You say tomato, I say tomato


Version 2

I was in a favorite cooking store today looking at all sorts of things that I did not need but some how felt I could not live without.  It is part of the attraction of this store.  While there, I had the opportunity to listened in on a conversation between a customer and a salesperson about cookware.  As they approached the fixture the customer said, “This is the type of Calphalon I use” mispronouncing the brand in the process.

“It’s Calphalon” the employee stated rather emphatically while using the common pronunciation.  I was a bit stunned by the strong correction coming from the clerk and anyone could see the annoyance on the customer’s face at being corrected.  I thought to myself that the clerk did not need to correct the customers pronunciation and the correction did not move the service forward.

Their conversation continued on and once again the customer mispronounced Calphalon to which the store employee once more scolded, “It’s pronounced Calphalon.”

“Whatever,” huffed the customer, “I was just wondering if you had this type in stock.”  I could see the interaction continue to disintegrate before me.


Teachable Moment

I agree with Apple and their training that strongly recommends against correcting a customer.  Their advice is simply to use the correct pronunciation yourself and let the customer self correct if they chose.

In the situation I observed, the salesperson did not move the service forward by correcting the customer the first time.  The correction may have been well-meaning but the annoying look given by the customer clearly signaled that they did not like being corrected.

When the salesperson corrected her the second time, they clearly crossed the line into the realm of bad service.  To me as an observer, the salesperson seemed patronizing and condescending and it appeared that the customer took it this way too.  It was only a short time later that I saw the customer leaving the store empty-handed.  Fortunately for her, I know of at least three other stores in the mall that sell Calphalon or as she like to say Calphalon.

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