I think just about everyone has had someone turn their nose up at them while shopping. If you are the owner of a business with employees who shy away from customers because of their look you might be losing tonnes of cash.
When I read a story about customer service and how you might not get service if you look homeless or dressed like you just went for a run true scenarios starting running through my head.
Time to shop
The writer called the Fashionista dressed down in gym attire to go shopping at some of the most prestigious stores to explore a Harvard study.
This was where a doctoral student and two professors found that shop assistants in Milan found that dressing down meant more buying power. Meaning that dressing in casual or gym attire might score you the best customer service.
So, armed with her gym wear and looking neat and tidy with make-up and her hair nicely kept the Fashionista and her friend Jeremy went shopping. Jeremy was around more to watch from the sidelines what was going on and he was well dressed. To be honest I would have loved to have done what Jeremy did because I’m always intrigued about customer service and employees.
They visited shops such as Bergdorf Goodman, Chanel, Barneys New York, Saint Laurent and Prada. Needless to say she had varied results but decided that next time she shops she won’t be wearing gym gear.
I applaud her for doing this because it’s important for business owners to realize how treating customers like their money is not good enough no matter what you think they are worth can bite you in the butt.
I’m pretty sure the shops she went to that took good care of her now are smiling because other customers are more likely to want to shop there now. I was not shocked at her results to be honest because my wife has been through the same thing.
Sometimes when it comes to customer service sometimes the customer has to take the reins even if it’s to prove a point. At least my wife is like that because she expects nothing less than excellent customer service no matter where she goes.
To her it’s the law of employment no matter where you work. You should enjoy what you do and do it with a smile or find a new job as harsh as that sounds. There’s no point living your life working in a miserable job if you hate it. Do something about it.
It’s not always about what you wear it’s about what you don’t wear or the accessories that go with the clothes you have or the type of credit card you use to pay for your purchases. Sometimes it boils down to reputation and whether the customer service associates know who you are in order to get some help these days.
When we were shopping in downtown London UK my wife was amazed at all the lovely shops including Gucci and Prada but noticed that each shop had security at the front door.
She did not want to go shopping in these stores because she felt she couldn’t afford anything anyways besides the security kind of freaked her out. I remember her asking me while we were admiring jewellery in a downtown London shop window why there were no prices. I told her that if you have to ask what the price is than you likely can’t afford to shop in there.
With a shoulder shrug on we went as she guessed I was right but only if you have an unlimited supply of cash I was right. If you are rich, whatever rich means you still need to watch your money.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t afford shopping in the stores it’s that she didn’t want to spend $200 on a t-shirt factoring the exchange rate etc. It’s hard to spend money when you have it on items you know you can find for less that are comparable.
When you have money and lots of it your life is taken up a notch if you allow it and that’s why you see some rich people go broke. They simply can’t keep up with the lifestyle change and it’s hard for them to move down because they have an image to uphold.
That is the mentality I’ve learned over the years living in the UK with all these high-end luxury shops and it’s no different in bigger cities like Toronto and Vancouver etc. Some of the small town shops are just as pricey for the town they service catering to specific clientele, those with cash.
My wife has told me many times that she can feel a difference in the way people treat her both men and women depending on how she does her hair and dresses. It’s not a surprise because many people judge people just by the way they look and start making assumptions about their life when they know nothing at all.
There have been many times when my wife has shopped and depending on how much effort she put into getting ready that day would reflect on how much customer service she receives.
She also notes that when she goes shopping she makes eye contact with customer service employees and the first thing she does is look for a name tag and greets them first. It’s like reverse psychology because now the ball is in their court.
She has in less than a minute or so shined with a bright smile and outgoing personality and now it’s up to the employee to ask if she needs any help. Each time she goes shopping with her hair done, make-up, boots or high heel shoes and sporting her accessories i.e. rings, handbag, necklace, earrings, sunglasses etc…. she is approached by a sales clerk.
Other times when she throws her hair in a bun and puts on her runners to go shopping it’s more about her putting the effort into the entire experience in order to get anything out of the store.
Money is no object
Sometimes she’s even pretended to be rich just to see what kind of service she would get. I remember in Niagara Falls we went into this store that was completely frosted with diamonds, high-end furniture, lighting, carpeting etc. and the store name had something to do with being Rich.
I can’t remember but she said let’s go in there and watch this. Sometimes my wife scares me because I never know what’s going to come out of her mouth but I just play along because I know there is a purpose for her.
