Tell me what you can do not what you cant do

November 7, 2009
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Do you take yes for an answer?

I was at London’s GatwickAirport, two hours before my flight home to Charlotte. I wandered into the Ted Baker store. I love Ted Baker clothing. I found a few things I liked, but they didn’t have one of the items I wanted in my size. I was assured I could get it online. Great!

I completed my purchase and went to the airline lounge to get on my computer and buy the other item. Easy online access — I found what I wanted in less than a minute. But when I went to complete my purchase, I could not find the USA as one of the 40 or so “ship to” country options.

So I chose the online “live chat” option to help me buy and here is what ensued:

Chat Information:

Hello and welcome. One of Ted’s Personal Shoppers will be right with you.

You’re now connected with one of Ted’s Personal Shoppers.

Karen: Hello, I'm Karen, one of Ted's Personal Shopping Assistants! What brings you to our Web site today?

Jeffrey: Why can't I get a garment shipped to the USA? Nuborn Size: 6 Colour: Red.

Karen: I'm afraid, Jeffrey, we don't ship to the U.S. at the moment.

Jeffrey: You ship to Bulgaria, but not to the U.S.? How do I get this garment? I can give you my FedEx account number.

Karen: I can understand that. Do you have any relative or friend in the U.K.

Jeffrey: What are my options?

Karen: You can get the item delivered to someone who is in the U.K.

Jeffrey: You can't put the garment in a box with my FedEx number? How about shipping it to your store in Las Vegas? I'll be there next week.

Karen: I'm sorry. I'll not be able to do that due to the security reasons.

Jeffrey: What?

Karen: I'm afraid it will not be possible.

Jeffrey: What's unsafe about a sweatshirt?

Karen: I will not be able to place the order due to the security reasons.

Jeffrey: Please explain "security." Please give me a phone number of a senior manager at Ted Baker.

Karen: We are not allowed to place the order for any of our customers. You can call on our customer service phone number 0845 130 4278, Ext. 1, between and , Monday to Friday.

Jeffrey: No — I want a direct line to a manager.

Karen: I'm sorry, I don't have his number with me.

Jeffrey: I cannot tolerate lies. You have a number — I'll find it tomorrow, call the manager, and report you.

Karen: OK, for the stores information of U.S., please email us at ask.ted@tedbaker.com. Our team will help you with the details about the availability of the jacket in the stores of U.S.

Jeffrey: I don't want a team — I want a person. Please give me a phone number of a senior manager at Ted Baker.

Karen: We are not allowed to place the order for any of our customers. You can call on our customer service phone number at 0845 130 4278, Ext. 1, between and , Monday to Friday. There will be the person who will give you the details. Jeffrey, if you want, I can help you with some options.

Jeffrey: How about this: I can be reached at (704) 333-1112 — have someone call me tomorrow, late, or Sunday or Monday — you know what I want — have someone contact me to get the order. Nuborn Size: 6 Colour: Red

Karen: I can understand this, Jeffrey, and it's really good for us that you like our products, but at the moment, we don't ship to U.S.

Jeffrey: You can't understand anything — you're a corporate robot that refuses to take "yes" for an answer.

Karen: If you have any of your relatives or friends in the U.K. or in other countries, they can help you to place this order for you.

Jeffrey: Thanks for nothing, lies and a lousy experience — I've just spent my last dime at Ted Baker, thanks to you.

Karen: I'm sorry I couldn't help you much.

Jeffrey: You couldn't help me at all. Have someone from the U.S. call me. Have your boss call me. They should teach you how to say yes.

Karen: I wish that I can help you to place the order, but it's not in my hand.

Jeffrey: Then pass it to someone allowed to think and help customers.

Karen: I'm afraid nobody can do that.

Jeffrey: What a joke. No one can think or help? Pathetic.

Hello! We’re in a recession. I’m trying to give them some of my hard-earned money, and they refuse to take it “for security reasons.” Huh?

Now granted this woman is probably in a call center in a foreign land, has never been to a Ted Baker store, and is reading from a script prepared by people who have no concept of sales or service. BUT — they left my money on the table and frustrated me to a point that I’m telling you about it.

And please don’t miss the point. This is NOT against Ted Baker, although they do look rather foolish. This is a lesson for YOU. How many of your customers are being told “no”?

Rule one of customer communication: Tell me what you can do, not what you can’t do!

Free Git-Bit: Want a few more rules of customer service and loyalty? Go to www.gitomer.com and enter the words LOYALTY FORMULA in the GitBit box. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail salesman@gitomer.com.

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