Let’s hear it for good service!
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s bad service. Whether it’s in shops, restaurants, banks or the local council, if you’re dealing with the public I think you should enjoy being helpful, otherwise don’t do it. In my student days I had a Saturday job selling ‘ladies separates’ at Debenhams and I was very good at it. It wasn’t always fun, sometimes it was grindingly boring but I would make the most of it and go out of my way to be helpful – after all, that’s what I was paid for! Customer looking for their size? I would make a great show of checking in the fitting room and even in the stock room several floors down, just so they felt they were being looked after. Customer wanting another department? Nothing’s too much trouble madam! I would escort them so I knew they’d got there safely, rather than waving vaguely in the general direction. Not only was it helpful to them, it made my job less dull and of course, customers appreciated it.
Today I experienced two separate incidents of excellent service. The first was in Paul Smith, a shop with such a sterling reputation for service, I wouldn’t be surprised if the staff are trained by Mr Smith himself. Unbeknown to me, my dear D had been trying to track down this Paul Smith T-shirt for me after I’d expressed an interest. The poor soul had tried both the London branches, online and a branch in Nottingham all to no avail. Luckily, this being Paul Smith, his contact, Ebony wasn’t from the ‘if it’s not there we haven’t got it’ school of salesmanship. No, she did some investigating and managed to pin down the elusive tee, forwarding it to our local branch in Portobello. Result? Two very satisfied customers.
A hop and a skip from Paul Smith, we ambled past Alice’s Antiques, but doubled back after a set of junky canvas chairs (ex-Wimbledon!) caught our eye. £5 each and perfect for our impending barbeque. This shop has been around forever but I don’t think I’ve even been inside. It’s knick-knack heaven! While I eyed up the old hat stands, piles of canvas suitcases, vintage tennis racquets and gently-ravaged Union Jack flags, D went off to enquire about the chairs. By the time he came back two minutes later, we’d got ourselves a deal of seven chairs and a galvanised metal tub for the garden and a lift home in the owner’s van there and then. How can you top that? When it comes to good service it’s really not difficult, it’s all about showing an interest in the customer and the reward is that customer will not only come back, but tell all their mates. Which is why I’m telling you. So now your turn…who’s delighted you with good service this week?
2 August, 2008 @ 8:33 pm
Totally unrelated, but I can’t wait to see Bruce Weber’s film about Chet Baker (how cool was he?).
2 August, 2008 @ 8:56 pm
those two sound like wonderful stores! i’m glad to hear, common courtesy is lost on so many people now.
hmm… it wasn’t this week but my last shopping trip (too long ago, sigh) when one of the stores I wrote about emailed me, saying they saw a post and were delighted! they’ve set aside a dress they thought i’d like and are giving me a discount, which is lovely. no one’s ever done that for me before.
3 August, 2008 @ 2:41 am
I love hearing stories like these, because they restore my faith.
I got some good assistance over the phone today. Mr.OM was looking for a specific pair of drum sticks, and I called ahead to the shop (20 miles away) to make sure they had the sticks so we wouldn’t drive all the way out there to find there weren’t any. The guy on the phone helping us checked his stock, then laid aside two pair for us. When we got there, he was chatty, knowledgeable, and really into his job. He was so cool. It was a great experience.
3 August, 2008 @ 2:49 am
It’s not this week, but I’ve been meaning to write forever about the awesome service I got from a handicapped pets site a couple of years ago. I’m not even kidding! They were so lovely I remember it two years later.
3 August, 2008 @ 2:50 am
P.S. If the former (fired) programmers of my company website don’t give me a discount on the heinous “service” they gave me, I’ll happily share their name with the world.
3 August, 2008 @ 8:51 am
No one but my husband has given me good service for the last month!
But in Nordstrom (upscale dept store chain in the US) my friend and I were dropped like a hot potato by a shoe salesman who spotted a woman decked out in Chanel. I’ve since learned that it’s actually their POLICY to drop everything for a celebrity or socialite.
Can you imagine?!?!
3 August, 2008 @ 3:38 pm
Lucky girl! & congrats on such a good deal. I look forward to reading more of your blog. I love it.
Make Do and Mend
3 August, 2008 @ 4:13 pm
You know what nobody has given good service lately and I agree with what you say – effort and personal pride is all it takes. I love it when someone helps and cares it makes the world of differnce.
Although the coffee boy in Caffe Nero in Bath today was exceedingly decent.
3 August, 2008 @ 5:29 pm
Ahhh those two anecdotes but a little smile on my face on a miserably dreary day. Thank you! :)
3 August, 2008 @ 7:52 pm
Good to hear some positive customer service stories in London.
Nice buys, too. Love the canvas chairs.
Unfortunately I’ve found episodes of good customer service few and far between. For instance, I adore shopping in Liberty. The wood panelling, the ambience, the stock … I could happily drift around there for hours.
But. Sometimes I literally have to chase staff down to ask them a question. Or I’m left waiting around for 20 minutes whilst the sole assistant in the department attends to another customer. And I always get into trouble when I need another size. I’ve never had a success story there.
3 August, 2008 @ 8:35 pm
Amazing – good customer service in the UK!!? Every time I get good customer service I’m always surprised. Recently I got some very good customer service at Vodafone on Oxford street!
3 August, 2008 @ 9:38 pm
I think stores are getting better and better about the service thing… I love Alice’s…. need to pop in sometime soon…
4 August, 2008 @ 4:01 am
I appreciate good service big and small. The girl at the Dunkin Donuts carefully shook my iced coffee in a meticulous manner which shows she’s been trained how to mix iced coffee. I thought it was kind of sweet.
I’m a stickler for good service. Especially if I’m paying good money. J. Crew is awesome. If you write them a letter of complaint, they respond efficiently and generously. I never hesitate to drop my money there. Meanwhile other companies fail miserably.
Once I tried to purchase a pair of shoes from this online surf shop (no longer in existence), for my sister’s birthday. They didn’t have her size in stock. . . but their employee went to their warehouse and personally looked for her size, found it and upgraded my shipping so it would make it on time for her birthday. I’ll never forget that act of extreme kindness and amazing customer service.
4 August, 2008 @ 10:26 am
These two little stories have warmed my heart … I have to admit that I usually find customer services in most London department stores and luxury own brands boutiques ridiculously crap. I think that staff training courses should me mandatory and they should send the personnel on little trips to places like Switzerland to see how it should be done! Browns has the worst staff in London and Cochinechine and Koh Samui the best!!!
4 August, 2008 @ 12:17 pm
I usually get the best service in charity shops. Nothing like a bit of banter with a sweet old lady to make your day!
4 August, 2008 @ 3:03 pm
Here here! I’ll go back to a shop containing nothing I need or like if the service is friendly and helpful when I first go in. No lie. As someone who has worked retail, I know how challenging it can be to be cheerful and kind to customers all the livelong day.