Customer Service

November 22, 2006

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about Thanksgiving, and the mad rush of shopping to follow this Friday. This is the time when I like to get my big-ticket items, such as electronics. If you know ahead of time exactly where you’re goingShopping and exactly what item you want, I’ve found that you don’t get too overwhelmed in the rush.
In my excitement, I was reading this BusinessWeek story, about how improved customer service is a goal of lots of stores this coming Friday.
I don’t know about you, but or some reason, hearing the phrase “May I help you?” leaves me wanting to run out of a store as fast as possible. It makes me feel pressured, as if I need to know what I want, or maybe I don’t look like the right sort of customer. So, I wondered, what might shops be doing to improve my experience?:

1. Staples: Asking “What can I help you find today?” instead of “Can I help you?”
This is definitely a better way of asking the question, although I still don’t like to feel attacked by salespeople as soon as I walk into a store.

2. Home Depot: giving employees more bonuses for high customer satisfaction scores.
Okay, but will this really improve my experience? I would give them a high score if they just gave me the $30,000,000 they’re spending to do this . . .

3. Nordstrom is offering lines of clothing that its customers requested
Gee, what an innovative idea–sell what women want in a women’s clothing store. Shouldn’t this be a given?

In another note, some stores will be opening at midnight for Black Friday this year, instead of the usual 5 a.m. so get those credit cards ready early!

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