Is Customer Service Dead or Merely Taking a Long Winter's Nap

13 February 2012


When was the last time that you received exceptional customer service? What did it look like? How did it feel?
Just last week I witnessed an extraordinary event while shopping at a local department store. My elderly friend was in the women’s department and didn’t see any clothing that she liked. She said she guessed she just wasn’t in a buying mood.  I went upstairs and when I returned about 10 minutes later, I was amazed to see her at the register with three complete outfits. As I was helping her gather her bags, I told her that she had certainly changed her mind in the short time I was gone.  She proceeded to share what had transpired.  The sales associate had begun a conversation with her, started showing her different combinations of shirts, sweaters and pants and made suggestions of what she thought looked nice together.  It was the same clothing my friend was looking at before I left, so what had changed?  Certainly it was not the clothing.  What had changed was my friends’ attitude toward making a purchase.  The sales associate had spent time with her, making her feel like she was the only customer there.  She helped my friend visualize how nice the outfits would look – how she convinced an 85 year old lady who has two closets FULL of clothes that she needs three new outfits – I’ll never know.
What I do know is that my friend was delighted with her new clothes, she had been made to feel very special and she had made a $350 purchase.  From my viewpoint, it was a win-win situation for my friend and the department store. I didn’t speak with the sales associate but I believe she felt she was just “doing her job”.  It was obvious the sales associate and my friend had enjoyed the interaction. We felt she had provided exceptional customer service. By her actions she had ensured my friend would be a repeat customer and had also made a great sale for her employer.
This is a good lesson learned for all of us in customer service – make sure we take the time to make our members/customers feel special, actively listen to them and create a loyal member/customer by going the “extra mile”.
So as you can see, customer service is not dead – but it does seem to nod off more often than it should.