Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Customer service

I went suit-shopping yesterday, with Bedouin. It was us, and mothers and frustrated high-school students who had come out of one of their final examinations that day. We went to the first shop, where Bedouin tried on suits and I criticized relentlessly (it's what I do best). We spent almost 30 minutes just going through stuff. Even though the men's section of the shop was almost deserted (except for us and a man wearing scrubs and another accompanying him), and even though there were at least 3 workers roaming the empty space, none of them approached us. No one wondered whether we were looking for something specific, whether the size was fine, or even showed interest in offering help.
We did not get anything from that shop.
We walked into another shop. We find a suit, and Bedouin tries on the jacket. The shop was also empty, with at least three workers. There was one worker dressing a mannequin, one approaching us very slowly to give Bedouin the pants, and the third busy giving us very weird - almost unwelcoming looks. They were definitely more active than the ones in the previous shop - one handed the pants over and the other was grabbing a different size of a shirt (the third was taking a surprisingly long time dressing the dummy). No more. They offered no opinion, no suggestions, nothing.
We did not end up buying a suit that day.
A week ago, I went into a lingerie shop with my mom in that same mall. The shop, as tiny as it was, had 5 workers - with very big 'welcoming' smiles on their faces. Like a fish I was snatched by a shark - err worker. "Can I help you with anything?" - "No thanks, I just walked in, and am just looking around". He walks away, fewf! It takes only one minute for another worker to come and tell me about the 'new collection of underwear'. I nod, thank him politely and walk away. Another worker chimed in a couple of seconds later to tell me that they have 'three other colors of this.. and two more of that'. I left when the fourth told me "this (name a lingerie piece that is extremely inappropriate to discuss and should clearly be chosen alone) would look amazing on you."
I walked into another store, one that sold clothing, makeup and shoes. I had to cross two rows of booths selling makeup to reach the clothing section. "Try this mascara on - it just came in today morning!" (Bedouinette nods and smiles politely). "This new concealer is almost sold out - get one before it is gone!"........ and it goes on, until I tell one who harassed me with his offers - "I really do not use makeup that often" - "and you look great like that, madame!". So much for promoting your product, huh?

My point of all of this is that there is a twisted, tainted, cropped, distorted image of how customer service should be like. A man spending 15 minutes choosing a suit, trying on a couple and still looking indecisive DOES need help, and needs to know about the new collection and cuts. A woman buying simple underwear most probably doesn't.

- Bedouinette

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