Shopping after Christmas is fertile ground for this blog. Every year I am struck by a situation that makes no sense to me. Last year it was all the indistinguishable stores that were selling clothes at such a discount I am sure they were losing money on each item sold. Compare that to the line ups out the door at Lululemon for their premium yoga clothes that were not marked down at all. Guess which company just released record earnings this month?
Yesterday my wife and I were shopping for some work out clothes. It was 2 days after Christmas and the malls were full of people. Again, we were in that situation where every athletic brand clothing store was beginning to look the same. Fortunately, we found some items at an unnamed store and went to the front to pay. We were informed by an employee standing there that all the cash registers there were closed and that we could go to the cash register at the associated shoe store next door. To give you a perspective it was similar to the situation where a BabyGap is attached to a regular Gap store. When we got to the cash there was a huge line for only one person to handle. Of course everyone had a lot of items since everything was on sale. I went back to the empty registers and told the clerk that there is a huge line in the other area. His response? These registers are closed please go to the other side.
Some things in life are difficult to figure out but it is a sure bet that 2 days after Christmas will be busy and that the faster a store can process purchases the more people will end up buying. Simple stuff. Instead, my impression of this particular brand is now tainted and when choosing between the indistinguishable stores I will remember this one as the store who doesn’t care about their clients.
This got me thinking of the value of great customer service. In this time of price cutting in our industry and the commodification of services great service is still expected. One will put up with an inconvenience once but twice?
As we prepare for 2011 I think it is a good exercise to look at how we interact with our clients. Are there areas where we make it hard for them to do business with us? Are we taking them for granted? Where do we risk losing business because we are not taking care of our clients?
Next week I’ll post my New Years business resolutions and review how I did with my 2010 resolutions. Do you have a business resolution for 2011. Post a comment below and we can discuss them next week.