We have all seen the recent campaign by 21 retailers including Myer, David Jones, Harvey Norman and Just Jeans urging consumers to keep patronising their retail stores and demanding that GST be applied to online purchases.
Apart from being an ill conceived and somewhat arrogant campaign, which I’m not going to get into, it’s the wrong way to attempt to keep your customers, especially in Canberra.
As much as any fashionista or for that matter anyone who loves a good shop, I love the experience of going in to a boutique to touch, feel, try and experience the items for sale. What I don’t love is going into a store and being treated with various levels of disinterest and disdain, sometimes bordering on contempt. Mr Harvey and other retail outlets I think that you have totally approached this the wrong way.
Instead of placing this ad in national newspapers, why not invest in improving the shopping experience so customers actually want to keep patronising your stores? What if, for example Harvey Norman had a ‘Discovery Pod’ where customers could sit with a staff member and receive a personalised lesson on how to operate the device they just purchased? Imagine (shock! Horror!) walking around Myer and actually having a staff member approach you, greet you and offer service?
The purpose of this piece is not just to complain about the lack of good service, but to open a discussion about those in Canberra who do get it right and give great service.
One of my favourites is Carmen Steffens, in the Canberra Centre. Now I really can’t afford to shop there too often, but the service I receive every time I visit ensures that if I need shoes I will always go there first.
I love the way that all customers are treated well, regardless of their purchasing intentions. You enter the store and staff walk out from behind the counter to greet you, offering a cold drink. When you do make a purchase they follow up with a postcard or call soon after, to ensure that you are happy with your purchase.
The kicker for me was the one day I fell in love with a gorgeous pair of boots that I really couldn’t afford. When I told the staff this, I expected the usual look of disdain, how dare I waste their time when I know I can’t afford the shoes?
No, they simply smiled and explained that they offer ‘take-home Lay-buy’ and with a small deposit and regular payments that I could, In fact leave the store that day with my gorgeous new boots!
Not only was I blown away by such service I told everyone who would listen about my experience and recommend the store to all my friends.
What are your experiences with customer service, particularly in retail stores, in Canberra? Please tell us about the great ones so we can spread the word and about the bad ones so we can vote with our feet.