Making sure employees are empowered

The bridal registry listing I was handed clearly stated, “Shipping is free if item is not in stock at the store.”

I really wanted my item shipped, but it was in stock. I couldn’t deny it. I decided to ask the registry person if I could, in fact, have it shipped for free anyway, since I wasn’t going to attend the distant wedding. “Yes, of course,” the clerk said.
However, when she tried to remove the shipping charges from the online order form she was filling out, it wouldn’t let her. She called over her manager who explained to the clerk that, no, she wasn’t allowed to remove the shipping charges if the item was in the store.
The clerk said, “But I have done it before and I already told this lady it could be done.”
She was firm and persistent. The manager gave way. The customer was happy.
In this instance, clearly someone had gotten the facts wrong and, it could be argued, the customer had pushed the limits as well. It was pretty clear—by inference—that shipping should NOT have been free, but the clerk determined I was a customer worth having. While I went away happy, it may be true that the store lost out by having to cover fairly substantial shipping costs. Either the manager or the clerk was not clear on the store policy, over a matter that likely came up often, but both quickly determined that it was a point that needed to be settled elsewhere, not in the presence of the customer.
A mystery shopping service where these kinds of interactions are evaluated could have revealed where the training, or the policy, needed some work in order to save the store some time and money.

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