It was past closing time on the first day on the floor for one of my new trainees in Sedona. I was reviewing the shutting down of registers as our final family of customers took their time about the store finding the perfect souvenir for each family member. When they made their way to the register the new hire seemed to be a bit flustered and in a bit of a hurry to make it through this final transaction so we could shut down for the night. The family talked amongst themselves about their purchases and their plans for the next day while my associate rung them up. I began talking to them about where they were staying and how they enjoyed their accommodations. I should have been paying attention to my new hire who instead of typing in a 5 and 0 instead typed in $500 into the credit card machine.
From the air put on by the customer I knew that the 500 dollars would not break her but all the same I also knew it would look incredibly suspicious on us when she got home and saw an exchange and return of 500 dollars in her ledger. I felt a cold chill run through me as I followed the overcharge protocol.
“I’m so sorry but we have accidentally overcharged you. We are taking care of it right now though, we are running it as a return immediately.”
Instead of responding to what I said the woman continued to talk with her children, so I spoke a little louder, “I’m sorry, excuse me…”
“That’s fine” she stated as she dismissively threw out her hand to grab the card.
We printed out the 500 dollar charge, and the 450 dollar charge return receipts and I presented them to her to explain them, but they were swiped from my grasp before I could speak and the family made off with their bounty. After closing the registers I dismissed the employee, and then proceeded to stay in the store to mop (this is my go-to frustrated with my employees activity), and after about thirty minutes the phone to the store rang. I answered.
“Good Evening, thank you for calling ____ _____ __, This is Jess how may I help you?”
“I want to know what you have done to my bank account?! Why is their $500 missing from my account?!”
“Yes ma’am, my associate overcharged you by 450 dollars and we immediately turned around and returned it (as shown by the receipts in your bag) , but it will take until the bank opens tomorrow morning before you will start to see the money return to your account.”
“But it is not back in my account yet. I don’t think you understand, I am from Phoenix, and I bank with the B–O–A,” she spoke with such pride, force, and airs. “I have caught onto the scam this small town is playing on its obviously wealthier tourists, and I will have you know the B–O–A will not let this happen. The ice cream shop up the street tried the same scam earlier this evening, and that money is still missing as well!”
“That is incredibly unfortunate ma’am, but I guarantee the Bank of America will have your money to your account at some point tomorrow.”
“I will call the B–O–A tomorrow and they will shut down your little shop!”
The importance of her status of a local Phoenix woman and her very elite account holder status at the BOA was repeated more and more, and my belittlement of a small town scammer was continued. I never corrected her, I never let her know I was actually from Houston, that we were actually a corporation. All of that seemed redundant to her already made up mind. I figured I would leave it to the B-O-A to explain it to her. I understood her frustration, money is something that’s hard earned, and such a sizable mismanagement is no light matter.
So I concluded with, “Ma’am I will be here at 10 am tomorrow morning. Please call the bank first thing in the morning and if there are any problems with validating the money return please have them contact me.”
I took a detour walking back to my hotel room that night, walking is my frustrated with situations beyond my control therapy.
In the morning I arrived at precisely 10 a.m. for my last day in the Sedona shop, the manager who was there to replace me said, “A lady called for you this morning, she wanted you to know that everything worked out, and that she was profusely sorry for last night’s altercation. She also went on to rave about your kindness, patience, and stellar customer service.”
I simply nodded. The moral to those in customer service, snotty remarks and sarcasm will get you nowhere.