Retail customer service – A personal experience observed, by Matthew Coppola

What does it mean to deliver good customer service in a retail or similar industry (which involves close interaction between seller and customer)?

Well for one thing, it’s all about ‘service’ – of course by being courteous, helpful, friendly and engaging. Not judging or determining a customer’s buying behaviour by what we see or hear.

It’s about the experience for the customer. Making the customer feel invited, welcomed and not pressured.

Speaking from a real personal experience, I was in a retail shop and the store was about to close in 5 minutes. At that point in time, I was at the service desk finalising a transaction for a purchase. Then suddenly two customers opened the door and just as they were about to come in, the retail sales person at the POS desk said abruptly “the store is closing in 5 minutes so you know” in a tone that I perceived as unwelcome – and so it turned out, so too did the potential customers, with them reverting back out and on the way out one of them said to the other “obviously they don’t want our money”.

The retail person then said to me that they would have just browsed anyway – not verbatim word for word, but along those lines.

Now the question is, was that a poor example of customer service?

I personally think so.

These are my reasons why:

  • It didn’t create good will – will they come back? I don’t think so.
  • The store wasn’t closed. If the open sign is up, don’t push people away.
  • If you don’t want customers to walk in, put the closed sign up 5 minutes to close.
  • Any customer that a business engages with may or may not purchase. You cannot assume and should not.

Well there you have it. An interesting scenario that teaches much about customer service from a customer’s perspective.

Matthew Coppola, Consultant

Published by Matthew Coppola - Career Coach, Employment Specialist and Professional CV Writer

Holding a graduate degree in Commerce, majoring in Economics at Curtin University, as well as a post graduate certificate in Career Education and Development at RMIT University, Matthew brings with him many years of experience working in the fields of business development, marketing, soft-skills training and employment services industry. He has gained significant exposure in working with employers in sourcing staff as well as assisting jobseekers in promoting and marketing themselves to employers and securing sustainable employment outcomes. He is currently working in Disability Employment Services where he assists clients with mental health disabilities in finding and keeping satisfying and gainful employment and helping them overcome and work around barriers to employment. He has helped many job seekers secure employment by training and coaching them in the art of being interviewed and giving the interviewer a positive and lasting impression. He knows how to sell and market a job seeker to an employer and he imparts this knowledge to his clients in helping them sell and market themselves in an interview. Matthew regularly writes new articles on a variety of employment related topics and posts these to his personal website blog

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