Are Sales Associates About to Get... Nicer?

Are Sales Associates About to Get... Nicer?
(Pacific Coast News) Celebs heart shopping too. You think they get treated nice?

It's no great secret that fashion retail has, over the past four years, been hard-hit by the global recession. Factor in the rise of e-commerce compounded with less overall consumer dollars to go around means that, in order to stay relevant (and in business), brick-and-mortar stores have to up the ante in terms of shopping experience.

For a lot of stores, that means improving customer service.

"Service is even more important than it's ever been," Saks Fifth Avenue Chairman and CEO Stephen I. Sadove told WWD. "If I'm going to spend the time and effort of going to a store, the service had better be good."

Makes sense, doesn't it? We've all had both stellar and terrible customer service experiences in stores—how many times have you walked away from a possible transaction because you were offended or appalled by staff rudeness? You're not alone. WWDcites:
According to American Express’ 2012 Global Customer Service Barometer, 55 percent of consumers said they wouldn’t hesitate to leave a store mid-transaction due to poor customer service. On the other hand, two-thirds of consumers said they’d be willing to spend more at a retailer that provides excellent customer service — 13 percent more on average.
Good customer service isn't just about Pretty Woman-style brown-nosing. It's also about efficiency, respecting personal space, and acknowledging that a customer's time is valuable—for example, knowing when to first approach a customer with "May I help you?" (Saks) and keeping checkout time to under a minute (Target) all factor into the larger picture.

Stores could take a tip from the e-commerce world as well—for example, how many people you know are dedicated shoppers because they know they can trust the company's super-fast shipping and no-hassle returns policy?

"As an organization focused on customer service, our number-one goal at Zappos is to make people happy," Director of Marketing Matt Burchard Sr. told WWD. "We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don't want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver wow."

Does your favorite store "deliver wow"? Tell us about your worst and best customer service experiences in the comments, below. We're dying to hear all about them!
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