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The Importance of Listening Skills and the Impact of a Negative Online Review

I experienced the most terrible customer service last Friday in Dewitt Cleaners Inc. The manager does not possess any listening skills and accused me for several faults. I posted my review on Google, and I believe that we can learn a good lesson from the manager’s bad example.
The Story

I brought to the store three pieces of Ralph Lauren brand-new garments in late September of 2011 (I always wash my new clothes before wearing them). The girl who greeted me was nice --- she put my info in the system as a first-time customer, inspected my clothes, told me I could pick it up in a week or so, and put the cloths in the basket for dirty clothes.

On Oct 1 (at 12:46 pm), a girl from the dry cleaning called me, telling me that the long jacket must be sent out to a special cleaner because it has leather trims in several places. As a result, it will take two more weeks. The other two pieces (suit) can be picked up as scheduled.

I came back two weeks later as what I was told on Oct 1. When I was in the store, I was told that my jacket had not yet been returned to the shop. I was asked to come back the next week.

On Oct. 25, I called the store and asked if the jacket was ready to pick up before heading to the store. I was told my jacket was ready, and I could pick it up at any time.

In the evening of Oct. 26, I came to the store to pick up my jacket. The girl did not find it. She asked me to come back in the next week. I then insisted that she need to find the jacket for me as it had taken for so long --- three weeks! After 10 to 15 minutes of searching, the girl located my jacket in the back. I took the jacket home. When I hang my jacket in the closet, I found a couple blue stains on the fabrics. Plus, the khaki color looked darker than it used to be.

I took the jacket back to the store on Oct 28 and talked to the manager and asked for a solution --- a minimum a re-wash. I also wanted to bring to the manager’s attention that it took me a whole month just for trying to have a jacket cleaned. It is ridiculously long, would you agree?

Meeting the Manager Who Did Not Listen AND Accused an Innocent Customer

His name is Kevin. He came out from the back. When I pointed out the stains, he first told me: “It looks like paints. Somebody put the paints on the cloths when he wore it … The person wore it like this and put the paints in two spots (he was demonstrating to me what could have happened).” I told him that it was a brand new garment and I had never worn that jacket before --- I had not even opened all pockets by cutting all sewing lines yet. Then, he told me: “I know my business. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get any paints on the cloths in our store.” Then, he asked me where I brought the clothes. I told him I brought that from a Ralph Lauren store. He suggested: “the paints might be already on the clothes when you brought it!” I told him that was not the case. Then, he was telling me how the clothes need to be cleaned by the professionals in Canada and blah, blah, blah, which was not helpful in solving the problem.

When I was trying --- indeed just trying --- to tell him the whole story. He never allowed me to finish my story. He always jumped in to defend himself --- I have tried many times, but he never got the part of when his staff searching for 10 – 15 minutes to locate my jacket. His response was always like: “Oh, I have listened. I know exactly what you are trying to say. You just want to repeat the same thing.”



He asked me for my phone number again in the end. According to him, his store only keeps 315 numbers (area code for Syracuse), but mine starts with the area code of 806. I told him that my number must be stored in the system already because his staff called me before. He said: “the system does not keep the numbers other than the ones starting with 315.” I was thinking --- if that’s the case, why can the girl call me three weeks ago from the store? WHOM AM I TALKING TO? DOES THIS SO-CALL MANAGER EVEN KNOW THE OPERATIONS OF HIS STORE?

I knew it was useless to speak with this man. I was ready to leave the store. Then, he added: “Be NICE!” People who have spent time with me know that I do not get angry easily and I always remain calm. I told him: “I was nice, but you NEVER listened.” He said: “you just repeated the same thing. I knew what you say. Oh, do NOT come back again … you will waste your time if you come back without hearing from us.” What service is that? I wonder how he can get promoted to a managerial position. It is possible that he is a hard worker and/or has excellent administrative skills, but I am very positive that he has extremely poor customer service skills.

