Ashford Bateman (abateman) wrote in bad_service,
Ashford Bateman
abateman
bad_service

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Staples: Not So Easy

For awhile I was working at Staples to supplement my regular job over at the sign shop. When I first signed up their benefits seemed great, and they certainly talked a lot about customer service...



Then I worked there. On more than one occasion I would page someone for aisles, because a customer would come up to the Copy Centre and ask something like, "Do you know where the duotangs are?" First of all, Copy Centre staff are not required to know aisles. After paging, the customer and I would chat for a few minutes. No one ever showed up, any of the times I called, and I would usually end up guessing because I'm not allowed to leave the copy area.
When I had a chance to ask our manager about it, he told me that I shouldn't call aisles; rather, I should tell them to go look themselves. ... I still called aisles, because it was their damn job. (And I got talked to the next shift, most of the time.)
Our copy lead would often be on the phone with her boyfriend and would put customers on hold in the mean time. Or, if she was really busy with her nails, would go to the customer and give them directions to Office Depot; she'd memorized street names on the entire route. I think my head wanted to explode.
The third strike, for me, was watching the other staff in copy refusing service to people... and then exploding at me for taking on work that they had to do. (Because god forbid they lose time to talk about the latest male models!1! Or how drunk they still were from the staff parties!) I remember taking on doing flyers for some girls during a completely dead period (I was staring at the wall and watching a spider, IIRC). I laid out 98% of it. All the girls had to do was add the phone number and hit "print". However, this was cause for alarm, apparently. Shortly after I did that, the copy-lead told me 1) do not take jobs like that (despite the fact it takes fifteen minutes and there's NO WORK, add to that the department is falling under budget??) and then 2) turned them away. All she had to do was type in eight digits and hit "print", but she told them she was understaffed and over busy, then went back to talking on the phone with her boyfriend.
Towards the last day I worked there, an elderly couple came in and asked about some business cards they had dropped off. I finally found the file and looked, seeing that there was a note that said we required art. They had all ready provided art; the date they provided it was WHEN THEY ORDERED. There was a note that they called them asking for art STUCK ONTO THE ART. I called the girl who made this brilliant error, and could not get through. Apparently these people had been waiting for 3 months for 2 week business cards, and called in two or three times, only to be told it was still out with the company (which it had NEVER been faxed to.)
A German woman came in with an antique map, wanting it to be laminated. The laminate roll had to be changed, but apparently no one knew how. Rather than calling the company to repair it, they told the woman they no longer offered lamination, but that they could fold up the map and put it through a different paper size on the small laminate machine(rather than colour photocopying a map from WWI to fit ledger...), but that she had to sign a paper saying that if anything happened to it, it wasn't Staples' fault. What kind of company won't even guarantee their product works? "Well we can give it a try, but if it doesn't work, you still have to pay for the failed product, as well as lose your original!" Brilliant!
Quite often when ringing things up, I was shown to charge for heavier paper than really necessary, or even used. (They use a lighter stock for self-serve colour and a heavier stock for full-serve; the same goes for the black & white.) I understand that there's very little margin in copy, but outright ripping people off that way...
On the night that I left, a man came in wanting to put through a purolator letter. It was my first time using the machine, so I was a little stymied. It was also very slow, so I called my manager, who told me, "I don't know. Can you come back another day, sir?" The man stared at him in complete horror; it was a cell phone his daughter needed during the time she was with her social worker in Vancouver (it was obvious that the $20.00 was a HUGE amount of money for him; he was bathed, but his clothes were old and worn, he was emaciated, and obviously not very well educated. I felt badly for him.) I said I could call one of the other girls (I was the only copy centre associate on staff) and was told that no, it wasn't necessary. I called Purolater in the end, and managed to get it to work. But apparently there's THREE people trained in a staff of 15+, 7 of whom work copy. (And none of them were on staff that week. I guess no purolator that week!)
Interesting fact: our store would give us a bonus if 52% of customers were "reasonably satisfied"; we were sitting at 40% - 44% day to day.

I left after a month. Maybe I'm just used to working in a small 5 person company where if a customer isn't happy, you refund them and lose profit margin entirely. We don't charge until the customer has the product and is more than just 'reasonably satisfied', minus cab drivers who make us scream because they never show up for appointments. But that's a customers suck post ;) But I can't work in a company where no one cares about their job, their company, or the customers.

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