Monday, June 22, 2009

Customer service 101...

Sometimes, a girl just needs to change things up a little bit, you know? So I decided to go sniff around a little bit and see what other scents I might find out there at the perfume counter. Normally, I shop online with few exceptions, and when I do go to stores I try to keep it local as often as possible. My main reasons:
1) The convenience of shopping at home on my own schedule versus a retail stores hours
2) The excitement of the box coming to my home, usually with free samples if cosmetics are involved
3) Free shipping, sometimes no sales tax
5) Whenever possible, keeping my money in my neighborhood. I'm friendly with many small business owners in my area and admire them for being gutsy enough to start their own businesses. And let me tell you, many business owners in my area have taken a chance on me and supported me in my efforts to create a fun ladies event, but that's another blog, and another story...
P.S. Anyone ladies reading the Swap N Shop blog are invited, email me/post a comment if you want details or are interested in setting up a Swap N Shop event in your city.

I decided to give my local Macy's store a go and pop on in. Now, the Macy's by my house is in a failing shopping center which is slotted for major renovations. If you go to this store, it is pretty much you, some senior citizens and crickets chirping. So I approach the counter and there is a gaggle of women who work there sitting on stools chatting. I get that, there are no customers. But when a customer approaches you should at least stand and fan out a bit. Right? One of the women was able to tear herself away from her shift of coffee talk and meander over to half heartedly help me. There was a perfume I liked, and I asked her what was in it, as I have allergies. She was just kind enough to tell me the information was on the back of the bottle. Oh-kay...... So she offered nothing further. Again, I could hear the crickets in the store chirping. I asked if she had a sample. She spritzed a bit onto the paper with the name of the perfume on it. Again, real helpful. I clarified that I meant "sample" not "spritz." Now, at most make-up counters this would prompt the salesperson to either give the sample, or if not available offer suggestions on other products to try. I got none of the above. Feeling frustrated I thought to myself "screw this" and asked for a pen so I could write down the perfume I was interested in. I was given the pen and she walked away. Walked away. Like, back to the tea party with the same people she had spent the majority of her shift with. Um, how fast can I say "Sephora?"
I left so frustrated. And my beef is this:
In a troubled economy, wouldn't you want to earn a sale or customer? Retain the ones you have? Keep business in your area versus send it right back out the door? Why encourage people to shop elsewhere when you already have them right in front of you? And I have to admit that I called the store manager to convey these thoughts. I mean, really, I don't want to see businesses in my own zip code fail. The very area where I pay taxes. Why do I want to see more people unemployed, or not earning enough money to pay their bills each month? And while my $50-$80 purchase may not have paid the electric bill at Macy's, wouldn't it have been better than no sale?
The Macy's episode really reminded me of why when I go out to eat, I prefer small, locally owned businesses. Why when I shop for certain items, I like to shop small and local. (Other than my online shopping...) Support YOUR small business owners. Keep your money in your community. Or, spend it with someone who appreciates it.
If you haven't already heard about it, check out the 3/50 Project. Pretty interesting.


Ashley said...

Ew, lame/poor customer service is so annoying!!! What did the store manager have to say?

And bytheway, totally hilarious about leaving your keys in Kroger and calling from the parking lot - haha, oh so funny, the "walk of shame". You had me laughing...thanks!!

La Belette Rouge said...

I hear you!!! I have come to abhor in store shopping. I love free shipping, free shipping returns and not making the trip for the mall only to find out they don't have what I want. I also dislike having to deal with salespeople who don't want to help me. For all these reasons I rarely go to the mall in my home town.

Also, we live in an area where almost all the restaurants are chains( I hate that). I prefer eating at non-chains. It takes a lot of effort to do that in my neck of the woods.

Gwen said...

Sounds like most experiences I have with retail sales personnel anymore. I don't think they value their jobs at all. Hopefully you found great service at Sephora!!! XOXO

Polly said...

I just cannot understand when it was that people stopped caring - and clearly its global as DD and I had similar service when he was trying to find some aftershave a couple of months ago.

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