Bring service back
“Are you being served?” was a sitcom in the ‘70’s.
Set in the men’s department in Grace Brothers (the Sydney version of Myer). The entire premise was like a Carry On film, loaded with double entendres and innuendo. Their customer catch cry was: “Are you being served?” Okay, of course there are a couple of ways to take this offer (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), but it also speaks to a time when retail was all about service.
While many of you reading this will have absolutely no cultural reference for the sitcom (look it up on YouTube), there is nothing old fashioned about the art of service.
When I ask people to think of an example of good service, they invariably cite the door greeter at Officeworks. Now, I love Officeworks. But let’s not mistake a welcoming greeting with what service really is. A greeting may be the start of it, but it’s not the entire story.
Service is when we cater to the anticipated needs of a customer in a way that makes them comfortable and the experience enjoyable.
Here’s what it isn’t:
Taking an order (even with a smile)
Pointing to where a customer can find an item in store or online
Telling a customer that the product they want is out of stock….with no offer to help them find which other store might have it or help them find an alternative in store
Demonstrating their product knowledge with little or no reference to the customer who may be asking themselves: “who is he talking to?”….
Hopefully, you get the picture.
Here are some real life examples of service I’ve experienced:
Having furniture delivered with missing pieces, but the delivery man handing me a bag with scented candle and fragrance sticks inside along with a hand written card from the store manager apologising for the inconvenience and confirmation of the remaining item being delivered next week
Ordering online for in store collection to find that the store manager had prepared a couple of other items that would compliment the jacket I’d ordered, ready to show me
Being asked about perfume after a skin care and make up purchase, and having suggestions that were thoughtfully chosen for me to try and samples to take home
Being welcomed by name into a store I frequent regularly and asked something about me that showed me they were listening to more than just what related to them or the store….
Hopefully, you get the idea here too?!
When a product or service “expert” lets us know that they’re more interested in an ongoing relationship than a transaction, it’s the start of service.
That’s why I love selling so much. In a time when we’re all so busy with our own “stuff”, selling is one opportunity to stop and truly “be there” to help another person with something we do or have that we believe in.
It’s the best feeling in the world when we get it right