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Retailing on the Phone (New Section!)

The Phone Consumer

Being a retailer over the phone is a whole other world than running someone's merchandise through the scanner at the local store.  It has its advantages and disadvantages.  In this situation, I could be speaking to a customer 2,000 miles away, easily.  I know if they get upset, they can't really do much besides yell, and if they get really out of line, I can get rid of them with the touch of a button.  On the flip side, customers at the store tend to be restrained by the desire not to make a scene in public, a boundary which is removed when speaking to a "cashier" on the phone.  Perhaps theses people could, with a little practice, avoid these ten most common mistakes on the phone and also master the store etiquette shown in the accompanying section:
1)  Introducing themselves.  Everytime you make a call, you need to give me your identifying number that lets me know who you are.  I will ask you to verify it later on, if necessary.  There's no need to introduce yourself at the beginning of the call, I will know who you are momentarily.
2)  Blaming the rep for a sold out item. Lady, I didn't buy the last ten pairs of the shoes just so you couldn't have any.  If it's sold out, it's SOLD OUT.  It's not sold out because of me, it's sold out because other customers, who are valued just as much as you, bought the items before yourself.
3)  Frequently, I'd say at least once per shift, a customer will ask me what colors I have in a certain item.  I'll tell them, and then they'll still ask, "Do you have red?" or something like that.  This is HIGHLY aggravating.  If you ask me what colors we have, which is fine, I'm not going to hold out on you and just tell you certain ones.  Some of you will do this repeatedly, even though I have already told you which colors we have.
4)  Complaining about sales tax.  Some of you will say, "Why do I have to pay sales tax on this?"  Well, if we have a store in your state, you'll pay tax.  Period.  And if you don't, then you'll technically have to pay taxes on it when your tax time comes.  Unless you live in a state which does not tax clothes, asking why you need to pay sales tax is like saying, "I'm trying to cheat my state's IRS, please help me out!"
5)  Complaining about shipping costs.  This is similar to #4, but not quite as common.  People, it costs money to use the mail.  It's not free to send something, especially in bulk packaging.  If you don't like it, then go get in your car, get gas, complain about THOSE prices, and then drive to the store to get your own stuff.
6)  Calling unprepared.  If you're calling in and you want to make a purchase, then you should have at least a pretty good idea of what you are looking for.  I have had people call in, literally talk to me for a half hour looking trying to decide what to get, and then hang up after buying NOTHING.  Toll-free numbers don't mean that nobody is paying for them, people. 
7)  Asking for someone by their first name.  Happens at least once a day.  I get calls, where people might ask to speak to "Greg."  I consider standing up, saying "Hey Greg, you have a call."  Then I remember that we have multiple locations throughout the United States with multiple "Greg's," and then notify the customer that we probably won't be able to locate "Greg."
8)  Not being able to see.  No offense to these people, but there are situations where I will wait minute after minute as a customer repeatedly tries to give me a credit card number that he or she can't read.  If you can't see, you probably won't be able to read the number off the credit card.  Get a friend or companion to read it off for you. 
9)  Asking for no shipping cost/reduced shipping cost.  I just wanted to put the word "Special" by the person's first name every time they do this, since that's apparently what they think they are.  This relates to the shipping cost, but is a different topic if you really think about it.  Why should thousands, maybe millions of other people pay a higher shipping cost than yourself?
10)  And finally, No Greeting/No goodbye.  Here's a mistake common both to the phones and the stores.  Some people forgot that somewhere down the line, it was good manners to say "Hello," when you got on the phone, and "Goodbye," when you got off of it.  Wouldn't you consider it rude if I answered the phone by saying, "Yeah, what do you need?"

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