Customer Service In Frum Businesses
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- This topic has 39 replies, 26 voices, and was last updated 13 years, 9 months ago by volvie.
February 16, 2009 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #589414
I came across a lot of negativity in this Coffee Room regarding heimish/frum owened businesses lacking customer service and “menchlichkeit” I primarily came across this in in topic about helping fellow yidin with parnasa. As the topic there was a great idea for increasing merits for klal yisroel that would go round & round reaching great proportions if we all implemented that(see topic” Helping Our Fellow Yid With Parnassa”).
In order to keep a holy thing holy and not dirty it with the negitivity that can ruin good. The sugestion for this topic “Customer Service in frum businesses” was started.
I would suggest, in order to keep it balanced please post good experiences as well as the others.
Fasten your belts, get ready & GO!February 16, 2009 9:46 pm at 9:46 pm #654911teenMember
yiskay: perhaps there are no good experiences…from what i see jewish stores are greatly ovepriced and do not have good service just what i have noticedFebruary 16, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #654912
To me, price is the biggest reason I don’t generally shop at Jewish stores. Why pay $40 for a tshirt that I can get for $10?February 17, 2009 12:53 am at 12:53 am #654913yankdownunderMember
How can a heimesh store in a Frum Neighborhood compete with a Department Store near by that is successful because it sells volumes of merchandise of the same exact item? It is not possible. Especially now during the current Recession when our spending ability is more restricted. This creates a feeling of ambivalence as I want to support the Jewish Owned Business but I am swayed by the Department Store that can sell the same exact item for half the price.February 17, 2009 1:47 am at 1:47 am #654914
yankdownunder, good point. I belive that we can still find enough to patronize our brothers with despite great dept store deals. in addition there is a hidden price we are paying in shopping dept. stores while there is a higher than monetary value at hand when we shop “heimish”. take a look at a post today topic tytled “Helping Our Fellow Yid With Parnassa”).
As for the idea of this post, was to try and bring to light the downside of customer service in heimish stores as well as the possitive attributes, in the hope of “raising the bar ” on our heimsh customer service be’h.February 17, 2009 1:58 am at 1:58 am #654915flatbush27Member
i think most jewish owned food stores ( take out, restaurant, supermarket etc.) employ non jewish workers so your not always dealing with a yid when you check out or need help so this ‘mentchlikkeit’ doesnt applyFebruary 17, 2009 2:16 am at 2:16 am #654916JosephParticipant
ames, pardon my silliness, but since when is shopping supposed to be “fun”?February 17, 2009 2:38 am at 2:38 am #654917
teen. in my experince there are many good experiences, althogh i have experienced negitive incisdents as well. (I have not found the “Ideal shopping place yet, teen 🙂 but one thing I can tell you the following, I have shopped in many large stores with “Customer Service” policies & training in place. From Staples, office depot, to Nordstrom & Lord & Taylor Starbucks to Barnes & Knoble, and I am appaled at the service , or lack of service that I recieved. They range from total indiference (out right rudeness if you are outwardly orthodox looking) to at best fake curtesy that depends on the acting ability of the employee. I would much rather a negitive experiance from a felloe yid that I can work on my meedos and come up with scenerios in my mind to justify his behavior. perhaps a reletive is going through cancer, perhaps he had some other misshap. I do not condone in anyway, negitive behavior in customer interaction (known as emotional leakege) reather It is my duty to be nice regardless and not degrade my makers nation. That is the only way we can succeed.February 17, 2009 3:14 am at 3:14 am #654918
I have always tried to give my business to a yid over a non-Yid, a frum yid over a non-frum yid, and a struggling new store owned by a frum yid, over the well-established thriving business owned by a frum yid. I said ‘tried’ because sometimes it iss simply not feasible. If the non-Jew sells an item for $10 and the Jewish store is selling the identical item for double that, it is a no-brainer.
