Keep your Customers Coming Back

This weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with my daughter.  We did the typical girl stuff; a little bit of shopping therapy and then a nice lunch before I dropped her off at work.  During our girl time, we had two very different service experiences.

My daughter loves music from the 60’s and 70’s and when she saw the Jimi Hendrix t-shirt on a mannequin, she had to have it. She looked all over the store and when she couldn’t find it, asked a sales associate for assistance.  There was only one shirt left, it was in her size and it was on the mannequin.  That shouldn’t have been a problem, right?  Wrong! My daughter was told that store policy was not to take any clothes off mannequins and that she should come back in two to three weeks when the displays changed.  To say that she was stunned (and disappointed) is an understatement.  She could not understand why the store would turn down a sure sale.  My daughter also works retail. As we were driving to the lunch, she told me about one regular who comes in, points to a mannequin and says “I want that outfit” and if that’s the only one left, the customer gets it.  As my daughter said “There are lots of other clothes in the store to dress the naked mannequin.”

Our lunch experience was completely different.  We definitely got the best section at Applebee’s that day.  If our server didn’t absolutely love her job, we sure couldn’t tell.  My daughter is vegetarian and has some particular likes and dislikes. Each request was answered positively and with a smile.   Becca engaged with every person at every table in her section.   She made eye contact, she knew the menu, she was appropriately funny and she made everybody’s day just a little bit better with her fabulous attitude and big smile.

The negative shopping experience may really have been because of store policy and not just an excuse given by a sales associate who didn’t want to be bothered. I don’t know but in the end, what really counts is, will your customer’s come back or not?  When you set your policies, keep the customer (and the money in your till) in mind, and when you hire, don’t settle for anything less than Becca.

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