“Chalk and Cheese” of Customer Service

Isn’t it amazing how customer service can differ so much from one store to the next? Recently, I took my son shopping.

SHOP A was busy. We found some trainers we liked and looked around for assistance. With trainers in hand I was showing obvious “buying signals”, yet we were left alone. I went to find someone and was advised that an assistant wouldn’t be long. A staff member arrived 10 minutes later. No welcoming smile or “Hello how may I help you?” Instead the young girl looked at me and just said “What size?”. On her return she handed us the trainers and stood back. There was no initiation of conversation and no selling techniques used. No questions asked “How do they feel?” or “How about these? They’re very fashionable and your friends at school will be so jealous”. No personal recommendation or link selling “Why not buy a football they are on offer today for only £4”. The assistant left without a goodbye and we went to the till, where we queued for about 20 minutes. At the till there were no welcoming smiles or friendly words from the staff member. My payment was processed in a very fast, robotic manner. I heard a “thanks” in a dull and monotone voice. And then a very loud “NEXT” which gave me and my son such a shock that we both laughed. I glanced back and noticed the queue twice as long and still just one member of staff on the till.

SHOP B was just around the corner and also busy. On entering we were immediately greeted by a female member of staff with a warm smile “Good Morning, what a beautiful day”. We wandered around. Another staff member greeted us with a genuine smile and said “Hello” as he passed and asked if we would like assistance. I asked a couple of questions about the gift I was holding, to which he answered in full. He pointed out an offer on similar items and personally recommended another (slightly more expensive). He chatted to my son about football. I ended up buying the original item and the item that he recommended. I’ve since returned to buy the items on offer. “If the customer likes you, they are more likely to buy off you”, which is exactly what I did.

Wonderful experience in SHOP B. Sadly, not so wonderful in SHOP A.

So why does this happen? In SHOP A why weren’t the staff smiling, friendly and welcoming? Was anyone coaching, guiding and motivating them? Where was the manager/supervisor? Why was no one monitoring the queue and opening additional tills? I felt I was an interruption and got the impression the staff couldn’t care less if I bought anything. Had my son not had his heart set on the trainers, we would have been long gone.

SHOP B’s experience has to be due to extremely effective customer service training and excellent, effective management. The staff showed a genuine interest in us. We will definitely be returning.