I understand that the Jewish small store cannot easily compete with the large chain, but that is all the more reaason why the store owner has to step up to the plate with his people skills. To be honest, most male store owners who are that frum, do NOT have the skills in dealing with their (mostly) female clientelle. The biggets shopping is done by women, so either get female employees who know how to interact with them, or polish your own skills. Because of their yeshivish background, let’s face it, most of these guys are not used to talking to many women. THEN DON’T GO INTO BUSINESS THAT REQUIRE SUCH INTERACTION. It just seems so clear to me. In any case, if you are already in business, treat the clientelle with respect and as if you really want their business. They have a million other places they can go. If you are a restaurant, treat your inexpensive diners with the same respect and courtesy as if they dropped a three hundred dollar order on you. Maybe for them, the $50 order is the same to them as a more expensive meal is to someone else. I know. I have been there. And there are places I will never set foot in again, because they forgot that my husband’s money was as good as the rich guy’s.February 17, 2009 3:22 am at 3:22 am #654919yankdownunderMember
My point is and still remains the same during the Current Recession where do my priorities lie to support the Heimesh Business or save money going to Target. If I save money shopping at Target then I can use the money saved to purchase Groceries or school supplies for my Child or Grandchild. I know this is slightly going off the Topic from the Original intent of the Thread, but my choice of where I shop and my personal experience as a customer in the store (for me) corresponds to my discretionary income at that time.February 17, 2009 3:30 am at 3:30 am #654920syriansephardiMember
Joseph: since wen is shopping NOT supposed to be fun?!
Ames: I mostly agree!!!!! There’s a store in brooklyn where I have to park my car around the block bc the owner LOOKS to see ur car if u have money or not!!! There NO price tags on the clothing!! Its ridiculous!! U have to ask the lady how much the item is and she makes a price for u!! Pathetic!! I won’t go back there!!February 17, 2009 5:20 am at 5:20 am #654921mazal77Participant
Sorry, I am being very selective on any posts I address, so I won’t be posting around too much, but I had to add my 2 cents. I won’t shop at heimesh stores, because of the return policies. Many of the stores will NOT refund the money. I don’t want a credit. If I spend 2 hours in a store and finally find only one item I like, but my husband may not, then why should I take a chance?? For my own sake, I know myself and how I shop, that what I may like in the store, I may see in a different light at home, and dislike it. Okay, so some stores in Boro Park, let you bring it back the next day, but I don’t live in BP and don’t have the option to return things right away. If I shop at Annie Sez & H&M, I have 30 days, with Macy’s I have 180 days. With Ann Taylor, whenever!!February 17, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am #654922
Yes the return policy is so annoying. Here is what a hat owner explained to me though – when their policy was better, people would buy a hat, wear it that Shabbos and return it! How crazy! So his policy was no returns after Shabbos or a holiday (which made logical sense to me).
Also, I think it would be better if clothing stores at least had something similiar – at least give the person a week or so (unless they buy 2 days before Yom Tov) so that no one is wearing and returning.February 17, 2009 2:41 pm at 2:41 pm #654923enlightenedjewMember
Just curious – if a particular neighborhood frum store owner is known to be going through personal financial stress, do ppl here think that paying a higher price is said store is like tzedaka/maaser??February 17, 2009 3:11 pm at 3:11 pm #654924noitallmrParticipant
“So his policy was no returns after Shabbos or a holiday”
Wow that’s a great idea. But it’s definitely true that people make the most out of an easy returning policy. There’s a shop in the U.K that is so easy to return to that people started calling it a Gemach. This creates a major Chilul Hashem when they see how many Jewish people “buy” stuff and return after using.
Side point- We Pasken Gezeilo Akum Ossur- It’s forbidden to steal from a Nochri.February 17, 2009 4:32 pm at 4:32 pm #654925
Sjs, they could just put tags on the clothing in places where it’ll show when you where them. If the tags are cut, no returns.
Ames, when I was a teenager, I became excellent at removing obvious tags without ripping them (if I wanted to take tags off on Shabbos – I wasnt trying to return anything).
Its unfortunate that no matter what the system, people will try to take advantage (in a bad way).February 17, 2009 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #654926RoshYeshivahMember
Wow syrian- do you drive a mercedes?February 17, 2009 7:10 pm at 7:10 pm #654928
Ames, I was able to remove the plastic tag thing that the big tag was attached to. I could have reattached the plastic tag WITH the general tag. If you want to get around it, its not that hard.
