Since the opening of its newest store in Princeton, New Jersey, Child’s Play Toy Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been getting mixed customer reviews. Designed to be state of the art, open, and customer friendly, the store includes an attended activity area where small children can play while parents shop. In addition, an innovative system makes it possible for local customers to order products from catalogs or from the company’s website and then go to a drive-up window to pick up their purchases without leaving their cars. Another creative feature involves interactive television monitors in the store—where customers can see a customer service representative at the same time the representative sees them. To reduce staffing costs, the customer service representatives are actually at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, location and are remotely connected via satellite and computer to all new stores. This system is used for special ordering, billing questions, and complaint resolution. Customers can also use a computer keyboard to enter data or search for product information online through the company’s website while in the store. In recent months, the number of customer complaints has been rising. Many people complain about not getting the product that they ordered over the system. Some are uncomfortable using the computer keyboard, while others dislike the impersonal touch and that they have to answer a series of standard questions asked by a “talking head” on the screen. Further, some customers have encountered system or computer break-downs and say that they cannot get timely service or resolution of problems.
As a customer service representative and cashier at the store, you are responsible for operating a cash register in the store at Child’s Play when all lines are operational and more than two customers are waiting in each line. You are also responsible for supervising other cashiers on your shift and dealing with customer questions, complaints, or problems. You report directly to the assistant store manager, Meg Giarnelli. Prior to coming to this store, you worked in two other New Jersey store branches during the five preceding years. This afternoon, Mrs. Sakuro, a regular customer, came to you. She was obviously frustrated and pointed her finger at you as she shouted, “You people are stupid!” She also demanded to speak with the manager and threatened that “if you people do not want my business, I will go to another store!” Apparently, a doll that Mrs. Sakuro had ordered two weeks ago over the in-store system had not arrived. The doll was to be for her daughter’s birthday, which is in two days. Although Mrs. Sakuro has a heavy accent, you understood that she had been directed by a cashier to check with a customer service representative via the monitor to determine the status of the order. When she did this, she was informed that there was a problem with the order. The representative who took the original order apparently wrote down the credit card number incorrectly and the order was not processed. When Mrs. Sakuro asked the customer service representative why someone had not called her, the representative said that the customer service department was in another state and that long-distance calls were not allowed by frontline employees. She was told that the local store where she was picking up is responsible for verifying order status, contacting the customer via telephone, and handling problems. There was no valid explanation given when Mrs. Sakuro asked why someone in New Jersey had not just e-mailed her since they had her e-mail address. Mrs. Sakuro’s behavior and attitude are upsetting to you.
From the behavioral style information in this chapter and other subjects discussed in this book, what is causing the complaints being made?
What system changes would you suggest for Child’s Play? Why?
What can you do at this point to solve the problem?
What primary behavioral style is Mrs. Sakuro exhibiting? What specific strategies should you use to address her behavior?
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