New Suit? I'd Rather Have Some Cheese

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My husband needed a new suit - or at least I thought he did, so off we went to the mall. I find the mall exhausting but my spouse thinks shopping equals Home Depot, so I knew I had to go along to get the job done. To make things easier I thought we'd start at a place where we two, somewhat unwilling shoppers could get some real help. Off we went to the department store with the best reputation for customer service - something I'd experienced there myself quite often. But it seemed like no one was home.

The Men's Department was large and somewhat overwhelming. So many choices but no sales people to help. We wandered into the next department, found a sales associate who promised to send assistance. Back to Men's we went but with no help in sight and our patience wearing thin, we moved on.

Later that day I made my weekly stop at our local grocery store, a nice place as grocery stores go. But something was different. People who work at this market are reasonably friendly, but on this day everyone seemed especially eager to please. I was greeted several times, and while I stood debating whether my grandson was old enough to make pudding with me, a store employee came over to ask if I needed help. Check out was pleasant followed by offers to assist getting the bags to the car.

It was extra nice to shop there that day and I wondered if some new customer service training had occurred. And I wondered what had happened at the department store that I had always equated with great customer service. Clearly, the delivery of customer service is always in flux and is only as good as each customer's experience every day. Lots of good experiences lead to a solid reputation, but it can be lost in a moment. The other side is, however, that a store or business or service can improve its reputation immensely with a commitment to some simple changes.

Like most shoppers, I've got lots of choices for suits, groceries and most things I buy. Of course I want the best quality for my money, but I also want help when I need it, and a friendly face weighs in when I make my choice of where to go. And for better or worse, like most consumers, I probably won't give much feedback. I'll just vote with my feet and go to the place that delivers both product and service.

And by the way, we found both at second department store in the mall. My husband got a great black-on-black suit. You should see him - he looks great.

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.