Top News

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: Customer service is a vital part of shopping

It’s kind of a big deal

What is it that brings you back to the same store, same restaurant, garage or hairdresser time after time?

Is it the price, the choice, the location, or is it something else?

Recently, I was shopping the sales at a local family owned clothing store. I tend to buy a lot of my clothes there. The post-Christmas deals were certainly worth a look. As I perused the racks of markdown pants and tops, I accumulated an armful of things to try on. At those prices I was planning to make a killing.

A salesperson observed me trying to juggle my purse, winter coat and about seven garments on my arm while going through the racks.

“Would you like me to put those in a dressing room for you?”

“Yes, thank you very much!”

And then I had an empty arm to collect more things to try on. She came back three more times to relieve me of my ‘possibilities.’ When I finally stopped looking and decided to try everything on, I went into the dressing room, and there were all the things I had selected, lined up on the hooks.

That’s some good customer service, I thought as I shut the door.

Emerging from the dressing room to preen in front of the mirror, I caught the eye of another salesperson who was helping a customer find the right winter coat.

“No,” she said, looking at me over the top of her glasses.

“You mean this top?”

“Yes, it’s not the best on you and you have many more beautiful choices to try on.”

“Don’t go away!”

In and out of the dressing room I went, seeking a yes or no from this perceptive woman. I couldn’t help but think the only other person in my life who ever gave me honest feedback on clothing, hairstyles and makeup was my mother. Since mom has not been available for a few years, I decided to trust this sales person.

I ended up buying a top and a pair of pants that, I have to admit, looked fabulous on me. I think that without her help I might have bought them anyway, but I would have also bought a few other pieces – clothing that I knew would have stayed in the closet until the time came to do a ruthless cleanout.

At the checkout I thanked her for the honest feedback.

“I have to tell you that I have never, not in this shop nor any other, received this kind of help with my choices. You were honest and not afraid to tell me what I needed to hear. Thank you so very much!”

As I left the shop, I thought of the many ‘fails’ that filled my closet; things I had bought just because they were on sale or just because they fit, but never wore them because they just weren’t right. I remembered a beautiful powder blue tunic I had bought at 70 per cent off three years ago. It still hangs in my closet, still waiting to be worn. Seventy per cent off is a great deal if you’re going to wear something, but a total waste if only the hanger gets to show it off. I wish more salespeople were able to be as forthcoming and helpful as the one I met that day.

Customer service. I don’t know about you, but I go to the same stores and restaurants time and again because of it. Customer service is what brings me back to the same mom and pop garage for my car repairs. It’s service people who go the extra mile and see you as a person, not a ‘sale.’ It’s the smile and “how are you doing today?”

Think about it. How important is customer service to you?

A native of Newfoundland, Christine Faour is now ensconced in Coldbrook. After a lifetime spent teaching, she now spends her time knitting, tending her lavender hobby farm and writing about her take on life at anourishedlife.ca. She has written one book, Eat Where You Are, a memoir in recipes

Recent Stories