We have a business providing flat, crystal clear, and acid-free oriented polypropylene (OPP) bags to artists for displaying their artwork. We also provide a number of other packaging solutions. Either way, almost all our customers are artists.
As a result, almost all our customers are artists, and anyone who deals with artists much knows that the more logical parts of their brains are often sacrificed to make room for their amazing creative skills. It is not uncommon for an artist to tell us that they can't give us the size of their artwork because they don't know how to use a ruler.
One customer service story involves a woman who said she'd call back when her daughter got home from school because her daughter did know how to use a ruler.
Most of our artists are refreshingly honest, and they would willingly admit these customer service stories are typical.
I don't mean to fault them. What an awful world we'd live in without their marvelous talents. Hey, I share a house with one.
One customer called to order some 16x20 bags. He just needed one pack of a hundred. When he was done, I asked, Will there be anything else? He replied, I don't know. Should I order anything else?
A little stupefied, I told him only he could know what he needed. He said, Okay, I'll go check. Hang on a minute. Then he left the phone for a minute or two.
Now understand that we handle several hundred calls a day. Our average order takes three minutes, and there's often another customer on hold waiting while we take a call. We make every effort to ensure no customer waits longer than 40 seconds on hold, but occasionally we get some real winners on the line. This guy wasn't done.
He got back on the phone. I need some 8x10's, too. I didn't learn the first time. By rote, I said again, Great, will that be all?
He said, Let me check, and he left the phone again. When he came back and ordered 5x7's, I had learned my lesson.
I told him, Thank you very much for your order!
My apologies to the very nice lady who called for mentioning her business by name, but this really happened. It was way back in 1995, and I do remember her.
I picked up the phone and greeted the customer. A very mechanical voice said, Can I get your east coast number, please?
This is the east coast number, I replied.
Good, can you give it to me, please? the mechanical voice asked.
I was a little baffled, but I gave her the number she had just called. She quickly said thank you and hung up. Not surprisingly the phone rang within a few seconds.
I'd like to place an order, please, said the voice.
I had to stifle a chuckle, but I was bewildered enough not to laugh out loud. Sure, Ma'am. May I get your name or company name?
Do Remember Me, she replied.
I bit my tongue. I thought, I sure will remember you. I then asked for her address. There was a pause.
Um . . . are you the gentleman I just called?
That was it. I laughed out loud, and, fortunately, she laughed with me. I told her I was wondering what she was thinking, and she told me she just got confused. I suspect she was nervous because her voice wasn't mechanical at all after that.
A friend of mine, David, had a customer call to complain that the 5x7 bag we sent her wouldn't hold her card. We purposely make the bag 5 and 7/16 inches wide so that it will accomodate a 5x7 card and envelope. This lady insisted that hers didn't fit.
David spent 15 minutes with the lady, having her measure the width of the bag with a ruler, then measure her card to make sure it was 5x7. Then he had her measure her envelope, then do all the measurements over again. No luck. David was ready to tear his hair out. How could a 5x7 card not fit in a 5 and 7/16 wide plastic bag?
Suddenly, he had a flash of insight. Ma'am, could you try rotating the card 90 degrees?:
Voila! Hey, that worked! It fits!
David is a friend of mine. This story really happened. He doesn't make up things like this.