Is bad customer service letting your store down?

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Mo Mohsenin on the little retail lessons that last a lifetime.

By Mo Mosehnin

Having worked in the luxury industry for over 20 years, I am often still flabbergasted by poor customer service that lets so many great retailers down.

Just the other day as I was walking through a well known London store, I asked a lady behind the till for directions, to which she replied ‘can you ask someone else, I am busy wrapping’. Clearly multitasking was a foreign notion to her.

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Many moons ago, I worked in the PR and marketing department of a British luxury department store, attending an induction day for new staff as an observer. The words of one manager who came along to speak still ring true in my ears each time I am at the receiving end of bad, indifferent, lacklustre, or far too often rude customer service. ‘Imagine that this store is a theatre’ was her opener ‘and that we are all actors on the stage putting on the best show anyone has ever seen. Once the doors open, the curtains go up, we put on our costumes, enter centre stage and make each performance look as vital, exciting and fresh as if it is the first time that our audience (the customers) have ever seen it – and as if it’s the first time that we have ever performed it’.

Now that may sound like rather pretentious retail jargon, but the point is, no matter how grand your space, how wonderful the stock, how perfect your location or how amazing the advertising and PR, if your customer-facing front of line staff don’t deliver great service, the chance of repeat business diminishes rapidly and the brand’s reputation and image can be damaged.

The answer? Quite a simple rule: invest in and value your staff. Offer as much training and support as possible, and ensure they feel passionate about representing the brand. Contrary to popular belief, the best brand ambassadors are not the celebrities you have to pay millions for, but the people who are standing behind your tills.

Mo Mohsenin is the director of Pink Umbrella marketing and PR, whose clients include Carat* and FreyWille. This Guest Column was taken from the June issue of Professional Jeweller. To read the issue in full online, click here.

 

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