There was one lady working and immediately she came over to us. We were both dressed up nice for a night on the town and she greeted us and asked if she could help us.
My wife said she was looking for new accessories, i.e. rings, necklaces, scarves etc. Well it didn’t take the pretty Shakira looking sales clerk long to start showing her rings and I’m starting to sweat hoping my wife is kidding.
Then the lady pulls out these colourful bracelets and says they are the “in thing” in California where they were brought in from. She says all the stars in California were buying them up so we should probably own one too. The pieces of coloured yarn cost just over $100 a pop.
The sales lady emulated herself being of the rich and famous crowd by the way she dressed and acted let alone talked with a flair or richness in her voice like money was no object. I also remember a sales clerk once told us that she had to wear what they sold in the store.
It was a form of marketing their product but also a way to make the customer feel as if they are living the experience as well. My wife didn’t end up buying anything but the 20 minutes or so that we were catered to was certainly an experience on its own. Thank goodness because I was getting worried there for a moment.
What is good customer service?
Everyone who walks through the door no matter what they look like is a customer, never forget that.
I’m sure every business owner and customer will have their own ideals surrounding the topic of good customer service. I like to say excellent customer service. An example I can think of is being greeted with a smile and asking if you need any help and where to find him/her if needed.
There are a couple of clothing stores we go to in town and the ladies that work in theses shops which are in the mall are amazing. They take very good care of my wife and have always greeted us and placed us high on the priority list when it came to making sure she had everything she needed.
I also think they like that I go shopping with my wife as many men don’t tend to take much interest in what their wife wears. We both like to give each other’s opinions when we go shopping. It’s likely why my wife likes to shop there time and time again.
How to improve customer service?
If you don’t hire the right staff then your business will suffer. You might even have other employees who want to shine but can’t because of the negative cast in your business so it’s important to know what’s going on. Training and keeping the training ongoing even if it is refresher training courses to motivate your staff is imperative.
Know your staff and know what’s going on or you may just find that you are losing money because your employees are making their own rules of employment.
Customer service duties
I’m not sure if some employees even know the definition of work and customer service duties. I think many times people think they can handle working with the public or make themselves out to be better than they are.
I’m pretty sure that on the customer service skills list chatting in a corner about other customer experiences or daily life rather than attending to a customer is not part of the excellent customer service skills needed in such a role.
If you work in human resources or do the hiring yourself a customer service resume should be filled with an ongoing positive vibe that cares for the businesses they worked for and the customers.
Sometimes it’s difficult to judge a resume by its cover and it’s not until you bring in a candidate for an interview that you get the opportunity to dig a bit deeper into their personality and work habits.
Sometimes employers are even putting potential candidates through interview stages which is a great opportunity to see how they would act in certain situations as a customer service representative.
If you are a manager or own a business you need to make sure you know exactly what is going on in your business when you are there and aren’t there.
I know I’ve mentioned that I love the show Undercover Boss but it’s amazing when the boss is in the room how customer service skills are taken up a few levels and when the boss leaves some employees are out to play.
Just look what happened this past week at that Russian dairy plant who were caught on video celebrating the New Year in a vat of milk. Where was the boss? Who was watching over these employees? Sure they may work behind the scenes and not directly with customers but they are providing a product for the customers.
My point is some employees will do just about anything if they can get away with it even if it means not serving customers because of the way the dress, smell or look. Judging a book by its cover is never a good thing.
Remember the Millionaire Next Door book or the movie Pretty Woman. You never know who has money and who doesn’t and just because someone wears their sweat pants and t-shirt shopping at either a high-end luxury store or any store for that matter doesn’t mean you treat them any different from the person who rolls up with security.
Sure some customers can’t shut down an entire store for a private shopping experience like some of the rich and famous but customer service is customer service with a smile.
Have you ever been treated differently when shopping in a high-end store?
Have you been ignored in a luxury store because of the way you dress?
Weekly CBB posts
If you missed any CBB posts from the week here is the list of posts you can catch up on reading!
- How to keep the grass green on your side of the fence
- Are you envious of others’ success?
- What if the customer ahead of you was short cash?
- Is it wise to stay home and pay off student debts?
- Hearty Steak Bakes
- Walmart USA getting smarter with pricing
- Are tattoos the next advertising phenomenon?
Fan deals and inspirations
Submit your Brag or Inspiration If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.
This week CBB fan Christine shares some of the money saving deals she scooped up. This is just another reason why picking up some coupons is not a bad idea. It’s money in your pocket.
