Suzi Shopper: Personalized Service…or Stalker?

Suzi Shopper: Thoughts on business from a consumer’s perspective

We’ve all been there.  We walk into a retail store and we are immediately approached by a sales person, asking how they can assist.  This is a good thing, acknowledging your customers when they walk in the door—because there’s nothing more annoying than being ignored by the salespeople when you walk into a store. Or is there? When the response is “I’m just browsing,” it is time to fade into the shadows.  It is not the time to follow your customer around, commenting on everything they touch.  Best to let them know your name, that you’re available if they have questions or need anything, then step back, busy yourself, yet still be visible, so when your customer does need assistance, you are there to help.

On the flip side, there are those stores where you expect—and, quite frankly, need—more personalized attention.  For example, my favorite place to buy women’s undergarments is Soma. Why? Because they give very personalized attention. They will measure you (if you want them to), ask questions so they understand what you are looking for, describe the options, make suggestions, even tell you the proper way to wear items for the best look and comfort. Then, they will gather the styles in the correct size and bring them to your dressing room, making as many trips as necessary—no undressing, getting dressed again to go back out onto the floor, undressing again to try on more, and on and on.  It saves considerable amounts of time and frustration!

And to take it a step further, there are those fine clothiers, such as Canali, whose clientele require and expect immediate, impeccable, and professional attention.

What type of retailer are you? Do you have specific training on how your staff approaches and works with customers? How do you incent your staff to ensure that they don’t go from attentive and stalker?