Bad Customer Service Is Killing Retail 1

Bad Customer Service is Killing Retail

I’m sure you can think of a time when you’ve had an exceptional experience buying something because of the customer service that you received. Perhaps, you may have even purchased something you weren’t looking for SIMPLY because of the buying experience.

Excellent customer service in the retail industry is an absolute necessity. Without the right people on your staff, you’re not going to be able to maintain and grow a successful, and respected business. 

Let me explain the importance of customer service from my recent experiences:

The long weekend in May I visited La Vie En Rose in Moncton, New Brunswick. I wandered into their store simply to take a look around and an hour later, I exited with a bag filled with merchandise I hadn’t intended to buy.

From the moment I walked in, I experienced great customer service. I was greeted immediately, advised of the promotions and then left to browse.  When I started to pick up a few items, the sales associate came back and asked if I’d like to try them on.  Again, I was advised of the promotion and when I expressed the tiniest bit of interest, the sales associate skilfully asked questions and made several merchandise recommendations.

If you don’t know, La Vie En Rose sells lingerie, sleepwear, and swimwear. It’s one of those places where you really want to try things on before you buy them to ensure they are the right fit. At the same time, it’s not super convenient to leave the fitting room to get a different size when you need one based on the nature of the merchandise they sell.

The service was fantastic and the fitting room care was over the top. I left the store that day spending over $500, way above their average sale, I’m sure.

The internet is not killing bricks and mortar retail, lousy #CustomerService is. Click To Tweet

Contrast that with a visit to the same retailer in Cranbrook B.C. on July 17th.

We’re away on vacation for two weeks and I realized when I was packing that I had left every single one of my swimsuits at our home in Florida. Come on, you can’t visit the spa and the Radium Springs in British Columbia without a swimsuit!

After having such a great experience in Moncton, I was happy to see that there was a La Vie En Rose where I could shop.

My experience was drastically different.

There was no immediate greeting. No one advised me of the promotions and next to no service in the fitting room at all.

I had to get dressed back into my clothes three times to look for different sizes. Standing in a swimsuit, I expressed my lack of enthusiasm for shopping to the Assistant Store manager to which she responded with, “I think all women feel this way.”

I left the store with one swimsuit, which cost $89 and ONLY because I really needed one.

I spent 6x the amount of money in their store back in May when their sales associate cared about customer service.  But on July 17th, I left frustrated and annoyed and feeling like retailers, in general, need a wake-up call.

The internet is not killing bricks and mortar retail, lousy customer service is.

After I exited the store, I immediately pulled up the La Vie En Rose Facebook page and sent them a message.  This is the response I received:

La Vie En Rose

Even the people taking care of customer service on social media don’t seem to care about the customer’s experience.  There was no inquiry as to what happened and no attempt to make things better. (Although I abhor being offered a gift card for bad service).

This is what is killing retail everywhere. No one seems to care anymore about customer service.

As a business owner, the people who are on your team are so important to the success of your business. Choose those people wisely.

Always INspect what you EXpect and ensure that your expectations are clear when your employees start.

Leave a comment and let me know, have you ever had a poor customer service experience that prevented you from ever going back to that store?


1 thought on “Bad Customer Service is Killing Retail”

  1. I like how you said that good service is what led you to spend $500 that day. I agree that customer service is essential. A shop needs to be set up in a way that attracts customers but it is their employees that will keep them there.

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