And yes, its sad that the consumers are part of the problem. Small business owners have it very tough.February 18, 2009 3:04 pm at 3:04 pm #654929cantoresqMember
Her’s my take on the issue. I think many heimish store owners misunderstand the Mishne in Avot: “Yehi mamon chavercha chaviv k’shelcha.” They hold the customer’s money dear as their own becuase they believe they are entitled to it, and assume they are entitled to the patronage of the frum community. The assumption that they are entitled to that patronage works against a heimish storekeeper working too hard to satisfy or impress the customer. A sense of entitlement is hard work’s biggest enemy. But if those storekeepers would read the Mishne properly, customers just might appreciate the efforts of the shopkeeper to help them and save them money, which would result in more patronage.February 18, 2009 5:22 pm at 5:22 pm #654930Mayan_DvashParticipant
cantor, how many store owners do you know?;February 18, 2009 7:33 pm at 7:33 pm #654931JotharMember
The Walmart in the Castkills had to change their return policy, which used to be a generous 60 days, because people would come up from the city, buy an air conditioner, and return it at the end of the summer.
It took them a while to figure out why they had a much higher return rate than other Walmarts nationally.February 18, 2009 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #654932cantoresqMember
Mayan_Dvash, enough to know of what I speak.February 18, 2009 8:03 pm at 8:03 pm #654934YW Moderator-72Participant
the walmart in the Catskills has been discussed previously and has a thread. let’s keep this on topic. thank you.February 18, 2009 8:08 pm at 8:08 pm #654935myshadowMember
no prob mod! Sorry!
K back on topic, frum stores usually have more patience than the malls! I spent hours at different stores looking for dresses, ballgown skirts… I made the sales ppl craaazy!! But in all the stores everyone was corteous and put up w/ me!!February 18, 2009 8:47 pm at 8:47 pm #654936JotharMember
The Catskills comment was germane to the discussion of why Jewish stores have the policies they do.
When I was shopping with my kallah in Boro Park for a wedding ring (not all of my shidduchim ended badly B”H) , I went into a certain store. They told me a price for the ring. when I went to pay by credit card, I was told, “We’ll have to charge you more because now we have to charge you sales tax”. Halacha requires me to pay the sales tax, according to all litvishe poskim (Rabbi Belsky, Rav Dovid Feinstein, et al), do i wasn’t upset by the turn of events. So they billed my credit card. then I said I wanted it shipped. The They billed me a second time for the shipping fee. the assistant ripped up the first receipt, and then the guy started spazzing out because without my signature on the first receipt, I could challenge the payment and rob him of the cost of the ring. Then he darshened that since kiddushin isn’t valid with a stolen ring I wouldn’t challenge the receipt, and then he calmed down.
Let’s just say I did not have a good experience. That said, the fact is that many people are fond of geneivishe shtick unfortunately. Kabdeihu vechashdeihu applies to frum yidden as well- the Gemara makes this perfectly clear.
There is a famous quote attributed to various gedolim that if “lo sigzol” was a tzavaah of Rabbi Yehuda Hachassid or a chumra in the Taz instead of on the Luchos (as part of lo sachamod or as an anaf of lo signov, it would be kept more widely.August 10, 2009 4:18 am at 4:18 am #654940d aMember
There is a Seforim store, that when you walk in there, they follow you aroundlike your a theif. They constantly ask you if you want something. And they even ask you if you have money! I dont understand it!
And about the credit, there is a big Seforim store that deducts from your credit every month. I dont understand that one!August 10, 2009 4:56 am at 4:56 am #654941kapustaParticipant
Jothar, I never understood the no tax thing. Is it better to save a few pennies and get “charged” for it in the next world? Not to me it isnt.
Correct, when Hashem decides “kol mezonosav shel adam” on Rosh Hashana is that before or after taxes? Obviously Hashem wants us to do what is right which is to follow the dina d’malchusa and pay the taxes. He will figure out how to give you the money that is allotted to youAugust 10, 2009 3:54 pm at 3:54 pm #654942mdlevineMember
shop owners and consumers seem to forget that sales tax is a collect and remit tax, meaning that the conmsumer gives it to the shop owner to remit to the State.
If the shop owner wants to discount the cost of the item by not collecting the sales tax from the consumer, they may do so, however, it does not relieve the shop owner of their obligation to remit the tax on the item sold.
Ultimately the tax must be paid.August 10, 2009 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm #654943smalltowngirlMember
customer service – frum businesses
it is an oxymoron as a rule, B”H there are exceptions to the rule.
I do wish it was the other way around though.August 10, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm #654945kapustaParticipant
mdlevine, the tax will be paid.
an interesting story thats more related to ma’aser, but fits in here.
