I have been working in high end retail for the past 8 years. I am aware that sales assistants get a bad rap. They’re too pushy, they’re not attentive, blah blah. While that is true of some I am proud to say I am not one of those. Customers have a lot to answer for as well. I was taught the pushy way of doing things but I guess you could say I rebelled and did things my own way. I find customers DO NOT RESPOND to a pushy sales assistant. Trust me on this. I get many complaints about other store assistants. I like to listen to my customers and help where I can. If you don’t like it, fine lets move on to something else. If it doesn’t look good on you fine, let’s find something that will work better. Contrary to what some customers think, I DO NOT work on commission. Selling you that outfit does not give me extra money in my pay. I work on a wage and get nothing more. No overtime or bonuses. While retail fashion can be a very fickle industry, at the end of the day it’s not Rocket science. Listen to your customers and your bound to have them buy or to come back next time. And it gets results. and by the way, any sales assistants, managers etc that are reading this, remember two important things; ALWAYS GREET YOUR CUSTOMERS. Wether it’s with a ‘Hello’ or a just with a smile. and don’t have your music on too loud. We need to communicate with our customers. We can’t if they can’t hear us. I’ve left shops when the music is so loud you can’t even think.
Now as for customers. I have seen some very rude behaviour from customers. To me and to fellow customers in the shop.
I just had a livy lady in here having a look before she went to work and another customer (who comes in sporadically and is a handful) came in to look around with her boyfriend. Everything was going fine until customer number 2 started to push (in a non physical way) customer 1 out of the area she was looking. Basically was boxing her out the way. She also started talking to her about a dress customer 1 was holding up and looking at.
Thus may all sound fine and you’re probably wondering ‘what is do wrong with a customer telling another customer about a dress?’. Well I’ll tell you. Some customer are either shy or prefer to be left alone while shopping. When someone else is pushy and in their space it makes it a very uncomfortable experience. Especially when customer 1 liked the dress and then customer 2 is saying ‘This is for a big girl’, when customer 1 is petite and the dress is a Aus6. It is a loose fitting dress. Hilarious when customers pretend they know about fashion when they cleary don’t. Customer 1 even came up to me at the counter and I said ‘would you like to have a look at something on that rack?’, she responds ‘I’m just going to wait til she moves I was kinda pushed out of there’. I’m sorry but that is not on. A loud pushy customer makes everyone else uncomfortable. Customer 2 has also kept me back on a Sunday for 1 hour (which I don’t get paid overtime for) when she knew we were closed and didn’t buy a thing, after trying on the WHOLE shop.
If you are a regular customer to a shop and know their opening hours and you STILL need to come by at closing time ring before hand to see if it’s ok if we can stay back. We have appointments too. Honestly I think it is very rude for customers to come in at 12:55 when they know you close at 1 (because they do it EVERY week) and get annoyed when you start closing up. Come in earlier!
If you come into a shop looking for a certain outfit please be clear with what you are after. While some of us sakes assistants are very good at our job we are also not mind readers. If you say you want something for races that is warm don’t be rude and offended if all we have to show you is a lively long sleeved dress. Had a very rude customer tell me it was track suit material. I’m no it wasn’t. She got angry and stormed out. Another lady has walked out while I was showing her things. Not because they weren’t right but because she is rude. She’s done it at other shops.
If you are asked by a sales assistant to please wear a scarf while trying on clothes as to not get make-up on them, don’t argue. You wouldn’t be happy to purchase something that has make-up on it so why should someone else have to buy something you stained. Besides it is just plain rude. Wether they are high end or low end stains are stains. I’ve had people with full faces of make-up tell me they aren’t wearing any. Come off it I wasn’t born yesterday! I’ve had a lady verbally abuse me because she got make-up on a dress and I wouldn’t give her the discount on other stock as we needed her to pay for dry cleaning. She was very abusive. Swearing at me and throwing stock around the store.
Try to hang clothes in the fitting room while you’re trying them on or fold them. DO NOT just chuck them on the floor in a pile. Some garments ate hard to steam and there may be someone directly after you who wants to try that outfit and it’s not going to look nice all crumpled.
Please do not eat or drink in a shop. Condensation from your cup goes onto your hands and onto the clothes. That leaves water marks on some fabrics. Other drinks could spill. Food marks are unacceptable.
Charting away on a mobile phone in a shop is rude. I understand some people are busy others are just socializing. Do not get offended if a sales assistant doesn’t come up to. You have automatically put up a brick wall around you. You are giving off this signal to us ‘I do not want you to come up to me’. Well guess what we won’t.
This one has always baffled me. Customers who come into a shop and start undressing a mannequin or opening your jewellery cabinet and helping themselves. In no way shape or form is this acceptable. I don’t care if you are the Queen. Ask for assistance. Manners people!
I love kids but if you are bringing them into a shop make sure they know how to behave. Kids running around yelling, going through the clothes, is not relaxing for other customers. Shopping is supposed to be a fun and relaxing experience. I’ve seen many clients walk out because of unruly children.
Make sure they know they can’t touch and they have to use their inside voices.
This one touches on a paragraph above but don’t insult the stock in the shop you are in. Don’t laugh at the stock, don’t laugh at the price, don’t say oh that’s ugly etc. it is EXTREMELY rude and disrespectful. Just because it’s not your taste doesn’t mean it’s not the other customers who can hear you. Plus buyers have spent a lot of time AND money to bring these pieces to their shops. Everyone has different tastes, that’s what makes fashion fun. Otherwise we would all be wearing the same uniform. Boring!
Similar to above when a customer is trying something on and they like the dress do not as a fellow customer who doesn’t know them start to tell the that you don’t like it on them etc. if they are trying a loose stay dress they understand it’s meant to be loose. I had to tell a customer who was observing that it’s meant to be loose not fitted. Customer 1 was so put off by the other customer that she left without buying. Then customer 2 tried apologizing to me saying she should have kept quiet. Yes you should have. As I stated earlier. People don’t like pushy and everyone has different tastes.
Now haggling is acceptable when it comes to electric and white goods (even though I don’t do it I find it rude) it is not the thing to do in a clothes shop. Prices are what they are. If we are told a price from our boss that’s what price we sell it for. Otherwise we get into trouble and it can be taken out of our pay. I don’t care that your paying cash. I’m not giving you a privilege over another customer. Even customers tell me how they want me to do certain things on my complicated computer system. No that will stuff up my totals and cause problems. Then they get mad. Seriously I don’t walk into your business and tell you how to do things, how dare you do that to us. If small businesses keep giving discounts they are going to go out of business.
If you bring a boyfriend, girlfriend, family member into a store make sure you pick someone whose opinion is good. I’ve seen many girls LOVE an outfit then they bring someone back and they tear it to shreds. Or tell them to bring it back because they don’t like it. Well they are not the ones wearing it you are. If you love something stick up for it. Dress for yourself and for no one else. Some people you will find will say they don’t like it because they are jealous. That’s their insecurity not yours.
Customers this is very important, when a sales assistant greets you, greet them back. At least acknowledge the fact that you heard them. Don’t ignore them. That is terribly rude and makes for a not nice experience between you and the sales assistant. You’ve basically just told them you don’t want anything to do with them and they are not worthy of speaking with you. Disrespectful!
I’m sure there is much more I can add and I will as I remember them. but please keep all this in mind next time you step into a store. Maybe this will give you more of an appreciation for sales assistants. And more of an appreciation for your fellow customers. Remember to keep to your own space.