Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nothing beats excellent customer service

Today I had a severe longing to read the John Carter of Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I figured that, since the movie will be shown next week here in Manila, I might as well read the first volume of this series and see for myself what the fuss was all about.

So I went down the office and headed to the nearest bookstore, which is Bibliarch, a branch of Fully Booked. Damn, the store only has the second and third volumes of the collected series. That simply won't do. I need that first volume like cocaine. And I want to read it, like, now.

Now Bibliarch is such a small store that, once you're inside, it only takes a few steps to reach their customer service which also doubles as the cash register. I asked one of the assistants if he would call the other nearby Fully Booked branches if they have the first volume.

Maybe there's something wrong with their inventory tracking system, for it's taking him so long to check the store's online database. Both my lunch time and my patience are running short. And I had to restrain myself from talking loudly out of irritation. I have a very short temper and my friends keep telling me that I probably have the shortest one.

But this assistant, his name is Miles Mission, was very patient and determined to help me. He called every nearby bookstore branch to look for that elusive copy. He even went out of his way to find a chair from their back office and bring it to me. I don't mind standing of course, but to refuse it would be insulting, I think.

Alas, a copy was located at a nearby mall. Miles even offered to have that book transferred to the branch we were in. But ever the impatient one, I said there's no need. The next store's just a few minutes away, and heaven knows that I could use the exercise.

So now I have the beautiful first volume of Burroughs's sci-fi/fantasy epic, all thanks to Miles's diligence and his extra effort. Kudos to the people at Fully Booked for the wonderful customer service.

Now I shan't be disturbed, for I'll be on my way to Mars.


Anonymous said...

I am such a stickler for good customer service, it's so rare here. When I do find a place whose staff is helpful without being smothering, knowledgeable about what they sell, and overdelivers, I make sure to leave a big fat tip (even if it's a bookstore!).

Jack said...

Cherish this guy. I don't know what your standards are in the Philippines; here in the States, people like this just don't exist any more.

As to the book, I read it (and the rest) at 14, and enjoyed it very much. I remember lots of action, and science we knew was wrong even then. That isn't a deal breaker. I just spent 5 years tracking down and devouring the Drizzt series, classic fantasy about the friendship between an elf, a dwarf, a hobbit, and two humans.

Notably, neither human is a modern man (woman) transplanted somehow from Earth. I have come to like that story device a lot less than I once did, but it you're into it, look into the Gor series by John Norman. The first six books are a rollicking great adventure story staring a transplanted human to Gor, or "counter-earth," undetectable because it is always on the exact opposite side of the sun. Something happened to him (Norman) after he wrote book six, because the twenty-odd books after that are an anti-feminist screed lecturing about the natural slave-status of women, and how they cannot be complete unless they're subservient to men, etc, to the exclusion of plot. The first six, though, wow...

The first book is Tarnsman of Gor (1966). Still in print, I think, but easy to obtain in any case. Book 4, Nomads of Gor, is listed on my profile among my favorite books, but I defy anyone with any social compass at all to proceed beyond book 6 without an airsickness bag ready to hand.

Fun post, my friend. Keep on keepin' on!

Peter S. said...

@twentyse7en: I know, right? Very, very rare here.

@Jack: I will definitely look for that series! Thanks!

Stepford Mum said...

Yay, Peter!! I too am most impatient and very customer service-oriented, having worked in that line for ages as an events planner and now a retailer!

The people at Fully Booked are thrilled at your feedback. And I hope it inspires more front-line sales staff to follow Mr. Mission's example.

Peter S. said...

Hello, Iya! Thanks for sending the permalink of this post over at the Fully Booked FB page. Mwah!

akashy.girl said...

hi, peter! i'm always happy to hear stories of great customer service. that miles guy is a gem!
they sure could use more people like him in Fully Booked - Edsa Shangrila hotel. last Saturday, i was at that branch, my first time ever! and might be my last.

allow me, Peter, to share this story...
first, the girl at the register rang up my purchases wrong. i bought these keyrings and after looking at the OR, i noticed that the price on the OR was lower compared to the price on the sticker. i made a comment, and it turned out that the 40% discount on the books i bought on sale, were applied to the key rings as well. so the girl had to void that transaction and ring it up again. i didn't complain because of course, i knew that it was the right thing to do. but i did not even hear a "sorry". and if i had not pointed out that mistake, guess who would pay?

next mistake. My friend who also bought books, was surprised that his bag contained key rings. the same key rings i bought! this same salesgirl had put in my purchases with his. i guess i should be thankful that it was put in his bag and not in the bag of the other customers, or else i would have not gotten the items at all! again, did i hear an apology? tough luck!

would it have been so much for her to apologize for the inconveniences i went through? minor as they were, it was irritating. and yet, i would have overlooked it had she shown a little bit of concern...

sorry for the rant! just couldn't resist when i read your post. end of rant! :)

Peter S. said...

Hi, akashy.girl. That's my least favorite branch as well. I had a weird experience over there last year, something about their inventory.