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We have all heard about how customer service is important. Retail stores need to go out of their way to make sure their customers have an excellent experience. With this, though, this is the only perspective I hear about. Since working in retail for seven years, I have seen many curious behaviours by customers in three different stores (even while teaching). So I decided to flip the perspective and write about how customers should treat the retail employees and stores. I feel doing this will be enlightening and make a better shopping experience for everyone.
Have Your Coupons Ready
When you are checking out your merchandise with the cashiers, have your coupons ready. One thing that really irks cashiers, and customers waiting behind you in line, is when you are not prepared. I have seen countless times when a customer spends 3-5 minutes looking for specific coupons by either dumping all of them onto the counter or looking through their purse/wallet (after their merchandise has been processed). This then creates a traffic jam of customers that become very frustrated. Ensure that when you are in line, you are ready to give your coupons on the spot. Again, it is something that can easily be done before you jump in line.
Cashiers Don’t Know Everything.
It’s perfectly fine if you ask a cashier if they have any knowledge of a product you are buying. If they don’t know many specifics about it, though, don’t be frustrated with them. I have seen customers get very upset at cashiers I work with and me because of this. Typically, retail stores don’t train their cashiers to be experts on their products. Their responsibilities are processing the customer’s merchandise and finalizing the sales. They leave the product knowledge to the sales floor employees. While I do agree that retail stores need to educate their cashiers more on their products, don’t be mad at the cashiers. Instead, be mad at the head honchos.
Making a Mess of the Stores Merchandise
When you go to a place where someone works, you would never imagine making a mess of it. Well, with retail stores, many customers throw this out the window. Every day I work, I see clothes that I have folded for a good 20 minutes be torn up in a matter of seconds. Or shelves of organised products in a very particular way were completely destroyed because customers have torn through it and walked away. These behaviours are very disrespectful. When you look at merchandise, it’s perfectly fine to pick it up and analyze it. When you are done with it, though, please put it back in its proper place. Or if you are looking at some folded clothes, simply try to set them down nicely. Don’t just throw it down and make a mess. If everyone does this, employees will spend less time organizing the store and more time interacting with customers.
Treat Store Employees with Respect
Retail employees are required to give outstanding customer service. Well, some customers know this and will take advantage of it. One example of this I have experienced is a father and son bought some basketball shoes at the beginning of a basketball season. The son wore it for every one of their games and got them beat up. They then came back into my store at the end of the season and claimed they were bad and didn’t fit. My manager and I had to go back and forth with them, saying it was way past the return policy and we can’t accept torn up shoes. The father tore my manager and me apart and claimed we were giving him and his son terrible customer service. In the end, we had to give in and give his son a new pair of shoes (a size bigger as well) for free, just to make them happy. It was so frustrating because they created all these lies about the shoes so that they could get a new pair for free. (I knew they were lies because I own the same shoes…) This type of behaviour is ridiculous, and I have seen it way too much. Please don’t take advantage of the store and employees so that you can get free merchandise.
These days people tend to film their Tik Tok and Instagram videos wherever they are, even when they are in retail stores. Many stores have a policy against this, and even if they don’t, lingering in a store to take a video is just going to stress out the sales team. So instead, find other ways to get likes on Instagram and get creative outside the retail store. It’s a place for shopping and not for selfies and videos.
Overall retail stores need to treat their customers extremely well. The better the customer’s shopping experience is, the more likely they will come back. With that, though, customers also need to treat the retail employees and stores with some level of respect. It is not very hard and will make the shopping experience better for everyone involved.