We buy on emotion, and we justify those emotions with our own particular logic. Yesterday was my day; it was Saks Fifth Avenue calling to me with one of their huge shoe sales. I think it's important to be on the receiving side of business to know what great customer service really entails, and purchasing a designer pair of shoes at a significant discount doubles the pleasure.
Everyone has their own passions, and in the world of selling merchandise from Apple computers to xylophones, none of us want to admit making poor purchases. We expect to buy good products, and admittedly good products with lousy customer service still sells, but good service can steal away the competition in just a flick of the manicured toenails.
My first encounter with the sales person set the pace. She smiled; she was helpful, and she knew her product. Other customers were engaged in conversations with the sales staff attending to them, and there was a general lilt of camaraderie recognized by those of us who share the "shoe passion." Sales representatives were having as much fun as the customers. Sales personnel were zipping in and out of the stock room and returning with boxes upon boxes in lightning speed. They knew their colors, styles, manufacturers, and sizing tendencies. (some designer sizes run smaller or larger than others) No one was rushed, and it was all about my feelings yesterday and how the staff at this store made me feel.
Of course you may not understand the pleasure some women get from buying shoes, but the customer service experience we personally encounter can be a barometer how others perceive service, except those of us who write about it or train are more critical in our observations. That first impression is what I looked for when I entered the shoe department. I smiled when she smiled at me. I wanted to see how helpful she would be without hovering over me while I inspected the attractive display of every upscale designer shoe known to women around Palm Beach County. She knew instinctively to let me browse on my own until I turned around with a shoe in my hand, and there she was ready to help me find my size. I'm sure as with most customers I would not have told her if she had made me unhappy had she ignored me, smothered me, took too long to find the shoes, or didn't know her product; I just probably would not have come back.
From the beginning to the end, my experience was seamless. After she rang up my sale, she asked me by name to sign my credit card, and stepped out behind the counter, smiled, thanked me profusely, and handed me my package. I will be back.