seeing this bare-assed guy standing at the front desk in the lobby. Priceless. The picture at the top is the actual lobby this happened in, and the front desk is visible on the left...
I've got a ton of these folks...I'll post em as I remember them.
This post is simply satire.