Yesterday I was walking down Main Beach Gold Coast (Tedder Ave) with my son and saw some lovely comfortable shoes in a pretty high-end shoe shop. It had no eating or drinking sign in the window which is fair enough so I asked my son to stay outside with his food and had a quick look. I walked in and wandered around the shop. The shop assistant was in her mid 50’s and was dressed nicely but didn’t greet me. In fact, she ignored me completely as I tried to make eye contact. I found one shoe that looked my size (5, yes small) and after a quick look, asked her if I could try it on. She was very bothered by the question, still not making eye contact and asked if it was my size. It was in the specials section there was the only one left and I said I wasn’t sure as it was a 36 (6) but sometimes I fit a 6. I tried it and it was too big. She didn’t offer any help or assistance. She only said she never gets in size 5. I said thank you and was glad there was no size 5 as I wouldn’t have wanted to buy the shoes in that shop!
It was such a poor experience. It really left me feeling crap, as if my size 5 feet were not normal. It wasn’t that the shoe shop didn’t have my size, it was the way the shopkeeper made me feel. I was having a Julia Roberts experience. Had the shop assistant engaged with me in any form it would have left a greater impression and I may have recommended the shop but Instead, I am venting to you about the lack of empathy she showed.
By contrast, our family went to the Tamborine Mountains just out of the Gold Coast for the day and I went into a lovely shop called KenshoandLove where I was greeted by a lovely shop owner Verina. She let me browse her beautiful beeswax scented candles and explained to me that bee’s wax was burnt longer and cleaner. I ended up buying some candles and then after trying them at home, ordered more online. It was largely due to the experience I had with Verina and the candles which are divine.
Every day on our holiday I see examples of small businesses missing opportunities to connect and add value and literally chase customers away with poor customer service. Nowadays, it is not just the customer in the store, but their tribe extending into the hundreds or thousands online. It is those little things that you do or doesn’t do that can make all the difference.
Acknowledging a trip advisor review, offering some free advice or extending a warm smile can go a long way. After all, no one wants a Julia Roberts poor shopping experience.