‘Must’ is the optimum word. In a world of ‘would of, could of, should of‘ …and needs to be, I marvel that the etiquette of courtesy and customer service has to be restored, or, honestly, reminded.
My first career (and degree) was Retail Business Management. I took it seriously. It was fun…hard work, and gratifying. (Yep!!)
Over the decades I have kept myself ‘engaged‘ in customer service while maintaining my design career. Always the consummate observer to understand my customer and the product/service he or she wants-
I have had some experiential adventures myself!
- Retail Manager and Fashion Show Producer for Junior’s clothing-still remember the leather pants!
- Fabric specialist and design consultant at a fabric store-some of my first design clients!
- Bridal Consultant and Bridal Show model-could put “27 Dresses” to the test!
- Mystery shopper for various consumer goods-“You never know who may be watching!“
- Barneys New York-women’s contemporary clothing during launch of 17th St NYC store.
- Sunglasses ‘guru’ at luxury retail store- Here’s looking at you… the shape of your face!
- Customer Service Concierge at Bloomingdales–Knew looking at a shopper’s silhouette what label to have them consider.
- Victoria’s Secret Catalog phone sales consultant-Was asked frequently ‘what catalog page I was on’…Lively conversations were had between midnight and 8am!
The experiences were a continual study of-
- What was selling
- Who was buying
- How things were made
- How they were being sold
- How things fit
Then I took my product development/fit knowledge and crossed over…
Not to the dark side…to the uniform side…
I was hired to create a fit training/coaching program for the Delta Airlines new uniform collection (I proudly was technical advisor for the collection’s designer, Richard Tyler!).
Here was the adventurous part...
All my fitters were senior flight attendants who signed up to be part of the project traveling throughout numerous USA city airports!
These ladies and gentlemen were already recognized for their superior customer service reputation. They were skilled, competent, committed, professional, fun…and no garment fitting knowledge!
Here’s what we faced-
- The volume of crew to be fit on a daily basis…
- The diligence to the training and coaching we conducted before the traveling workshops…
- Learning & sharing the collection’s product and garment knowledge…
- The delicacy of understanding how to advise the ‘customer’ on the correct fit for their job (if too tight, your bosom or buttocks may be compromised)…
This wonderful group of people I spent weeks with were eager to learn, wanted to offer optimum customer engagement, and believed in their company, and their uniform. Talk about brand loyalty!
All made for another winning project!
(The above image are just a few of the women I had the privilege of working with. That’s me, always with a tape measure around my neck!)
Whether you refer to retail personnel as – Brand Ambassadors, Customer Engagement representatives, or Customer Service specialists, the bottom line is-
They are the first impression to your company. They are the doormen to an entry of lasting brand experiences.
Whether you enter a store, an online presence or dealing with the customer service people on the phone, the ‘mission’ should be the same.
The script should be the same. Make the experience memorable. Make the customer want to come back.
They must have product knowledge. They must have garment knowledge. There is an art to etiquette, courtesy, and customer service.
Reading recently that the National Retail Federation(NRF) is offering retail customer service and sales training- I pause, reflect, and think it is a start-
To return to the basics…
Customer Engagement Equals Style Integrity… in Product Knowledge, Garment Fit, Customer Service & the Art of Etiquette.