He should not have accused an innocent customer before even listening to him/her --- I did nothing wrong in this case. Plus, I have been extremely patient by waiting for one month for the dry cleaning service. Most of all, he should have assisted the customer in investigating the issue and better, in solving the problem.

He kept my jacket now and said he would investigate the issue and possibly help me clean the stains --- it is possible that the store KNEW exactly what happened to my new jacket. It is possible that the store kept my jacket in the back so that it could do a follow-up clean of the stains before returning the cloth to me --- remember the girls who did not find it even I was told the specialty shop has returned my jacket? What a horrible manager!!!

What Is the Impact of a Negative Review on Google?

I, myself, will never send any clothes to this dry cleaner in the future. I wrote a negative review about the store on Google --- I want to inform other customers about my terrible experience. I assume that a customer’s previous experience with a business will mediate the effects of either a negative or a positive online review. If you never visited the dry cleaning place in this case, will my experience prevent you from visiting the store? In what degree? If you visited the place before but had a positive experience, how may my negative experience influence your future visit to the store?

Comments

  1. Alice Kim In this day and age when everything is perpetuated by word of mouth or online review sites such as Yelp, good customer service is pertinent. Having good problem-solving skills is also important since virtually every person that is a patron of a business can be a critic. I, for one, always read reviews of a place before going to spend my money and even if I read one bad review, it would change my view of the business. It definitely hurts a business even if there is one bad review in a sea of good ones. Even if I had had a positive experience beforehand, one negative review would influence my decision to go back.

    -Alice Kim

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have had a similar experience as you with a different cleaning service and I know how frustrated you might be. The cleaning service I used completely lost one of my nice shirts and gave me no explanation for it only that I probably never gave it to them in the first place! After telling people my story I had found out that something similar had happened to others before. I wish that there was a review of my place online that warned me of going there so the problem could have been prevented. I have never visited the Dewitt cleaning place before but your negative experience will cause me to never go there and if I hear people talking about it I will share with them your bad experience. It was a good idea for you to write a negative review online so that others in the area will be aware of the service and the attitude in the store and they will lose customers as a punishment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Most of the time, whenever I plan on visiting a new place (whether it is a restaurant, hair salon, etc.), I type the establishment into Google to check out the reviews. If most of the reviews are bad, I will most likely avoid going to that place. If there are mostly good reviews and just a few bad ones, I may browse for other similar places in the area, or just end up going to the one I searched for. If I have had a previously good experience and saw your negative review, I may rethink my decision to go back. I find that many people, including myself, are influenced by reviews written by their peers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. During November and December, I spoke with another manager, Debbie. Debbie was very patient. The managers read my review on Google. She acknowledged that "paints" did not come from me or the store. Debbie was trying to explain to me what procedures that can be taken to make it right for me. First they would try to clean it again for me.

    I visited the store on December 15 and met with Debbie. After seeing end results of them trying to save the garment, I decided to take the cash value of my jacket and let them donate the jacket to somebody in need. I know it is a nice and expensive garment --- Amazon was asking for about $400 for a similar cloth if it is made in China and about $1,400 if it is made in Italy.

    I understand the dry cleaner is also doing a business --- it is not easy to run a business these days. I paid for $100 something in an outlet mall for this jacket. So, I asked for $150 for the payment, Debbie insisted that I should get a fair amount because she wanted to handle my issue in the right way. In the end, I took $200 for the jacket. I think that’s fair for both me and the dry cleaner even though I know I cannot pay $200 for the same jacket in any department store or at Amazon.

    I believe the dry cleaners have learned a good lesson from this case. I also feel Debbie handle this issue nicer. Will I give a second chance to this store? Maybe. I will see.

    ReplyDelete
  5. All home is exclusive and therefore we customise our cleaning services to suit your home and your lifestyle. Cleaning Services Peterborough provide Fresh home Cleaning Should you need a house cleaning service for your home.

    ReplyDelete

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