Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Putting Customer Service Back into the Chain Store

Yesterday when I was at Borders, I was approached by an employee with a book in her hands. Now I was in the middle of using their computer to find some of the books on my list, and at first I thought she was going to be the third person to ask me if I needed any help. Instead she started talking to me about the book in her hands. (Sorry, I don't remember the title - but it was women's fiction, and I'm just not that into it.) After I gave her my standard 'thanks but no thanks', I started thinking about what it was she was doing.

And even if it started out a little annoying, I realized it was a great idea. I thanked her for the effort (nicely, of course) and she said it was a new thing they were doing at their store - choosing books they liked and talking to patrons about them. Afterwards we got to chatting, and she brought me another book she liked - because she asked if I'd heard of it, and I had. I didn't end up buying that book either, but I did end up buying a couple more books because of her and her co-worker. They were both so helpful and friendly. Well frankly it shocked the heck out of me.

Those two gals brought customer service back to a big chain store. Usually when I hit Borders, I just want to get my books and be left alone. After ten minutes I feel typically like every employee has asked me if I needed help - in that 'I really don't want to help you, but I have to ask' way they have. These ladies were serious, and they were helpful. The other gal - not the one with the book recommendations - actually went into the back to find me two books that were in stock but hadn't been shelved yet. She and I got to talking about The Dresden Files and she recommended a similar series I'd never heard of (and plan on buying on my next go round).

If I remember correctly, Borders is having troubles right now. Last year there was talk of them going out of business, and in a way, I can see why. They don't stock nearly as much as B&N and as I said, their employees are usually annoying. It's hard to stay in business that way, but if they can just up the number of helpful, friendly employees, they might just make it through this economy.

They just need to clone those two ladies, or at least have them give pointers to everyone else.

Oh, and I do need to give a shout out to the cashier there as well. She was just a friendly and helpful, and she made my daughter's day by complimenting her on her dagger necklace.

Wouldn't it be great if people like that were the only kinds we ran into when we shopped?


Kristen Painter said...

I love it when you get those kind of salespeople. They really make a difference.

Lori Tiron-Pandit said...

Oh, I didn't know that Borders was in trouble. I like my Borders. They have a great children's section. Anyway, I am sure authors would do anything to get on the favorites lists of those nice employees who recommend books. It's a good thing to know for when I'll have published my book (in a distant, dream future).