Mr.CBB and Fans,
Here are some of the great deals I picked up this week while I was out shopping.
Jackson’s Pharmacy(Guardian Drugs)
- 2 Dove shampoo @ $3.49
- 2 Dove conditioner @ $3.49
- Tax- $1.81
- Total- $15.77
The Dove shampoo and conditioner was half price, regular price is $6.99 per bottle. Even without the coupons around for Dove hair products it was still a good deal for me.
- Royale Toilet paper- 4.99- $1.00 coupon
- 2 x Royale Velour Toilet paper-@ $4.99- $9.98- 2X $1.00 coupons
- Royale Tiger Paper towels 6 pack- $4.99, $3.00 coupon
- Tax- $2.59
- Total- $16.55
The 2 coupons for the Royale Velour came from an insert and the toilet paper itself was marked as a special purchase although the regular Royale was on sale stating $5.00 off. The paper towels were saying I saved a total of $2.48. The $1.00 coupon for the regular toilet paper and the nice $3.00 coupon for the paper towels came from Gocoupons.ca.
Making a difference
If you know a personal finance blogger that is making a difference and want to nominate them please send me an email so I can reach out to them for a feature story.
Note: If you are a blogger who gives back and would like to be featured by all means get in touch with me as I am filling spots up for the rest of 2014 and they are going quickly.
Today I’d like to introduce you to my Canadian personal finance blogger friend Karen from Makin The Bacon.
Hi CBB readers!
My name is Karen, and like Mr. CBB, I’m a Canadian personal finance blogger. I’m the owner, sole writer and editor over at MakintheBacon.
I tend to think of my blog as a bit of everything-travel, lifestyle, food, frugality and fitness, because personal finance tends to be a bit of everything. My blog has a bit of sarcasm, dry humour, and ranting to it as well. It’s similar to my personality.
I started this blog back in the summer of 2012, thinking that I could make a ton of money right away. Boy, was I greatly mistaken. It really wasn’t until the end of summer last year that I decided to put more time and effort into my blog, but even now I still find it tough juggling a blog and two jobs.
I wish I could buy more time to work on my blog. However, I really do enjoy blogging about personal finance, so it’s worth it.
With MakintheBacon, I want readers to realize that there’s a lot more to personal finance than clipping coupons and setting aside a portion of your income every month for retirement, savings or an emergency.
Whether or not we like to admit it, money matters and plays a huge part of our lives. It creates positive and negative emotions in us. It allows us freedom.
It gives us power. I want people to get excited about personal finance, think about it in different ways and be part of the conversation!
Aside from blogging on my own site, I’m a staff writer for another personal finance blog. When I’m not doing either of those things, I like to read, bake (not cook), work out, travel and play Candy Crush.
What is a blog carnival?
Some fans have asked me “what is a blog carnival?” so a little explanation is due here for anyone reading for the first time or for my long-time fans.
A blog carnival is where a blog or website hosts what we call a carnival of blog posts from around the web. Most blog carnivals have a theme and certain rules for submitting which must be followed.
If you are a blogger and would like to learn what blog carnival directories I submit to each week you can find the information in a previous Saturday Weekend Review post that I wrote.
A big thanks to these pages for accepting my blog posts and sharing them in the following carnivals and/or sharing my blog posts with their fans.
- Carnival of Financial Planning- Make Money Your Way
Google search terms
Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.
Here are a few of my favorite searches that may have even brought you here and you’re reading this, right now.
- Fractured my foot in Dollarama. What do I do?- Could be a costly fracture.
- Is the weekend making a difference- Depends on what you are comparing it to lol.
- Why does my friend call me money bags- I can assume because you spend money like water. Ask them why.
- I’m alone but happy- Not everyone needs someone to feel happy, happiness starts with-in.
- Sexy women in kitchen for men- Not this blog
That’s all for this week’s edition of The Saturday Weekend Review #64. Have a great week and catch me here again next Saturday with more updates.
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- The Saturday Weekend Review #56: Could I live in a 420sq ft apartment?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #57: Should children go without lunch for parents debt?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #58: Do you send a brown bag lunch with your kids to school?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #59: Free Love with a post-it note no calendar required
- The Saturday Weekend Review #60: How to lose your job with one dumb move
- The Saturday Weekend Review #61: Why you should teach your children respect
- The Saturday Weekend Review #62: Bounced cheque for Girl Guide cookies not so sweet
- The Saturday Weekend Review #63: What’s in your pockets?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #64: Walmart USA getting smarter with pricing
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