Saturday, December 12, 2009

In Search of Great Customer Service

My best friend prefers not to shop at Nordstrom because the workers constantly ask you if you need help. I, on the other hand, love shopping at Nordstrom for precisely this reason. Yes, I realize that they are paid on commission, but this fosters what is usually an environment in which I can easily find a willingly helpful salesperson.

For me, great customer service is not about me, the customer, always being right. Great customer service is a pleasant greeting, knowledge of your wares, and a willingness to help. This plays a large role in where I choose to shop.

If the service is not up-to-par, especially in a place where I expect it to be good, or in a place that prides itself on its high level of service, I will often change my mind about a purchase and leave. I did just that tonight at an unexpected place, Whole Foods.

Normally, the employees at Whole Foods are helpful and nice, but the man behind the coffee counter tonight was a grouch. Staring back at me with a disdainful expression on your face in response to my, "Excuse me," is a poor form of communication, and does not convey that you heard me. I actually have tried the tea sparkler I asked about, but his grouchy stare and the lack of verbal response made me choose to leave Whole Foods, even after I got my answer.

In all fairness, this is not my usual experience at Whole Foods, but I am disappointed because I know this man's behavior is not what this company is about; not when one of its core values is "Satisfying and delighting our customers."

Now that I have bemoaned this topic, I think it would nice to share some better examples of people who demonstrate great customer service. Unfortunately, I cannot remember their names, but there are two women at Nordstrom who have been fabulous recently. One works in the TBD area and the other in Brass Plum, both at the Broadway Plaza location. They rock, and I recognize them on sight, so I seek them out whenever I have a purchase. Oh, and Kay at the fine jewelry section of the Neiman Marcus in Honolulu is almost too good.

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