This post is not designed to throw brickbats, but neither is it designed to throw bouquets.

You see, I would have thought that coming out of lock down, business owners and their staff would be ‘falling over’ themselves to entice people away from on-line shopping and back into their businesses with great service.

I wonder why this may not be the case?
Could it be that Business owners and staff are indifferent now to customers?

Maybe they think customers will come back when they’re ready!

Possibly business owners have lost the art of making customers feel welcome, since we’ve been in lock-down!

Potentially retail has lost the art of the sale, understanding the problem the customer has and providing a solution that fits the customer’s needs.

In my opinion, if Business owners and staff can’t get back to understanding that ‘service’ is the real commodity they sell, then customers will stay away to the detriment of retail and continue the on-line shopping trend. We will continue to see the decline of the retail shop. Jeff Bezos and his cronies will be more than happy.

3 stories, 2 brickbats and a bouquet.

The Bouquet
I went to J & S Accessories in Maidstone and was attended to by Tom, a young sales assistant. He went to great lengths to find out what I needed, what the problem I had was, and offered a great solution. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the products I needed, and even suggested an alternative. I felt really well looked after, and enjoyed the experience. We will continue to do business.

Brickbat 1
I went into a store in SE Kent and went to the counter where two people were talking, as I needed help with the items I wanted to purchase. I waited as they were in animated discussion. After about 30 – 40 seconds without being acknowledged, I left to look at the products I wanted. Quite fairly I couldn’t touch them during these times, so I looked toward the counter again, waiting to either be acknowledged or have someone come to help me. Another staff member was standing their watching. I waited. After about 5 minutes I gave up. I went to the counter and asked to speak to the Manager. I outlined what had happened, hoping to receive some form of acknowledgement, that he had been let down by lack service.
He was quite indifferent about the issue. All I wanted was an acknowledgment that I had been ‘seen’ and someone would attend to me when they could. As it was, £1400 walked out the door with me, and I won’t attend that store again.

Brickbat 2
I went to a store in Bluewater having rung up 2 days previously to ensure the products I wanted were there. I was told they were. I made an appointment. When I arrived, the items weren’t ready for my viewing. I overhead one of the other staff say to the sales assistant to apologise because the items weren’t ready. She didn’t! While I waited for them to make the product available, I overhead another staff say to a customer, “Oh I don’t know, it’s my first day back, and I haven’t been trained it that.” Oh, wow I thought.
Trying to make a purchase here, was one of the most frustrating experiences I have encountered. As I needed the product, I was obliged to purchase it. But I will never ever go back to this store again.

May I respectfully say, please Business owners, train yourself and your staff to ‘serve’ your customers that come in the door. Realise they don’t have to come to you, but when they do, you have a chance to:
form a relationship with them,
upsell,
cross-sell and allow that customer to tell their friends about the great experience they had in your business.

Service in these strange times will make or break a Business.