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Let’s talk Customer Service

My blog was going to be about finding the right pants but my shopping experiences this last week have customer service top of mind.  I’ll save the pants discussion until next week.  I worked retail in high school, college and then went into retail management.   In the stores I worked in, our customers expected the best service.  I worked in a high end boutique during my college years where a two-piece outfit would run around $500 which is still pricey today.  When I managed my own store, even though we were always short staffed, service was everything.   I have carried that philosophy with me into my technology career.  Even though my “customers” are fellow employees, delivering an exceptional and delightful experience is job one, no matter how difficult.

Today I expect good customer service whether I am shopping online or in a physical store.  Those retailers who don’t put the customer first as a key to success are ones I do not go back to unless I just can’t find what I need anywhere else which with today’s online options is getting very rare.

 A good to great experience:

  1. I feel welcomed when I enter
  2. The staff checks back with me even if I said I was just browsing
  3. Start a dressing room, take the items to the register or offer a cart/basket.
  4. Make additional recommendations to compliment what I’ve already found whether it’s clothing or wrapping paper for a gift
  5. Stay engaged during checkout
  6. Thank me for my purchase

This seems like a no brainer but there are retailers who don’t provide this experience.  You know the ones where the employees feel bothered that you’ve interrupted their work of stocking items, gossiping with a fellow employee or already have a customer so don’t take a brief moment to say hello or “I’ll be right with you”.

I made the mistake this week of heading to the mall.  I know, I know but I needed to try on Victoria’s Secret’s new style before purchasing.  It didn’t dawn on me that there would be a bazillion teenagers school shopping.  I love the VS online experience and have been a loyal customer for years.  I tend to forget that the in store experience isn’t the same.  I did get greeted when I came in and the person told me her name, but then I realized when I finally got to checkout that it was for “credit of sales” purposes rather than service.  I wandered the store looking for a certain item and even though at least 5 salespeople passed me, I could not get anyone’s attention for help and as you can imagine, I am neither quiet or shy.  I had to wait 20 minutes at the fitting rooms before I could try on.  A simple acknowledgement that there were 6 of us waiting, all rooms were full and they would get us in as soon as possible would have sufficed.  One of the Mom’s finally told the fitting room attendant that several rooms were empty.  When I checked out, the salesperson was friendly and asked who helped me (ahh, yes the only one who told me her name…) and if I found everything, well “No” but was she really going to leave the register to help me find what the other 10 salespeople could have, I think not.  So reminder to self, shop VS online.  At least now I know I love their new style, sigh.

The one store I frequent often is White House Black Market.  The sales staff is exceptional.  They make me feel like we’re having a clothing party with close friends.  My favorite salesperson, Lynn, knows what I already have, is great at showing me things I wouldn’t normally try on but look fab and I always walk out of the store feeling like I just had the best experience.

That same week of venturing to the mall I had to take my youngest to get his school supplies so we went to Target at 8am.  We aren’t really near Target so I’m not a frequent shopper but we were nearby after his 7am orthodontist appointment and I thought I could get groceries and have one less stop.  It would be painful but hey, 30 minutes would be tolerable.  I was pleasantly surprised.  At least 4 salespeople helped me in different parts of the store to find school supplies and groceries.  And the teenager at checkout, even though quite chatty for a senior in high school, was incredibly friendly and fast.  So my feeling when I walked out of Target of all places, “why don’t I shop here more often?”.

As I blog weekly, not only do I care about things that will fit your unique body type and make you feel beautiful, but I also will also have the experience top of mind.  After all, finding the right item to purchase should be just as fabulous of an experience as wearing it!


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