My Stage is the World

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive

Service with a smile

on April 26, 2012

Smiley faceShopping is a girl’s favourite pastime, especially after payday when the size 6 fits you!

Of course the experience is made by the customer service you receive in the shops. Now, I’ve worked in retail and trying to be nice to everyone when you’re having ‘one of those days’ ain’t easy. Except that it is. A smile costs nothing and even more fun is inventing stories and characters to amuse or flatter your customer.

“Oh I love this top – I wore it on my birthday.” you say to a lady buying a hideous gold sequinned vest. Flirting with old men buying jewellery for their wives… and mistresses. Endless fun and I really enjoyed it.

Positivity really does make a difference and people respond and cheer up because of it.

I went shopping on Wednesday – the anaesthetic was wearing off and I felt a bit dizzy – retail therapy seemed a good idea. But who won the customer service awards?

Not Primark.

  • I’m not a huge fan of Primark, but they do quite nice baby clothes and occasionally they’ll surprise you with a total bargain. Aside from looking like a jumble sale and smelling… well, cheap, the staff often leave a lot to be desired. My cashier (I bought some AWESOME wellies – whether they’re waterproof or not is another matter) ignored me completely and didn’t say a single word to me. Her colleague was chattering away nonstop to her customer, but I let her be – perhaps her husband had died and she was struggling to get through the day?
  • As I walked into Specsavers to pick up my new glasses (exciting) I was faced by about eight members of staff, all hastily trying to swallow the chocolates they were eating. They all started forward in their race to service me. A young(ish) boy won and apologised for his chocolatey face. He adjusted my glasses and was very smiley and chatty – it was his first day. No problem there – bad service wouldn’t have put me off! My Karen Millen glasses were £125 but because I have lensemail they were only £45 so even with extra-thin lenses and anti-reflective coating they were a bargainous £85!
  • The boy in HMV looked tired and overcharged me. He apologised profusely and explained that he’d given his dissertation in that morning and hadn’t slept in 3 days. I could easily sympathise with him – giving in my MA dissertation was one of the worst days of my life (until Sean Bean hugged me) and I was sent home from work for looking like a zombie. I told him to go to bed.
  • But the overall winner is Marks and Spencer. I was trying to buy lunch – not easy when it’s a) raining (soggy salad anyone?) and b) you can’t eat wheat. I couldn’t find the free-from range but a nice lady not only showed me the range, but brought me samples of each product. Her colleague then printed off a list of all their gluten-free foods – which includes Percy Pigs HURRAH (but not Smarties as I found out at the hospital) – a list of some FORTY pages! I also got a free carrier bag from a friendly cashier.

So if you work in retail – and even if you don’t – it really does pay to make someone’s experience pleasant.

Go on smile at someone on the tube or ask the grumpy man on the bus a question. I dare you!

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