A rare case of

So, okay, I suppose I’m not being entirely fair with that title. Still, you’ve got to admit, all we ever seem to hear about the customer service in establishments like National Bookstore are complaints and even more complaints.

But today, I’m pleased to tell you guys about a very pleasing (?) encounter with the NBS folks at SM Bicutan. And please, let this be a lesson for all other establishments who have been getting complaints about their services, and want to do better.

So it was Saturday night, and I was just about to get off the LRT to board a jeep to Bicutan when I received a text message from my mom telling me to drop by the National Bookstore in SM Bicutan. Apparently, someone from the NBS Customer Service was looking for me, and had told my mom to ask me to go there for something or the other. Since the details weren’t clear, I decided not to go before speaking with my mom personally.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot about the call from NBS afterward, so I wasn’t able ask my mom about it that night.

However, come Sunday morning, another call from the NBS personnel came, asking for me. So I got to talk with that personnel firsthand, and I found out that an item I had purchased a few days prior was punched twice at the counter. It was for a pair of bookends worth Php60.25 (the cashier personnel rang it up twice because she thought it was Php60.25 per individual piece, when it was actually being sold as a pair). At the time, I thought she was right in ringing it up twice, since there were price tags on both pieces of the bookends. Anyway, they were calling to tell me I could avail of another item worth the same amount as the bookends in question. I wanted to get a refund originally, but they told me I could only get the replacement in kind. I agreed to come to NBS within the week.

Imagine my surprise that they decided to call me just for that. Right then I wanted to blog about it already, but my mom told me to wait until I had gotten the bookends-alternatives. Still, to think that they would bother to call me up just for an item worth Php60.25… I was pretty impressed already. Not just by their initiative to contact me for such a small amount, but because they even bothered to do it twice – once on the Saturday, and again on Sunday. Still, I conceded to wait until I got the item-alternative before saying something.

And so, the opportunity presented itself when my mom asked me to go to SM Bicutan to pay bills and grab some groceries. I decided to drop by NBS after I had accomplished my errands, and thought of what to get as the alternative to my Php60.25 discrepancy. I probably lingered there for about 20 minutes before ultimately deciding upon another pair of bookends (haha, imagine that… :3), since they were the only items there worth exactly Php60.25. I really only wanted to test how it would all work out with the customer service personnel, so I didn’t set out to make it any more difficult. That, and I had a troubled stomach, so I really just wanted to get it over with.

I had some difficulty with the customer service section though, mainly because there was no personnel manning the said section. I probably stood there for about 10 minutes, thinking how to get an NBS personnel to talk to me, when clearly, the only one free (relatively, anyway) was the one at the cashier. After five more minutes of thinking how stupid it was of me to just stand there gaping at nothing, I proceeded to the cashier to talk to personnel there.

After that, it was completely a no-brainer. The cashier personnel (the same one that rang up the original bookends twice, I think) was very accommodating, and even apologetic for the commotion those simple things had started. She had the security guard call their manager (? or a higher-ranking personnel) and the manager authorized the transaction. It barely took 5 minutes.

After that, I went home feeling really good (despite my somersaulting stomach, haha) and cheery. I mean, Php60.25 was really immaterial for NBS to make such a fuss about, but they still did make a fuss about it – looking through their databanks for my records, calling me up not once but twice and actually even apologizing for the commotion. For Php60.25, I personally wouldn’t have bothered to launch a complaint, had they decided not to refund me, and I would most likely still shop at NBS afterward. My point is, they didn’t have to bother, really, I wouldn’t have made an essential difference, but I suppose it was the principle of it – honesty to their records, to their auditors and to the NBS name. That, and I’d like to think that it was because they valued their customers a lot. More than how much we think they do, at least.

And so, I think I’ve began to change my perception of NBS and its customer service a bit. I just wish that this wasn’t just a one time deal, and that NBS would be consistent in its honesty to its customers. Wouldn’t it be nice if we always had this kind of service, not only from NBS but from all kinds of establishments? I believe everyone would want such a thing to happen. And I also believe that such a thing is doable.

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