Thursday, August 09, 2007

What a Wonderful Day!

I just cannot believe how well today went!

Maybe it was because I went to bed early last night and woke up feeling utterly refreshed and ready for anything. Maybe everybody else was in a good mood. Perhaps there was something in the air that decided today would be good.

I didn't have any staff moaning at me. The customers were all lovely. Robert, for the first time ever, got through the entire day without upsetting or annoying anybody. Every task I endeavoured seemed to slot very nicely into my day - nothing seemed to eat up too much time.

If only every day could be like that one, I'd be a truly happy person.

Another Retained Card
This morning, Angela got a message on her till that instructed her to retain the customer's credit card. When this happens, as readers will probably know, the retailer is being instructed to withhold the card because the issuer suspects there is something amiss that must be stopped immediately. Well, in theory this is the case. Nine times out of ten, when the customer telephones the card issuer for an explanation, the lying, snivelling little toads will push the blame onto us and tell them "oh, there really is no reason Food Place should have kept your card."

When I was first summoned to today's incident, I was thinking 'oh Christ, here we go, a perfect day ruined!' But the customer couldn't have been more understanding. Their exact words were: "Well, at least it's reassuring to know that the banks are monitoring your cards and they'll pick up on anything fraudulent."

I nearly collapsed and died from shock. I have never known a customer take such a positive outlook on something as unpleasant as having their card snatched from them by a supermarket. The man was so pleasant about it all and I'd really like to thank him. Right here, on this blog. A public thank you message to one of the most surprisingly understanding customers I've ever dealt with.

Ah, on days like these, retail actually seems like a worthwhile occupation.

Performance Review
Tomorrow morning, I have my 6-monthly performance review with Terry. I haven't actually had one of these bi-annual meetings now since last September, but never mind. I'm not exactly devastated that I'm overdue a grilling on my ability to do my job.

Terry is one of those people who can turn a short, snappy, informal procedure into a major operation. He takes 200 words to say what can be said in 20. He poses questions and then rambles on for so long "just giving you a feel" for what he wants to hear, that he answers the bloody question for you. He moves away from the corporate-standard format for the review and adds his own questions. And don't even start me on targets.

The targets he set me last September ranged from the impossible to the downright insulting. Or, in the case of: "I want to see you drive cash discrepancies down to no more than £3 per week", both. I was infuriated that he completely disregarded the progress I'd already made (discrepancies averaging at £7 per week versus £44 under my predecessor) and set me a ridiculous target that worked out at 3p per till per day. Yes, I agree, I would absolutely love to have such small discrepancies all the time and, in fact, we do achieve the £3 figure around 1 week in every 4. But to set it as a benchmark for every week!

Other targets left me rolling my eyes. "Make sure the progress chart for cashiers is updated every week." Err, Terry, I do it every Monday morning as part of my routine! Was he really having to pick his brains so hard for a target that he couldn't scrape anything better than that? Because making sure a chart is updated is really going to improve my job satisfaction.

But for every insult, there's a compliment. I went into my last review fully expecting to be unjustly slated, but I got a lot of positive feedback. So positive, I felt quite humbled. Didn't exactly reduce me to tears, but it was very nice to know he does appreciate me - sometimes.

Tills Upgrade
The till system had an upgrade installed last night that has greatly improved the speed at which it operates. No more waiting 3-10 seconds for the cash drawer to flip open after the transaction is processed. No more waiting 10 seconds for the system to ready itself for the next customer. It's instantaneous now. As soon as you press a key, the system does what you asked it to.

There's been some other changes too. A lot of the menus have changed around or been tampered with so options can now be found in different places. This resulted in a lot of cashiers sitting scrolling through screen-after-screen, feeling like wallies, just trying to weigh a banana.

Never fear, we shall adapt to this shiny new way of doing things soon enough.


Al said...

I love days where everything goes to plan. I love them even more when I was expecting it to be a crappy day. I'm expecting tomorrow to be a crappy day so we'll see what happens.

I've never had to retain a card before but judging by some of the reactions I get from customers whose cards are refused, I'm quite glad about that.

I remember when they changed all of our tills and moved everything around. Takes ages to remember where everything is again. It didn't make them any quicker though, in fact it slowed them down.

Although saying that we seem to have two different types of till in our store. Most of them are fairly slow but there are some which are far quicker and things happen when you ask them to, rather than a couple of seconds later. Typically, the photo lab till is one of the slow ones.

Pizza Hut Team Member said...

I don't think, even if our credit card machine said "retain card" we would. I've never heard about it happening to us, but it is too much hassle. If the bank really thinks there is a problem surely all they need to do is put a block on the account.

Our tills are constantly being updated with the latest software. They're pretty reliable, but recently the whole system just freezes. You can have 3 servers standing there with money ready to put in their cash draws. They're all hitting cash, but nothing happens - then at once, all the draws spring open! One of the tills totally refuses to connect to the network but somehow occasionally sends error messages to the receipt printers and prints them off.

James UK said...

Do you know if they upgraded the main software, like moving from Windows 98 to XP, or just the program you use?

I would have thought having the same options in different places was better, a bit like having something in "start / programs / internet / connections" etc and a shortcut for the same thing on the desktop and in "files / recent" for example. Some people know it in one place, others use the start menu only etc. Perhaps I read that wrong?

This is only my view, but I bet the "nice bloke" who had his card retained wasn't the actual cardholder, but the fraudster... he'd have wanted to get out as quickly as possible without any fuss. On a personal level, I've had to deal with loads of transactions like this at the bank, and I'd say 99.9% of the actual cardholders will always scream and shout, and it's the quiet "I'll come back later" / "Don't worry, I'll ring them outside on my mobile" who turn out to be the criminals.

Just my 2 cents of course!

Off to Sainsbury's now to see if I can find any cents (or "sense is what you bloody need!" according to the "other half") of my own...

Hope the appriasal was OK. I always try and slip in the line "I bend over backwards to accommodate (whatever)" just to get a laugh... ;-)

AggressiveAdmin said...

No they haven't changed the operating system, just altered the functions to make way for some new things they're introducing in the next upgrade. You always know it's a bad upgrade when you get a little manual in advance to explain new procedures. That's when you think 'shit, I need to train everybody'. I remember when they first introduced integrated E-topup and E-pay. It was hell.

I don't *think* the man was a fraudster as the other card he used was in the same name. He's also a semi-regular customer and, if I were a fraudster, I wouldn't shit on my own doorstep so to speak.

Pizza Hut TM - you should retain them and send them back because there's a £50 personal reward for doing so. Makes it worth the hassle :)

Pizza Hut Team Member said...

50 quid! How can I get Pizza Hut to sign up to retaining cards....hmm