Someone who was deep in debt, decided to try to pay up quicker by not giving ma’aser. He noticed a pattern that since he stopped giving ma’aser he’d gotten several tickets for small things. He became especially careful with ma’aser and it stopped. One day soon after, he got paid and didn’t have a chance to give the ma’aser. The money remained untouched for a while. He got pulled over, and immediately realized what had happened. While he was in his car, waiting for the officer to check his license etc, he called someone and asked them to put 10% of the amount into tzedakah for him. the cop returned soon after with only a warning. No ticket.
Whether with tax, ma’aser etc, no one will make any money that they were not supposed to get anyway. There is no “cheating” Hashem.August 10, 2009 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm #654946
Tax and maaser are not the same thing. I do not in any way, shape, or form, advocate failure to pay taxes, but the mitzvahs of maaser, terumah, leket, shikcha, peyah, etc. are a reminder to us that nothing belongs to us, it all comes from Hashem, and we are obligated to do chessed with the things that He gives us. Tax money is often used for purposes of which Hashem would NEVER approve, and we all know it. Nonetheless, the law of the land is the law, and we must follow it. If we are not happy about it, we can try to change it by voting our lawmakers out of business. Until we do, the store owners are not charging tax, they are collecting it, as per the present law.August 11, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am #654947rebetzinParticipant
I had a great experience with Eyewear Unlimited in Lakewood last year. The owner let my husband return a pair of glasses we didn’t like and exchange it for new frames at no extra cost (I don’t think he was able to use the same lenses). Not only that but since the new pair wasn’t ready on time before we left to e”y, he brought it to us when he came for a visit. All this for no charge.August 11, 2009 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #654948
” Not only that but since the new pair wasn’t ready on time before we left to e”y, he brought it to us when he came for a visit. All this for no charge. “
He came to visit you, so clearly he was a friend or relative. Halevai that ALL business owners were similarly inclined. (Still, nice to hear of a positive experience).August 11, 2009 3:20 pm at 3:20 pm #654950mdlevineMember
about 10 to 12 years ago, the mdlevine family used to go to a Frum chiropractor. one wintery afternoon, I called to say that we can’t come over because the flu had made an unexpected visit and wasn’t anxious to leave so quickly. The Dr. said no problem, he has a few more patients and then he will come over to us (have table, will travel). I tried to convince him that it is OK and we will re-schedule when we are doing better. He wouldn’t hear of it.
a short while later, the Dr. calls to 1) tell us he is on the way and 2) ask us what we need in the store, because if are all under the weather, we may need at the least some basic supplies.
now, who can tell from where else are you going to get such a level of caring and thought!
btw, I sent a letter to the local Jewish newspaper to publicly thank him for what his service.August 11, 2009 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #654951cholentkugelkishkeMember
I think it’s really a two-way street. The store-owners feel that the customers are difficult people that are looking to rip them off. And the customers feel the same. But, there many exceptions to the rule. I’ve had excellent experiences in Heimishe stores, and terrible ones.August 11, 2009 3:44 pm at 3:44 pm #654952mepalMember
kapusta, great story! So true! One of my siblings (working in a school, where paychecks dont usually come on time, unfortunately) noticed that soon after paying maaser from one paycheck (I guess it wasn’t done immediately after receiving it) he would receive the next one. And so on and so forth.August 12, 2009 5:42 am at 5:42 am #654953rebetzinParticipant
oomis, he came to visit Israel, not us. He most certainly wasn’t a friend or relative.August 24, 2009 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #654954Dr. PepperParticipant
This summer, while on vacation I took my wife and kids to the same restaurant we always go to while vacationing in that area.
I felt my kids were old enough this time to explain why I always take them to the same place.
Many years ago, when I was still single, my friends and I went to that same restaurant to eat. We each ordered what we wanted then went to a table to sit and schmooze while we waited for our food to be ready. When our food was ready one of us got up to pick it up from the front.
On the way back to the table he tripped and all the food, including the fries and soda, went all over the floor. The cashier called someone to clean the floor while my friend sheepishly walked to the front to place everyone’s order again.
The owner came out from the back and told the cashier not to charge him for the replacement. As much as he argued the owner stuck to his decision.
“This is my restaurant and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure that everyone who leaves has a positive memory of their meal.”August 24, 2009 9:06 pm at 9:06 pm #654955mepalMember
Dr. Pepper, I have no words. That is such an amazing story…August 25, 2009 1:35 am at 1:35 am #654956volvieMember
Dr Pepper, thank you for many times projecting and expressing a positive outlook and attitude. You are an asset to klal yisroel.
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